Discovery: On the Anniversary of Retirement

One year ago, on April 17, 2012, the space shuttle Discovery left Kennedy Space Center for the last time. The orbiter was mated to the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and installed at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Ait and Space Museum. Our series following Discovery on its last mission is “Countdown to the Cape.”  At Udvar-Hazy on installation day, we spoke with Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian … Continue reading Discovery: On the Anniversary of Retirement

Discovery Departure (Part 2: PHOTOS)

Lofty Ambitions flew to the Space Coast to follow space shuttle Discovery on its final departure from Kennedy Space Center. Doug arrived early Saturday morning, and Anna arrived on Sunday evening. We’ll have several posts in our series “Discovery Departure” as we relay our adventures in Florida and then in the Washington, DC, area, where the orbiter will reside in the Udvar-Hazy Facility of the National … Continue reading Discovery Departure (Part 2: PHOTOS)

Discovery Departure (Part 1)

Doug arrived in Florida in the wee hours of Saturday morning after a red-eye flight from John Wayne airport by way of Phoenix. Anna is making her way to the Space Coast separately on Sunday evening. Sleep-deprived, but anxious to get started, Doug went on muscle memory established from our previous trips: rental car, tollway, badging station, and finally the NASA press site. Saturday’s only … Continue reading Discovery Departure (Part 1)

Interview: Andrew Allen

Today’s video interview is with three-time space shuttle astronaut Andrew Allen. We met Andy Allen last November when we were at Kennedy Space Center for Discovery‘s not-launch. Allen became an astronaut in 1988 and flew his first mission, STS-46, in 1992 on Atlantis. He calls that shuttle Hotlantis. Less than two years later, he was aboard Columbia flying STS-62, a science mission. Roughly two years after that, … Continue reading Interview: Andrew Allen

Interview: Kathryn Thornton

Today, we continue our video interview series with four-time space shuttle astronaut Kathy Thornton. Thornton became an astronaut in 1985, a pretty good time to get into the lineup. Her first mission was STS-33 in 1989 on Discovery. She flew on Endeavour twice, on STS-49 in 1992 and STS-61 in 1993. Her last flight was on Columbia, for STS-73 in 1995. She was inducted into the Astronaut … Continue reading Interview: Kathryn Thornton

Interview: Michael Barratt

Lofty Ambitions interviewed Astronaut Michael Barratt when we visited Kennedy Space Center for the not-launch of Endeavour this year. Barratt had recently retured from space himself, as he was part of the crew on STS-133, Discovery‘s last mission. The News Center was so crowded and noisy that Barratt suggested we slip into the closet off the the employee break room for a cozy conversation. Michael … Continue reading Interview: Michael Barratt

A Launch To Remember (Part 1)

In a stroke of luck emerging out of hard work, we have been granted press credentials to attend next week’s scheduled launch of space shuttle Endeavour. Both of us! In the press stands! As close as the public can get! Doug got the approval from NASA earlier this week. Elation, from the Latin meaning to bring out of, as in Doug was brought out of … Continue reading A Launch To Remember (Part 1)

Countdown to the Cape: Home Again, Home Again

On Saturday afternoon, we mingled with 35-some astronauts at Kennedy Space Center. By happenstance, we’d decided to make one last run through the Visitor Complex before we left Florida. Suddenly, we saw Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Serendipity! We followed Buzz Aldrin into a small conference room, filled with astronauts signing autographs for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. In Steven Johnson’s terms, the adjacent possible! Twelve … Continue reading Countdown to the Cape: Home Again, Home Again

Countdown to the Cape: Meaning in the No-Go

Yesterday, Anna was at Kennedy Space Center by 7:30am, scheduled to wave to the astronauts a few hours later as they departed for the launch pad. By 8:30am, word trickled out that the launch had been scrubbed at 8:11am for at least three more days. Doug headed out for a saunter to the Space Walk of Fame, where he would have watched the launch in … Continue reading Countdown to the Cape: Meaning in the No-Go