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Saturday, April 30, 2011

My first 'space album'...which was autographed by an actual NASA employee in 1992.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY... In case you wanted to know how huge of an obsessive space nerd I am, here are the latest (or oldest) evidence of that. Ever since I was in 4th grade (back in um, 1989-90), I would cut out practically every space-related article from a newspaper (specifically the Los Angeles Times, since I live in SoCal) and put them in plastic report covers I bought at the local supermarket. My interest in the space program started in the 3rd grade, and increased dramatically around August 25, 1989, when the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past Neptune and its icy moon Triton. During this flyby, I would get up early in the morning and see a photo that Voyager 2 took of the giant gas planet and its main satellite on the front page of the L.A. Times almost every day during the following week. In the photos above is the very first album (I don’t want to call it a scrapbook, despite the fact the latest albums are entitled The Space Scrapbook, haha) I worked on. As you can see, it was actually autographed by someone who worked at NASA. He visited my elementary school and gave a presentation to the entire student body when I was in 6th grade back in 1992.

All of my space albums...for the rest of the world to see.

Pages from my latest album, THE SPACE SCRAPBOOK: 2011 AND BEYOND...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TO COMMEMORATE the upcoming final flight of space shuttle Endeavour, here’s a cool infographic depicting the orbiter and other spacecraft that flew into and beyond Earth orbit since the Space Age began more than 50 years ago. Compared to the capsules (particularly the Russian-made Soyuz and the Chinese-owned Shenzhou), the shuttle is truly an elegant-looking—and giant—vehicle. Just how many Mercury capsules could fit inside its payload bay?? Anyways, this illustration comes courtesy of Space.com:

See the spaceships that have launched astronauts and cosmonauts into space in the first 50 years of human spaceflight.
Source: SPACE.com... All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An artist's concept of the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

SINCE IT’S GONNA BE quite a while till we see preliminary designs of the building that will house space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center (considering the fact the Center—or CSC—has yet to hire an architect who will design and build the orbiter’s final home), just thought I’d post these two pics of the exhibit that will eventually surround space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC). You can read more about what the KSCVC has in store for NASA’s second oldest existing space-flown orbiter by clicking here. What I’m thinking is...what was the artist thinking not drawing people to scale with the shuttle in the image above? I’m trying to fit in a joke about the shuttle being in an exhibit on Pandora (as in the movie Avatar) and those folks being giant Na’vi (disguised as um, humans), but I changed my mind, haha. In terms of where to place Endeavour while the new air and space building is being built at CSC, might I suggest the Spruce Goose Dome in Long Beach? How far is that from Los Angeles International Airport (or even Long Beach Airport)? Hm.

An artist's concept of the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Space shuttle Columbia heads into space on her first flight, on April 12, 1981.

ENDEAVOUR, HERE I COME! Seeing as how I currently live only 30 miles from the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where Endeavour will find her new home in mid-2012, I am totally looking forward to seeing NASA’s youngest space shuttle orbiter on display there after she flies her final flight, STS-134, later this month. While I got to see Discovery on the launch pad when I visited Kennedy Space Center two years ago (and actually saw her up in the sky—while she was on mission STS-119—shortly after), it was Endeavour that was the first orbiter I saw in person almost 19 years ago...when she touched down at Edwards Air Force Base in California after completing STS-49 in May of 1992 (see blurry pic at the end of this entry... I um, took that photo). Anyways, here’s the official press release on which museums Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour and the prototype shuttle Enterprise will be heading to next year...

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NASA Announces New Homes For Shuttle Orbiters After Retirement (Press Release)

WASHINGTON -- After 30 years of spaceflight, more than 130 missions, and numerous science and technology firsts, NASA's space shuttle fleet will retire and be on display at institutions across the country to inspire the next generation of explorers and engineers.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday announced the facilities where four shuttle orbiters will be displayed permanently at the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program. Shuttle Enterprise, the first orbiter built, will move from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. The Udvar-Hazy Center will become the new home for shuttle Discovery, which retired after completing its 39th mission in March. Shuttle Endeavour, which is preparing for its final flight at the end of the month, will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Atlantis, which will fly the last planned shuttle mission in June, will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

"We want to thank all of the locations that expressed an interest in one of these national treasures," Bolden said. "This was a very difficult decision, but one that was made with the American public in mind. In the end, these choices provide the greatest number of people with the best opportunity to share in the history and accomplishments of NASA's remarkable Space Shuttle Program. These facilities we've chosen have a noteworthy legacy of preserving space artifacts and providing outstanding access to U.S. and international visitors."

Today's 'Google doodle'...which celebrates Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's historic flight into space on April 12, 1961.

NASA also announced that hundreds of shuttle artifacts have been allocated to museums and education institutions.

- Various shuttle simulators for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum of McMinnville, Ore., and Texas A&M's Aerospace Engineering Department

- Full fuselage trainer for the Museum of Flight in Seattle

- Nose cap assembly and crew compartment trainer for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio

- Flight deck pilot and commander seats for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston

- Orbital maneuvering system engines for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center of Huntsville, Ala., National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

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Space shuttle Endeavour prepares to land at Edwards Air Force Base in California after completing her maiden flight, STS-49, on May 16, 1992.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An artist's concept of the Falcon Heavy rocket launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
SpaceX

IMAGES OF THE DAY... Meet SpaceX's newest creation, the Falcon Heavy rocket...which will become the most powerful launch vehicle to soar into the sky since the Saturn V rocket sent Apollo astronauts to the Moon more than 40 years ago. The Falcon Heavy is set to lift off on its maiden voyage from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California sometime in 2013 (which would also be the year that NASA's Orion spacecraft is suppose to undergo its first test flight onboard what is currently rumored to be a Delta IV vehicle. Is SpaceX trying to change NASA's mind on this?). For more info on the Falcon Heavy, click here.

An artist's concept of the Falcon Heavy rocket soaring into the sky.
SpaceX