Tag Archives: Michelle 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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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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Day 3 of UK Lake DIstrict Astronaut Leadership Experience – The Via Feratta

If you think the morning of Day 3 sounded exciting from my last blog wait til you hear about the afternoon. To be honest the afternoon of Day 4 was really what the whole thing was building up to…. We headed to The Via Feratta.
http://www.honister-slate-mine.co.uk/via_ferrata_at_honister.asp

This is a unique experience where you can go rock climbing (pretty dang high up!) without needed to be technically knowledgable. Through a series of installed supports and ropes to clip into you too can be a rock climber on the face of a mountain!

So I have to admit even though I was one of the Leadership Leaders on this Experience I was not exactly jumping for joy over the idea of hanging off the side of a mountain! Here’s my thing… I am a TOTAL klutz at times on flat ground and trip and fall… when I get high up I have this fear that I will be a klutz up there and well you can imagine where my mind goes from there! All that said I was bound and determined to challenge myself and take myself out of my comfort zone as well.

As I mentioned in my previous blog about apseiling/rappelling we never push anyone further than they are comfortable so especially on a day like this we supported folks in whatever decision they made. That said all but 1 of the group made their way up to the Via Ferratta (and I have to say that the one person who chose not to go had already pushed way past comfort zone in the morning with the apseiling/rappelling!)

First challenge was to walk across a suspended bridge that was pretty darn high up and swung quite a bit. We all made it across there and started to get a bit acclimated. Then we climbed down a ledge to scale the side of the mountain which was a lot more challenge and required a bit of climbing skills. Not to worry it’s all incredibly safe. We were always clipped in with 2 separate lines and our mountaineer guides made sure to take really great care of us. I will admit that this part was definitely a bit unnerving for me – especially when you looked down! That said once again we all made it through this part of our challenge!! Go Us!!! Oh and I forgot to mention – to add to the challenge it was incredibly windy and cold. The wind actually was enough to push you around a bit and the cold made it challenging because you wanted to wear gloves but they made the clipping in and out more difficult.

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Next came a decision point. There were 3 options: 1 was to go across a single wire with arm holds across the open expanse which was the most challenging (especially for people who don’t love heights), the second was to climb up the side of the mountain to the very top (still very challenging but less so than option 1) and the third was to decide you were done and head back down to the Cafe at the bottom of the mountain (and you didn’t even have to go across the crazy bridge to get there). It ended up being about an even split… but only between the first 2 options! I was so proud of everyone to decide they wanted to keep going in some way. We all enjoyed our journey to the top (even if it was really tough at times) and felt such an enormous sense of accomplishment when we got there.

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Luckily there was a cave at the top which offered us some shelter while we waited for the whole group to regroup because it was really cold, windy and snowy up there! It was beautiful however! We got some pictures at the top and then scurried down to the bottom because we were all ready for hot tea to warm up!

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What an incredible day!

That night we discussed this day in great detail and how it effected all of us. I think it’s safe to say it was a great learning experience for everyone and not just in a climbing realm. We were a bit sad that it was our last night together though so we all hung out and talked until a little later than perhaps we should have 🙂

One more blog to go about the event and I promise it won’t take me as long to post the next one 🙂

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Glasgow was Out of This World!

I just returned to my home in the US from an incredible trip to Glasgow. Why Glasgow you might ask? Well that’s a great question and I am glad you did ask 🙂  While on the Astronaut Leadership Experience in the Gobi Desert recently I was lucky enough to become friends with 2 gals on the trip from Glasgow. I won’t go into the lengthy details but the bottom line is we got along famously and as a result while I was “over the pond” I swung through Glasgow for an amazing evening talking about space and how Glasgow can get involved in Mission Discovery, Astronaut Leadership Experiences & Message to the Moon!

29 Studios put on an amazing event where I was fortunate enough to meet many wonderful people who I suspect are going to help me make this happen in Glasgow! Don’t you want to be part of it too?!?!?!?
Check out the 29 Studios page about the event

http://www.29studios.com/?page_id=1199  (Sorry for some reason Word Press is giving me issues with actually linking this. Grrrrr!!)

The event at 29 Studios picked up so much attention I was asked to be on Scotland Tonight which was live and thus a little nerve wracking but it went well I think!

If you would like to see the video from that check out this link to my personal blog (sorry I can’t upload video here without paying an upgrade fee.)

http://chellesspace.blogspot.com/2012/09/glasgow-was-out-of-this-world.html

Grrrrrrr – once again why won’t Word Press work like it’s supposed to? The link button in the editing/writing phase isn’t working. Sorry I guess you will have to copy and paste in the link to your browser.

I am so thankful to 29 Studios (all of whom I now consider dear friends) and my dear dear friends Gillian & Michelle for making it such an awesome trip. I can’t wait to go back to Glasgow!

 

Kev & Gillian

 

Michelle & chelle

 

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