NASA Airborne Science Program (Part 4 / #NASASocial) February 6, 2013Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation, Science.
Tags: Dryden Flight Research Center
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Before we get to our main topic for today, we want to remind readers that we contributed to The Next Big Thing blog hop last week. Some of the writers we tagged have now posted their contributions; check HERE for Karen An-hwei Lee and HERE for Stephanie Vanderslice.
Less than two weeks ago, we spent an entire day as insiders at Dryden Flight Research Center exploring NASA’s Airborne Science Program. Today, we’ll talk about UAVSAR and one of the engineers involved. But you may want to review the previous posts in this series:
UAVSAR is one of NASA’s aircraft-based programs to collect data about the Earth’s surface, including vegetation, ice, volcanoes, and earthquakes. The project started in 2004, with instrument—radar—development, and began collecting data in 2009. The precise, but unwieldy, acronym stands for Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar.
What does that really mean? In practice, UAVSAR involves a pod, which is filled with electronic equipment, attached to the bottom of the Gulfstream-III we saw that day in the hangar. The pod we saw attached was one of two radar pods, each using a different frequency. The pod works by sending radio waves toward the ground. The waves bounce back up off the swathe of Earth and are received by the pod.
Multiple flights over the same swathe—using Dryden-developed software and the aircraft’s autopilot to cover the same area within thirty-three feet—allows comparison of data over time so that scientists can see how the Earth is changing. UAVSAR has been used to study the movement and varied thickness of the oil slick after the Deepwater Horizon accident (see video below), the evolving characteristics of Mount St. Helens, the shifts in the glacial ice flows of Greenland, land changes after the earthquake in Haiti, and river flooding in Mississippi. The radar can even measure soil moisture in a designated area.
Yunling Lou, a radar engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), brought UAVSAR to life for us. She got her start in the field with NASA’s AIRSAR, a similar airborne science project based in NASA’s DC-8 that also tested new radar technology. During her NASA career, she’s moved back and forth between airborne and spaceborne science projects.
In fact, she worked on the landing radar for Curiosity. Yes, that’s right, Yunling Lou, with whom we talked at length, helped to make sure that the Mars rover landed safely. For part of its descent—during those seven minutes of terror—success depended on Lou and the rest of her team.
Right now, though, she’s focused on UAVSAR and the wealth of data it provides to scientists worldwide. Last year, the project flew roughly eighty science flights, and Lou expects that, this year, the Gulfstream-III will fly roughly ninety flights using the radar pod we saw and another fifty flights with the other pod.
Lou no longer flies missions herself. Other, often newer radar engineers at JPL do that. She told us, “Deployment is a distraction or a break” from the regular work schedule at JPL. All the radar operators in the plane are also radar engineers. In other words, the people who use the equipment are the people who design the equipment.
What Lou likes most about her work breaks into two aspects. First, “There’s always a challenge every few years. […] The technical challenge is always there.” JPL keeps working to improve the radar so that the data becomes more useful, too. Second, the end-user scientist makes her feel relevant. She meets the scientists who use the data that is gathered through UAVSAR—the clients who want certain kinds of data—so she understands that the work she does makes a difference in how scientists understand what happens to the Earth.
What Lou does—what NASA supports through UAVSAR—matters to all of us. Even though we don’t analyze the data ourselves, the data from NASA’s airborne Earth sciences projects shape the way we understand the Earth and help communities deal with real-life problems like flooding. This extensive science project may well inform our decisions about the future and how to thrive on the shifting, flowing, forested surface of this planet.
NASA Airborne Science Program: Flight Suit (Part 3 / #NASASocial) January 30, 2013Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation, Science, Space Exploration.
Tags: Apollo, Books, Dryden Flight Research Center, GRAILTweetup, Space Shuttle
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Today, we focus on the pilot flight suit worn by those who fly high-altitude aircraft like the venerable ER-2. The ER-2 is the civilian version of the military’s U-2 spy plane, a sixty-year-old aircraft design that has a reputation for being a handful to fly. NASA, of course, doesn’t spy. Instead, the ER-2 flies at the edge of space, roughly 70,000 feet above the Earth, to, according to NASA’s website, “scan shorelines, measure water levels, help fight forest fires, profile the atmosphere, assess flood damage, and sample the stratosphere.” But just because it’s being used for science doesn’t make the ER-2 any easier to fly. Last year while visiting Dryden, Doug heard test pilot Nils Larson say of the aircraft, “If you’re having a bad day and the U-2’s having a bad day, it can be a BAD DAY.”
At that altitude and with a partially pressurized cockpit, the pilot needs to wear a suit that is, according to NASA’s Josh Graham, 80% the same as the orange launch-and-reentry suits worn by space shuttle astronauts. The differences between these flight suits and spacesuits lie mainly in the neck area and oxygen system. If the ER-2 pilot didn’t have such a suit, the lack of pressure at 65,000 feet would cause his blood to boil. Looking at the flight suit he brought for demonstration, Graham said, “This is somebody’s father. They need to come home.”
Each pilot is issued two of these suits, at a cost of $300,000 apiece, along with one helmet, which adds another $100,000 to the price of the outfit. The suit itself weighs thirty-five pounds and comes in thirteen standard sizes, though Graham pointed to a pilot standing behind us and said that he gets a special suit because he’s especially tall.
All the current suits—NASA’s flight suits and spacesuits—are handmade by the David Clark Company in Massachusetts. Each suit takes six to eight months to complete. The suit works in layers. The layer we see is yellow, but Graham unhitched the helmet and peeled back the outer layer so that we could view the layer of mesh, hand-woven hundred-pound fishing line. These outfits are designed to hold up with a tear as long as three inches or with a quarter-sized hole.
The David Clark Company also made the Gemini spacesuits, which were used for extravehicular activity in which, according to Michael Collins in Carrying the Fire, “oxygen came from the spacecraft via an umbilical, and then went through a chest pack.” Apollo spacesuits were made by the International Latex Corporation, or ILC, and had an “oxygen supply from a back pack.” Of ILC’s work, which applies to David Clark’s work as well, the book Spacesuit says the following: “similar to sewing a bra or girdle,” “unprecedented precision,” “highly regulated,” “elaborate process,” and “the delicate art of their collective synthesis.”
Collins played a crucial role with the Apollo suits: “My job was to monitor the development of all this equipment, to make sure that it was coming along all right, that it was going to be safe and practical to use, and that it would please the other guys in the astronaut office.” Though NASA’s ER-2 flight suits are already well developed, Joshua Graham does this sort of overseeing for aircraft operations, making sure each suit is ready to go.
One of the facets of NASA’s social media program that we enjoy is the opportunity to rub shoulders with other aviation and space nerds. While visiting the Space Coast to participate in a Tweetup and watch the GRAIL twins launch in 2011, Doug met the granddaughter of a woman who had worked as part of the team that assembled the Apollo spacesuits.
As we were examining the flight suit up close last week, Graham pointed out the small whiffle ball attached to a tether on the front of the get-up. When the flight suit initially inflates, it poofs up. This raises the helmet so that the pilot can’t see. He feels around the front of his suit to find the plastic ball, which he pulls down. This simple action readjusts the neck of the suit and helmet, and he’s ready to zoom.
Some of the flights are long, and no one wants a hungry, woozy pilot. But the pilot can’t take off his helmet to grab a bite to eat. Instead, his helmet has a feeding hole, and food—the sample we saw was caffeinated chocolate pudding (which sounds very useful)—is packed in tubes with stiff straws attached. The pilot can jab the straw into the hole in his helmet and suck the snack down.
Other human needs are also likely to occur on long flights, so the suit is also designed with a device like a condom connected to a tube, which the pilot wears so that he can relieve himself at any time. Graham didn’t discuss what the women pilots do, and earlier in the day, a NASA representative indicated that NASA currently had no women test pilots. What we didn’t know was that pilots must carefully control what Graham referred to as “number two.” If a pilot feels the need to defecate during a mission, he must declare an inflight emergency and return home as fast as he safely can. NASA doesn’t want to encourage a poop that costs $300,000.
Toward the end of our time in this section of the tour of the hangar at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility (DAOF, or day off), Doug asked Graham about the clunky spurs on the back of the suit’s boots. Graham responded that this aircraft is the only one that still uses hooks and cables in its ejection seat. The spurs hook to cables to pull his feet to the seat and keep his limbs from flailing during ejection. Then, at 14,000-16,000 feet, the pilot can cut the cable and parachute down safely.
The planes are cool. The ER-2 is fascinating because it flies incredibly high. The science is important. The ER-2 and its predecessor have been collecting data since the early 1970s, sampling the stratosphere and mapping large forest fires. Last week’s flight suit demonstration reminded us that the people are crucial to NASA’s Airborne Science Program.
NASA Airborne Science Program (PHOTOS / #NASASocial) January 26, 2013Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation, Science.
Tags: Beer, Dryden Flight Research Center
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We spent all day yesterday at Dryden Flight Research Center for an insider’s look at NASA’s Airborne Science Program. We drove to Palmdale on Thursday and had dinner, yes, at Yard House. The next morning, we arrived at the designated parking lot in Palmdale shortly after 7:00 a.m. That’s pretty early for us to be fully functioning, but we boarded the bus with the rest of the social media crowd and were off to Edwards Air Force Base. After lunch, the bus returned us to the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility (DAOF, pronounced day off) for a full afternoon of talks and up-close time with aircraft.
We’re already drafting posts about different aspects of the program–specific aircraft, pilot flight suits, what scientists learn from aircraft-based data collection–but we start here with a photo overview.
Read the next installment about NASA’s Airborne Science Program HERE.
NASA Airborne Science Program (Part 1) January 23, 2013Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation, Science.
Tags: Beer, Dryden Flight Research Center, Space Shuttle
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We admit it; we’re hooked. We like being insiders. We’re curious about what NASA is up to, even though they’re no longer up to the space shuttle program.
We also like Palmdale, California, though we haven’t seen all that much of it. We drove out that way for the first time on Thanksgiving weekend of 2008, shortly after we moved to California, to see the space shuttle Endeavour land at Edwards Air Force Base. That trip—just a couple of hours drive each way—set the stage for our two-year adventure following the end of the space shuttle program two years later.
Palmdale is a place with lodging close to Dryden Flight Research Center, so that’s where we stayed when we followed Endeavour home to California last year. On that trip, we stayed an extra night, exhausted from our cross-country travel between California and Florida and back and, suddenly, not wanting to rush to LAX to see Endeavour’s last landing, instead preferring the image of the shuttle aloft to linger in our minds as long as possible.
During that last jaunt into the desert, we dined at the Yard House in Palmdale. We’re creatures of habit, dining there three nights in a row, just as we had found favorite restaurants on the Space Coast and stuck with them, though one went out of business and then went out of business again between our visits. So we imagine that, in the next couple of days, we’ll sit ourselves down at Yard House to enjoy an ahi poke bowl, Gardein buffalo wings, and, depending on their monthly special drafts, a Lagunitas IPA or a Half Acre Daisy Cutter, the new beer we discovered in Chicago earlier this month
Tomorrow, we’re off to Palmdale not so much for a familiar meal, of course, but to spend a day learning about NASA’s Airborne Science Program. As NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden once reminded us, the first A in NASA stands for aeronautics. In addition to studying space, NASA studies the Earth’s atmosphere and surface, using satellites and aircraft. We’re part of a group of social media nerds who will get a “behind-the-scenes” look at airborne science projects on Friday.
According to NASA, the program’s primary objectives are as follows:
- Conduct in-situ atmospheric measurements with varying vertical and horizontal resolutions
- Collect high-resolution imagery for focused process studies and sub-pixel resolution for spaceborne calibration.
- Implement “sensor web” observational strategies for conducting earth science missions including intelligent mission management, and sensor networking.
- Demonstrate and exploit the capabilities of uninhabited and autonomous aircraft for science investigations
- Test new sensor technologies in space-like environments
- Calibrate/validate space-based measurements and retrieval algorithms
What does that mean? We’re not sure yet, but we’ll definitely share what we find out. We’re thinking ice caps and forest canopy and pollution. In the afternoon, we’ll be “in the hangar,” so we’re hoping to see several different airplanes, including the unmanned Global Hawk originally designed for military surveillance and the ER-2, and maybe peek at the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft that’s sitting out there in the desert somewhere with nothing much to do. You’ll just have to check back at Lofty Ambitions to find out what airborne science means (Part 2: PHOTOS and Part 3: Flight Suit).
On This Date January 9, 2013Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation.
Tags: Art & Science, Dryden Flight Research Center, Museums & Archives, Wright Brothers, WWII
Today is the birthday—first flight day—of two aircraft that share some background but also differ significantly. A good portion of the world was at war in the 1940s, and that gave rise to these two aircraft in different places. The AVRO Lancaster first took to the war-torn skies of England seventy-two years ago, in 1941, when test pilot Bill Thorn coaxed prototype BT308 to off of the tarmac and into the air at Manchester’s Ringway Airport. Two years later, in 1943, the prototype L-049 Constellation made its first flight, a short hop really, from Burbank, CA, to Muroc Air Force Base (later to become Edwards Air Force Base and also current home to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center).
Large, four-engined, and born during World War II are among the very limited set of characteristics that the Lancaster and the Constellation had in common. That said, both aircraft followed architect’s Louis Sullivan’s “form ever follows function” dictum to a tee and turned out very differently.
The Lancaster was designed as a bomber. Utilitarian, slab sided, and broad winged, the Lancaster is not easily mistaken for anything but a military aircraft. The Lancaster began military service in February 1942, and more than 7,000 would be built before the last “Lanc” was retired in 1963. During WWII, Lancaster’s flew nearly 160,000 missions. The Lancaster gained particular fame during the war for its use of bouncing bombs in mission against dams.
While the Lanc was decidedly of its time, the Lockheed Constellation—affectionately known as the “Connie”—had an art deco design, a blend of organic shapes and machine grace, that was ahead of its time. Much larger than the Lanc—early Connies had a takeoff weight of 137,500 lb versus the Lanc’s 68,000 lb—the Lockheed design was curved and sinous. Many mid-twentieth-century trains, planes, and automobiles were shaped to cheat the wind, and a designer’s eyeball of that era served as a wind-tunnel test. The Connie looks like it’s going fast even when it is sitting still.
Much is often made of Howard Hughes’s involvement in the design of the Connie. In reality, Hughes’ TWA simply issued the specification for the Connie, and Lockheed engineered an aircraft to satisfy that spec. Once the Connie was flying though, Hughes, ever the promoter and master showman, made headlines with the aircraft. Because of his close relationship to Lockheed, Hughes managed to finagle the use of an early Constellation. Once he had it, he repainted it in TWA colors and promptly set a speed record while flying it across the country. Passengers on that trip included Hughes’s gal-pal Ava Gardner and Lockheed engineer (and Upper Peninsula native) Kelly Johnson. On his return trip, Hughes garnered more press by giving Orville Wright what would be the aviation pioneer’s last flight.
Despite its obvious style and speed—the Connie was faster than a number of WWII fighter aircraft—the Connie had a short and somewhat difficult career. Its Wright 3350 engines had a reputation for inflight fires, leading to uncomfortable jokes about the Connie, which had four engines, being the world’s faster trimotor. On top of that, the first generation of jet airliners arrived just as the Connie began to hit its stride. Although Connies survived for a number of years in the military and in passenger service outside of the United States, this aircraft made its final domestic revenue flight in 1967.
As we’ve written elsewhere, we have a fondness for visiting small airports just to see what’s sitting on the ramp. We developed this ritual while we were both professors at our alma mater, Knox College, in the late-1990s. Years later, on a return trip to Galesburg, we visited the local airport—call sign KGBG—for old-time’s sake. Sitting there in all of its shapely, aluminum glory was a Constellation.
The first Constellation that we saw in the metal was the so-called MATS Connie, one of the handful still flying and once owned by John Travolta. We’ve also seen the military variant at Chanute-Rantoul, just outside of Champaign, IL, where our colleague Richard Bausch once served. President Eisenhower flew on a Constellation; he had two in service at the time.
Only two Lancasters remain airworthy, one in the United Kingdom and one at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. There’s a Lanc near us, though, in Chico, CA, that folks are planning to restore to flying condition. A reminder that we haven’t yet thoroughly investigated the aviation history that’s right in our own back yard here in Southern California.
Supersonic Flight: The Shape of Things to Come (Part 1) December 6, 2012Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation.
Tags: Airshows, Concorde, Dryden Flight Research Center, Museums & Archives
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Concorde, known for its supersonic, trans-Atlantic flights of yesteryear, was in the news just past week, as a French court overturned manslaughter convictions and upheld civil damages in relation to the Air France 4590 crash in 2000. To some, this story might seem an afterthought to the dashed hopes for supersonic flight.
The dream of commercial, supersonic transports capable of safely and cheaply whisking business passengers through a geographically dispersed day, breakfast in London, lunch in New York City, and back to London for dinner, is nearly as old as supersonic flight itself. By the mid-1950s, mainstream publications like the Saturday Evening Post were breathlessly predicting, “No doubt we’ll be flying faster than sound by the thousands in a few years.”
The closest that commercial aviation ever came to realizing that prediction was Concorde. But Concorde, never able to fly profitably even in the best of times, was done in by steadily increasing fuel costs, decreased travel after 9/11, and a deadly accident. It’s been nearly a decade since Concorde’s last revenue flight in 2003.
Less than a decade ago, test flights by the Shaped Sonic Boom Demonstration (SSBD) aircraft renewed hope for commercially viable supersonic flight. New designs for commercial supersonic aircraft turn up at the major international air shows regularly and increasingly target the lucrative business-jet market, the so-called supersonic business jets (SSBJ). These designs owe much to the ground-breaking technology established by the SSBD.
In the days prior to this year’s Farnbourough International Airshow, media outlets were rife with rumours of an announcement that had NASA joining forces with some combination of Gulfstream, Boeing, or Lockheed-Martin to bring a version of the X-54 SSBJ to market by 2030. Despite the frenzied anticipation, no such announcement was made.
At Le Bourget 2011, the Euro-conglomerate European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), the parent company of Airbus, announced the Zero-Emission High Speed Transport (ZEHST), a technology demonstrator featuring three separate propulsion systems—turbofan, ramjet, and cryogenic rocket engines—that will take to the skies in 2050. A second design, the SonicStar, a supersonic business jet with a more immediate timetable of first flight in 2021, was also announced at Le Bourget 2011, presented by British aerospace startup HyperMach. Both designs claimed to incorporate engineering solutions for addressing an aspect of the fundamental physics of supersonic flight that has accompanied every breaking through the sound barrier since Chuck Yeager’s 1947 flight, the sonic boom.
The passage of an aircraft through our planet’s ocean of air is often likened to a boat moving across the water. The boat’s passage is marked by waves of reflected energy as its hull pushes through the water. Visualizing a boat’s wake is misleading to a degree because we only see the two-dimensional “V” spreading out from the boat on the water’s surface. In reality, the mechanical wave and its associated pressure increase are also spreading out underneath the boat. In physics, a mechanical wave is one that requires a medium—water for the boat, air for the airplane—in which to travel, as opposed to an electromagnetic wave, which can propagate in a vacuum.
The mechanical waves generated by an aircraft are sound waves, miniscule increases in pressure generated by the aircraft’s body pushing and compressing air molecules as it passes. Below the speed of sound, these pressure waves radiate outward from the aircraft in three dimensions. As an aircraft approaches the speed of sound (761 mph at sea level and 59 F), the pressure waves are only moving slightly faster than the aircraft, so they bunch up together just in front of the aircraft’s surfaces (cf. “Supersonic Revolution” by Richard Hallion, Aviation History, July 2011): the nose, the wing leading edges, and the empennage. As an aircraft reaches the speed of sound, the bunched pressure waves actually combine into a big single shock wave. That shock wave is heard as a sonic boom.
The sonic boom is characterized by the dramatic increase in pressure at the aircraft’s nose and by a steady decrease in pressure to below atmospheric levels at the aircraft’s tail. After the supersonic aircraft passes, the pressure sharply increases to return to atmospheric levels. The two pressure increases—one at the aircraft’s nose and the other after it passes—produce the sonic boom’s double-bang sound. This sequence of increase–linear decrease–increase in pressure gives the wave its characteristic shape (up, down, up) and name: the N-wave.
In an interview for the NOVA program Supersonic Dream on Concorde, James Hamilton, at one-time the Director-General of Concorde, compared the sound of an aircraft approaching at subsonic speeds with the surprise arrival of sound associated with a supersonic aircraft: “You hear nothing until you get all the noise collected together, as it were, and when that happens, instead of a getting a continuous rumble of noise, you get a very sharp boom.”
Federal Aviation Regulation 91.817 prohibits flying over land at supersonic speeds for civil aircraft in the United States. The regulation specifies that aircraft “will not cause a sonic boom to reach the surface within the United States.” In the mid-1960s, the FAA, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force conducted a six-month experiment into the effects of sonic booms on a human population by performing supersonic overflights of Oklahoma City. Using a mixture of F-101s, F-104s, F-106s, and B-58s, the experiment, initially designed to provide favorable support for continuing the development of an American version of Concorde, the supersonic transport (SST), subjected the residents of Oklahoma City to 1,253 sonic booms. In the end, public outcry led to the early cessation of the experiment and, ultimately, a class action suit that the government lost.
After it was prohibited by law, the inability to conduct overland supersonic flight restricted the usefulness and profitability of Concorde by limiting it to a handful of transatlantic routes.
The X-54, ZEST, and SonicStar are being designed to make use of sonic boom mitigation techniques, techniques that will attempt to reduce the pressure wave that reaches the ground by shaping the shock wave that emanates from an aircraft traveling faster than sound, techniques that were pioneered by the SSBD.
Next Wednesday, we’ll take a closer look at this aircraft with looks that only an engineer could love.
I Remember California: Recap, Thus Far September 26, 2012Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Space Exploration.
Tags: Dryden Flight Research Center, I Remember California, Movies & TV, Museums & Archives, Space Shuttle
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It’s been two years since we began following the end of the space shuttle program. On September 18, 2010, we published a piece about I Dream of Jeannie. We hadn’t yet visited Cocoa Beach, the Space Coast town where Jeannie and astronaut Anthony Nelson lived in that television series. We hadn’t yet been to Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) and seen the façade of the building used for Tony Nelson’s NASA office building.
By the end of October two years ago, we were on our way to Florida in hopes of seeing Discovery launch. We talked with Apollo astronauts and shuttle astronauts and saw the story of space exploration as it was told by Kennedy Space Center (KSC). We didn’t see a space shuttle launch that year. Discovery’s launch was delayed by months, and our work schedules prevented us from returning for that orbiter’s last mission. That trip changed our lives, reoriented us in our understanding of ourselves and our sense of our place in history.
We returned to the Space Coast to see Endeavour launch. That took two tries. We had seen Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base two years before that, in 2008, just a few months after we’d relocated to California. Endeavour seemed like “our” orbiter. Witnessing that launch was like nothing we had ever experienced before. When we returned to KSC for the last launch of Atlantis—the last-ever shuttle launch—Stephanie Stilson gave us a tour of Endeavour in the Orbiter Processing Facility.
So we are following Endeavour all the way home to California. We attended the title transfer at the California Science Center, and we’ve spent the last couple of weeks with Endeavour, first for its takeoff from KSC and then for its landing at DFRC. We got up close to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with the orbiter mated atop and walked around the odd configuration. Then, we saw Endeavour’s final takeoff.
Admittedly, we didn’t rush to LAX to see its last landing. Sure, the inevitable traffic put us off, and we didn’t have time to grab our press credentials before their early cutoff. We were exhausted from lack of sleep to get to the runway early. Days of adrenaline rushes take their toll. Mostly, though, when we saw the takeoff on September 21, 2012, we wanted to hold that memory a while. We wanted Endeavour to remain aloft in our minds for just a few weeks longer.
In October, we’ll follow Endeavour to its museum home. We’re not sure how, but we’ll be there for what’s being billed as quite a party. And we may well go back to the Space Coast to see Atlantis move over to the KSC Visitor Complex. But for now, we picture Endeavour, aloft and banking slightly, soaring westward.
Part 1: Title for Title
Part 2: I Remember Mike Moses
Part 3: Orbiter Transfer Plans
Part 5: Background of Endeavour
Part 6: Endeavour Mating (Photos)
Part 7: Endeavour Delay & KSC Tour
Part 12: The Family Photos
Part 14: Recap, Thus Far (this post!)
Video Interview: Jeffrey Rudolph, Head of the California Science Center
I Remember California: From Florida to California (Photos) September 24, 2012Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation, Space Exploration.
Tags: Dryden Flight Research Center, I Remember California, Museums & Archives, Space Shuttle
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We are back home again, back at our jobs today. In our absence, no classes were canceled, no big tasks cast aside. Admittedly, our energy reserves are depleted, but we are relatively rested after what was a more demanding week than we expected. We are happy to be back at our desks, talking with students, and also happy for the memories of the last ten days, grateful that it all worked out. Here, we share a photo essay chronicling Endeavour‘s cross-country journey from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Dryden Flight Research Center in California and beyond.
For videos, check the last several posts here at Lofty Ambitions. And we’re gathering a few thoughts to share in Wednesday’s regular post. In the meantime, enjoy the last flight of any space shuttle ever.
I Remember California: The Family Photos September 23, 2012Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Space Exploration.
Tags: Dryden Flight Research Center, I Remember California, Space Shuttle
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We spent more than a week following Endeavour‘s final departure from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to its birthplace in California. In posts from the last few days, you can watch Lofty Ambitions’ EXCLUSIVE VIDEO of ”180 Degrees of Endeavour,” as well as our videos of the landing and takeoff at Dryden and our video of Endeavour‘s departure from KSC. In today’s post, we share some of our photos from the last week, our photographic proof that we were there, that we stood in the shadow of the orbiter atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, that we saw Endeavour with our own eyes on its last journey aloft.
I Remember California: 180 Degrees of Endeavour September 22, 2012Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Space Exploration.
Tags: Dryden Flight Research Center, I Remember California, Space Shuttle
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Temperature at Dryden Flight Research Center: 180 degrees (at least it felt like it)
Perspective on Endeavour: 180 degrees
Almost Two Years of Following the Space Shuttle: Costly and Priceless