Tag Archives: Ken Ham

Astronauts and Teamwork and Biomed… Oh My!

Don’t ask why but yet again I end up with the “Wizard of Oz” sayings (of sort in my head)… (If you’re not getting what I mean think “Lions and Tigers and Bears.. Oh my!”)

I was so busy during the King’s College Mission Discovery that I didn’t have time to blog at all! Sorry about that.

Once again we had an absolutely amazing event at King’s College that included astronaut Ken Ham (live and in person!), NASA Space Scientist Dr. Liz Warren via Skype, King’s College Professors & lecturers on a variety of topics about Biomed & Space, Chris Barber the DIrector of ISSET and myself. Needless to say it was a very full week of sooooooo much information and inspiration!

Everyone at King’s had an amazing time and we were delighted to meet so many bright minds! In fact the Mission Discovery this year went so well at King’s that they have reserved dates for a 2014 King’s Mission Discovery already!!!

 

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Day 2 of the June Space Center Experience

Being in Washington DC makes for a prime opportunity to see the heart of the US Government so we arranged for the students to be able to take a tour of the US Capitol Building. 

But first to start the “events” of the day we headed to lunch near the Capitol Building with Astronaut George “Zambo” Zamka.

It was a great treat for the students to get to hear stories of his spaceflight and to get to ask him questions about how he came to be an astronaut, what made him want to become a pilot and anything else that came to mind to ask. Definitely a great opportunity!

After that it was time for The Capitol Tour where we got to see various parts of this incredible building including The Crypt as well as The Rotunda. The art and architecture of the whole place is absolutely incredible. 

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Rotunda

We learned about the history of The Capitol and how it has changed over the years. One thing of interest is that every state is allowed to have 2 statues in the Capitol at any given time. We thought it quite telling that Colorado chose this statue as 1 of the 2 allowed to represent them. 

 

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In addition to the tour we got the opportunity to go and sit in on actual sessions of Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Talk about a great chance to see government in action! 

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Unfortunately the weather was not particularly cooperative today so instead of touring all of the monuments that are outside we walked to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum instead and checked out all that had to offer.

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Apparently today wasn’t a day of just 1 astronaut… it was a 2 astronaut day as the group had dinner with astronaut Ken Ham where the students got the chance to ask him even more questions about why he became an astronaut.  

All in all I think it’s safe to say that it was a day full of unique opportunities and everyone had a great time! And it’s only Day 2… there are so many more to go!! Stay tuned!!

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Day 7 of STS-124 Memories

Well this is going to be the shortest post (sorry today is just a bit busy!) but I think you’ll still like it.

Crews take thousands upon thousands of photos in space. To be honest they take so many it’s somewhat hard to go through all of them! While there are many many great shots from STS-124 this photo I am posting in this blog is absolutely one of my most favorites. This photo was taken of Ken right after they’d reached orbit and the look on his face is absolutely priceless. He looks like a little kid on Christmas Morning! (Which is funny because the crew kept referring to the countdown of days til launch as the Countdown to Christmas.) The pure joy is absolutely magical and beautiful….

ken right after launch

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STS-124 Launch Memories Part 6

I know you may be thinking “Geez chelle keeps posting all these pictures and memories but none of them are of actual launch and Ken’s time in space yet. Why?!?!” I promise I will get to actual launch and pictures of Ken in space before too long but I wanted to show you guys the other things that go on around launch that you might not have otherwise known about. These events are a part of what makes the launch week so special for all of us family members. Don’t get me wrong – it’s very special that our loved one actually gets to go into space but we don’t get to so it’s great to have so many amazing memories that we got to actively participate in as opposed to just taking a viewer role.

There’s a beach house at the Cape that is (well at least it used to be – I don’t think it is anymore) just reserved for the astronauts. It’s a great house where you can go wander on the beach and relax. Prior to launch while the crew is in Florida this becomes an ideal place for some quality time with “your crew member.” One day we had meal there where each crew member could have 5 people in attendance so myself, our 2 boys and Ken’s parents headed out there for that event. On another day just us spouses got to spend time there. It’s a place where we could all relax without a bunch of people watching over every movement that is made (as is the case in Crew Quarters) during the week leading up to launch.

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I love this picture! All of us spouses arrived a few minutes before the crew so we took a few moments to snap a picture.

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Us with our Boys

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STS-124 Launch Memories Day 5

The day before launch each crew member gets to take 1 person to visit the space shuttle with them. (Generally it’s the spouse.) I have to tell you that amidst all the chaos of launch week it was really nice to get to spend some “quieter” time with Ken not to mention that getting “up close and personal” with the space shuttle on the launchpad is always pretty cool!

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Up at the Top of the Stack

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Walking out of the White Room which is where the crew enters the Orbiter

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Piers was willing to do whatever it took to get good shots of us. (He was one the escorts for us families for the week.)

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Yes I am most definitely a goofball! But then again many of you already knew that!!

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STS-124 Launch Memories Day 4

Upon arrival to KSC one of the things that the Commander and Pilot have to do a few times is practice their shuttle landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) – and they do this fully suited. Gabby and I were able to come and watch them get suited it (it’s no small task to get into these suits!) and then walk out to Shuttle Landing Facility and watch them not just board the plane but also do their flying. I have to admit that we were both kind of silly and when they flew past us the first time we waved at them like we were little kids 🙂

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STS-124 Memories Day 3… Night Viewing

One of the incredible perks of this whole thing was getting to see the space shuttle at night. She looks absolutely majestic all lit up by the Xenon lights… Each astronaut gets to bring a limited number of people to this special viewing the night before launch. While I had seen the shuttle at night from afar this was the first time I’d ever gotten to be “up close and personal” at night. To say it was a beautiful sight is a major understatement. Unfortunately my camera skills were not so good so many of these pictures were out of focus. I decided to share a few with you anyway because let’s face it… they are still pretty cool 🙂

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This is me with my Mom, Grandpa and 2 of my aunts. Everyone was quite happy to stay up rather late to see this!

 

night jeffDSC_0135                                                                                             With my dear friend Jeff. Jeff has known me my entire life!!

 

nightmelDSC_0131                                                      With my best friend Mel. We met at University and have been inseparable since!

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Mel and I hanging out with Wheels (Doug Wheelock) who was our official astronaut escort for the evening. I’ve known Wheels for a lot of years and am happy to call him a good friend.

 

1vickiDSC_0145                                                      Our friends Vicki & Craig came all the way from Australia to experience this!!

 
Then we got a special treat… since the crew’s sleep schedule lined up in such a way that they were still awake they came out for a few minutes to say Hello!
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STS-124 Memories Day 2

Going back to the beginning of launch week…..

The crew spends some days in quarantine at JSC and then they fly down by T-38. The spouses and kiddos flew down about the same time so we could be there to watch them land.

Here are a few great pictures of Ken and Aki heading to and then climbing into the T-38.
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Upon Arrival at KSC they walked by us and Ken opened his arms to give me a hug so of course I walked over to take advantage of that. Little did we know we weren’t really supposed to do that there…. Oops! Oh well!
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(Apparently it was okay when Dottie hugged Aki cuz she’s a fellow Astro.)

Wouldn’t you love to have a T-38 jet as your mode of transportation? I know I sure would!!!

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Upon arrival the crew gave a quick press conference and then they were off to crew quarters!

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5 Years Ago… Some STS-124 Launch Memories

Well I had planned to write this yesterday so it would have been exactly 5 years ago but then the day got away from me so I am writing this 1 day late but better a day late than never right?!

5 Years ago (yesterday) Ken launched on STS-124. This was Ken’s first launch and thus my very first launch as a spouse. I didn’t think it would be so incredibly different given that I had seen lots of launches of friends, people I trained etc. but boy was I wrong. Having Ken on that flight made such an incredible difference. Not just because there were so many events surrounding launch that went with it but the emotions were incredibly different too. Funny thing is Ken thought he had a perfect idea of what spaceflight was going to be since he’d been in the astronaut office so long and heard all the stories… he too was wrong. He said it was so much better than all the stories combined 🙂

I have so many great memories of STS-124 that I couldn’t possibly blog about them all. I think what I will do is handpick a few memories over the next 2 weeks and share those with you along with some pictures. I’ll share some more pictures by Twitter as well so follow me by my handle there @spacechelle for more. I can’t say that my memories or photos will all be chronological so don’t count on that but hopefully they will be entertaining!

I thought of doing this just recently otherwise I would have done it for STS-132 as well… perhaps I’ll have to wait for the 5 year “anniversary” of that flight…

One of the things that an astronaut flying for the first time has the option of doing is having their individual crew photo retaken. Given that Ken’s initial photo was taken a fair bit before I convinced him (against his will) to go ahead and get his photo redone in the Orange Launch & Entry Suit. (Ken really hates having his pictures taken in general so it took a little convincing.) One of the nice things was they offered to do some photos of Ken and I together as well so we took them up on this. The photo of Ken is the one that he still uses today when at events….
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The other photo session they do is for the crew photo. This photo was actually shot on a plain background and then the background was added in after the fact. It was quite a time consuming process in the scheme of things. I went along and tried to make myself useful by attempting to entertain them to keep them smiling! 🙂
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These photo shoot memories may seem insignificant in the scheme of so many emotional memories that go with a launch but given that the photos taken at these shoots are forever lasting icons they really are significant.

Stay tuned… not sure what tomorrow’s “Memory of STS-124 Blog will be” because I have so many…

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3 Years Ago…

Three years ago today was the launch of STS-132… in some ways it seems so long ago and yet in others it seems like it was just yesterday!

STS-132 was supposed to be the final flight of Atlantis but the crew all had high hopes that she would fly again so they kept referring to it as “The first last flight” of Atlantis. All of us in attendance were lucky because the flight launched on time just like Ken’s first flight. (I guess that’s what happens when you put 2 Navy guys in the front seats!)

The weeks ahead of the mission would bring lots of smiles and laughs but most importantly some hard work… all of which would lead to an extremely successful mission.

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Touring the launch pad the day before launch

DSC_0096Watching Launch from the top of the Launch Control Center. (They only let immediate family up there to do so.)

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