Tag Archives: space shuttle

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

piers pad tour

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.)

so big pad tour

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

tank pad tour

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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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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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On This Day in History…

Today is a historic anniversary for space that is honestly celebrated around the world… The beauty of today is that it’s not just 1 anniversary – it’s 2 special space anniversaries. 

On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space. This day is celebrated annually with Yuri’s Day and celebrations alla round the world. In Russia it is National Cosmonautics Day
Chris Hadfield had a wonderful message from ISS for Yuri’s Day. Check it out here
http://www.space.com/20623-chris-hadfield-s-special-message-for-yuri-s-night-2013-video.html

I was not alive to witness this first launch of man into space but I was alive to see the second big space milestone of today – the launch of the first space shuttle, STS-1, on April 12, 1981. In fact that was what inspired me to want to work in “the space business” in any way I could.

These events were major milestones in the History of Human Spaceflight and there have been more in between those and along the way. I must admit though the events I most look forward to are the major milestones that have yet to happen in Human Spaceflight that I have the feeling are just over the horizon….

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