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#ETComesHome to California May 22, 2016

Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Space Exploration.
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On May 21, External Tank #94 arrived at the California Science Center, where it will eventually be stacked with the orbiter Endeavour and two test rockets and displayed upright as if ready to launch. Lofty Ambitions was there to see it arrive because we couldn’t imagine more fun for nerds on a Saturday night.

ETDougLastLeg

This particular external fuel tank for the space shuttle is the only functional ET in existence. It was a lightweight version built for use with Columbia, but, in 2003, Columbia broke apart on reentry before this tank was used. By the time NASA was flying shuttles again, a super-lightweight tank was in production. In fact, ET-94 was used to study whether the lightweight construction contributed to the Columbia accident, and, as you can see in our photos, pieces of foam have been removed as part of that investigation.

ETLastCorner

ET-94 arrives at the last corner of its journey.

No other external tanks survive because they were used to launch space shuttles. The ET is the large orange tube to which the orbiter and solid booster rockets were attached. It therefore provided structural stability in addition to holding the the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen that fed the Space Shuttle Main Engines for roughly the first 70 miles of its journey. With the fuel exhausted, the empty tank separated from the orbiter and plummeted back toward Earth, disintegrating on its way down.

ETgotit

Got it!

ET-94 left Louisiana on a barge on April 12. Later last month, it made its way through the Panama Canal and on to Los Angeles. On its way up the coast, the tugboat pulling the ET rescued four people from a life raft after their fishing boat had sunk. Finally, yesterday, aboard a deftly maneuvered transporter, ET-94 made its way through the streets of Inglewood and to the California Science Center at Exposition Park, where we met it up close.

ETTightSqueeze1

Tight turn!

For the time being, ET-94 will be enclosed next to the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, where a window will be added so that visitors to Endeavour will be able to peek out at the fuel tank.

ETTightSqueeze2

 

ETvolunteers

ET-94 Volunteers

ETnose

ET-94 Nose with foam  piece removed

ETLongShot

ETKen&Doug

With Aerospace Curator Ken Phillips and ET-94

On This Date: 5 Anniversaries for April 20 April 20, 2016

Posted by Lofty Ambitions in 5 Things, Science, Space Exploration, Video Interviews.
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Looking for something to ponder or celebration today, April 20? Here you go!

1862: Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard prove that spontaneous generation doesn’t happen. If you’re still hoping that something can come from nothing, you’re more than 150 years behind the times.

MarieCurieAmHist1902: Pierre and Marie Curie radium chloride, the first compound of radium to be isolated in a pure state. In 2013, the FDA approved radium chloride as a treatment for prostate cancer. We’ve written about the Curies before; check out more info about Pasteur and Curie HERE.

CubsBoard1916: One hundred years ago on this date, the Chicago Cubs played their first game in what has become Wrigley Field on this date. While this anniversary is beside the usual topics of Lofty Ambitions, we’re lifelong Cubs fans, and we like an excuse for a celebration.

1937: George Takei was born in Los Angeles. He later played Sulu in the television show Star Trek and subsequent films. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter and not following George Takei, you’re missing out.

Lofty&CharlieDuke1972: John Young and Charlie Duke land on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission. See our interviews with the wonderful Charlie Duke HERE and HERE.

Bonus: In April 2012, we had followed the orbiter Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the National Air and Space Museum‘s Udvar-Hazy facility. April 20th was that oribter’s first full day as a museum artifact.

DiscoveryMoving2

5 Things To Do at AWP in LA March 30, 2016

Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Writing.
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TabAWP2012

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference is in LA this week, and we’ll be there. Check out the Chapman University and Tabula Poetica booth at #701 in the bookfair–it’s bigger than last year’s, and you can meet Doug, steampunk writer James P. Blaylock, avant garde writer Martin Nakell, MFA students, and more. Anna will have a board office hour at the AWP booth on Friday at 1pm.

To register for the conference, go to the AWP website. Note that the Saturday-only pass is available onsite for just $45. There are loads of offsite events; some have cover charges, but many are free, so it’s possible to take advantage of AWP without registering for the conference itself.

Click HERE for good advice on how to survive AWP from writer Leslie Pietrzyk. And here are specific things to do at this year’s conference.

Keynote by Claudia Rankine / Thursday at 8:30pm in Concourse Hall

ClaudiaRankineOkay, we admit that we don’t always go to the keynote when we go to AWP. This year, there’s no way we’ll miss Claudia Rankine, author of the acclaimed book Citizen. If you’re registered for the conference, we’ll look for you there.

 

Book Signing by Richard Bausch & Carolyn Forché / Saturday at noon-2pm at Bookfair #701

(OC Register)

(OC Register)

Hang out with two amazing writers! Seriously, go shoot the breeze with these two. Richard Bausch is the author of the novel Before, During, After and a winner of the Rea Award for “significant contribution to the discipline of the short story as an art form.” Carolyn Forché is the author of The Country Between Us and recently Blue Hour. Their books and books by Chapman U faculty will be available for purchase at 10am-3pm, and we’re all happy to sign and talk.

 

The Material of Making, sponsored by Copper Canyon Press / Saturday at 4:30pm in Concourse Hall

If you’ve never heard Anna ask a crowd to turn off their cell phones, here’s your chance! (If you want a preview of her doing just that, check out this audio of Carolyn Forché and Kevin Young last year.) After the introductions, Richard Siken, Laura Kasischke, and Roger Reeves will read a selection of their work and then Michael Wiegers will moderate a discussion of the materiality of language, metaphor as lie, and image as construct of sound and meaning.

 

California Science Center

Endeavour did not merely move in a straight line down streets. The orbiter had to zig and zag to avoid poles and trees.

Endeavour on way to California Science Center

Pop over to the California Science Center to see space shuttle Endeavour. There’s also a lot about ecosystems there, and the kelp forest dive occurs daily at 11am and 2:30pm. It’s just three stops on the Metro Blue/Expo line from the Pico stop across from the Convention Center to the Expo Park/USC stop, where you’ll find the science center and the natural history museum. The science center, including your ticket to the shuttle exhibit, is FREE.

 

Yard House

Two nights in Palmdale means two dinners at Yard House. That's gardein buffalo wings, an ahi poke bowl, and a Lagunitas IPA.

That’s an ahi poke bowl, gardein buffalo wings, and a Lagunitas IPA.

The Convention Center is right next to LA Live, an area brimming with restaurants and the Staples Center. You’ll be tripping over options for food and beverage; any will do, and some are quite good. We recommend Yard House for a great beer selection and good food, including some interesting gardein options. It’s a small West Coast chain. If you’re a regular Lofty Ambitions reader, you may remember that it’s part of our Temecula routine and that there’s one near Armstrong Flight Research Center.

 

Enjoy AWP! Enjoy LA!

5 Views of Skylab B at NASM March 9, 2016

Posted by Lofty Ambitions in 5 Things, Space Exploration.
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Two Skylab modules were built. The first launched in 1973, was occupied as a science laboratory for 171 of its 2,249 days in orbit, and re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in 1979. Read more about Skylab HERE and HERE.

The second, Skylab B, is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, where visitors can walk through its living and working quarters. Here’s the view (times 5):

Skylab1

 

Skylab2

 

Skylab3

 

Skylab4

Imagine a shower in zero gravity!

Imagine a shower in zero gravity!

Endeavour Mission 26: ET Comes Home! March 3, 2016

Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Space Exploration.
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Endeavour did not merely move in a straight line down streets. The orbiter had to zig and zag to avoid poles and trees.

Endeavour did not merely move in a straight line down streets. The orbiter had to zig and zag to avoid poles and trees.

PRESS RELEASE:

California Science Center Foundation Announces
Route for External Tank’s Journey 

Los Angeles – Today the California Science Center Foundation announced the route for “Mission 26: ET Comes Home,” the journey of the external tank (ET-94). It will travel from the Michoud Assembly Facility through the Panama Canal by barge to Los Angeles, then on through city streets, pulled by a truck on dollies, to its final destination near the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Pavilion. The entire journey will take six to eight weeks. ET-94 is expected to arrive around May 21, 2016.

Larger and longer than Endeavour, the ET was the Orbiter’s massive “gas tank” and contained the propellants used by the Space Shuttle Main Engines (though ET-94 is empty). The tank, the only major, non-reusable part of the space shuttle, is neither as wide as Endeavour (32 feet versus 78 feet) nor as high (35 feet versus 56 feet). Because of this, fewer utilities will be impacted and no trees will be removed along ET’s route from the coast to Exposition Park, though some light trimming may be necessary. The path it will take through the streets was planned with input from city officials, utilities and community groups.

The route is as follows –
Marina Del Rey parking lot to Fiji Way
Fiji Way to Lincoln (PCH)
Lincoln to Mindanao Way
Mindanao Way to CA-90
CA-90 to Culver Blvd
Culver Blvd. to Lincoln via transition ramp
Lincoln to Loyola Blvd
?Loyola Blvd. to Westchester Pkwy
Westchester Parkway turns into Arbor Vitae St. at Airport Blvd; Arbor Vitae St. to La Brea Ave
La Brea Ave. to Manchester Blvd
Manchester Blvd. to Vermont Ave
Vermont Ave. to Martin Luther King Blvd.?
Martin Luther King Blvd. to Exposition Park.

The journey through the streets to the Science Center is expected to take 13-18 hours.

“With the transfer of ET-94 from NASA, we will have the ability to preserve and display an entire stack of flight hardware, making the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center an even more compelling educational experience. With the same outpouring of community support we saw with the arrival of Endeavour, we look forward to celebrating this gift from NASA as it journeys from the coast through city streets to the California Science Center,” notes California Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph.

“We are honored that NASA has entrusted the California Science Center and the City of Los Angeles with this incredible piece of history,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “As the world’s last surviving flight-qualified space shuttle external tank journeys from the coast to its final home, it will inspire a new generation of Angelenos — who can dream the kind of dreams that make it possible for us to continue leading the world in innovation.”

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts notes that “Inglewood is pleased to share another historic moment with the California Science Center in the transport of ET-94.  Nearly 1.5 million people came out to cheer Endeavour years ago bringing joy to everyone, young and old.  The event celebrated our sense of wonderment and community pride. Inglewood once again welcomes the ET to its home at the Science Center”

Mrs. Lynda Oschin, Chairperson and Secretary of the Mr. and Mrs. Oschin Family Foundation, adds “I’m so excited about this new addition to the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center and look forward to joining the enthusiastic crowds as it makes it’s way to the California Science Center.”

The donation of this never-used artifact from NASA is significant, and allows the Science Center to fulfill its vision of building a full stack for Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final display in the launch position in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. This will mark the only time an ET has traveled through urban streets and will evoke memories of when Endeavour traveled 12-miles from the Los Angeles International Airport to the Science Center and was cheered on by a crowd of 1.5 million in 2012.

Ways the Public Can Support Mission 26: ET Comes Home
To follow ET-94’s journey from the Michoud Assembly Facility to the California Science Center, use the hashtag #ETComesHome.
Volunteer opportunities to help move ET-94 to the California Science Center will be available. Contact the California Science Center volunteer office at (213) 744-2124 or at VolunteerDept@cscmail.org for more information.

The California Science Center Foundation welcomes the public’s support of the EndeavourLA Campaign to create the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. Opportunities include sponsoring one of Endeavour’s thermal tiles with a gift of $1,000 and monthly payment options are available. For more information or to make a donation online, please visit EndeavourLA.org. ET-94 will also be the star attraction at the Science Center’s 18th Annual Discovery Ball on Friday, May 20, 2016 in Marina del Rey. Tables for our first-ever, off-site gala start at $10,000 (Ten people) or $2,500 for a pair of tickets. Contact galainfo@cscmail.org for reservations.

About the California Science Center
California Science Center is located at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles.  Open daily from 10am to 5 pm, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Admission to the exhibits is free. Timed tickets are required for the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibition and may be obtained online for $2. IMAX Theater tickets range from $5.00 to $8.25.  Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible.  Visitors can enter the parking lot at 39th/Exposition Park Drive and Figueroa Street.  Parking is $12/car.  For general information, phone (323) SCIENCE or visitwww.californiasciencecenter.org.

5 Artifacts of Apollo at NASM March 2, 2016

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Anna was recently in Washington, DC, for a conference related to her role as the Director of the Office Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity at Chapman University. Once that work was finished, she headed directly to the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) on the National Mall. We can’t go there too many times!

5 Artifacts of Apollo at NASM:

 

Lunar Module 2 was built for testing in low-Earth orbit but never flew and, instead, was used to measure potential impact of a Moon landing. LM-2 is now at the center of NASM's renovation of the spacious entry hall.

Lunar Module 2 was built for testing in low-Earth orbit but never flew and, instead, was used to measure potential impact of a Moon landing. LM-2 is now at the center of NASM’s renovation of the spacious entry hall.

 

Columbia, Command Module for Apollo 11

Columbia, Command Module for Apollo 11

 

Apollo 11 Sunglasses, donated by Astronaut Michael Collins

 

Who doesn't touch a Moon rock when she gets the chance?

Who doesn’t touch a Moon rock when she gets the chance?

 

"The Apollo command and service modules on display are test vehicles. The docking module that joins the two spacecraft is back-up flight hardware, and the Soyuz spacecraft is a full-scale model built by Energia Design Bureau, the organization that originally built the Soyuz." (NASM)

“The Apollo command and service modules on display are test vehicles. The docking module that joins the two spacecraft is back-up flight hardware, and the Soyuz spacecraft is a full-scale model built by Energia Design Bureau, the organization that originally built the Soyuz.” (NASM)

Countdown to The Cold War: Inside the B-24 (Photos!) June 17, 2015

Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation.
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On May 10, Anna flew in a B-24, and Doug flew in a B-17. Both aircraft are part of the Collings Foundation’s tour and stopped at Lyon Air Museum. Last week, we shared the view from inside the B-17 Nine-O-Nine during a flight along the California coast. This week, we share photos taken from inside the B-24 during flight.

B-24.1

B-24.2

B-24.3

B-24.4

B-24.5

b-24.6

B-24.8

B-24.9B-24.10B-24.11

Countdown to The Cold War: Inside the B-17 (Photos!) May 27, 2015

Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation.
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On May 10, Anna flew in a B-24, and Doug flew in a B-17. Both aircraft are part of the Collings Foundation’s tour and stopped at Lyon Air Museum. This week, we share the view from inside the B-17 Nine-O-Nine during a flight along the California coast.

B-17.1

B-17.2

B-17.3

B-17.4

B-17.5

B-17.6

B-17.7

B-17.8

B-17.9

B-17.11

Countdown to The Cold War: B-17 Flying Fortress (Videos) May 20, 2015

Posted by Lofty Ambitions in Aviation.
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On May 10, Anna flew on a B-24. Doug flew on the B-17 during its stop at the Lyon Air Museum. If you’re interested in seeing these aircraft, check the Collings Foundation SCHEDULE. If you can’t see them in person, here are videos from Doug’s B-17 ride.

Though the Collings Foundation’s B-17 was built in April 1945 and, therefore, didn’t see combat, it has been designated as Nine-O-Nine, an aircraft that flew 140 combat missions. In 1952, the aircraft that we saw at the Lyon Air Museum was part of three nuclear weapons effects tests. After it was deemed sufficiently cooled down thirteen years later, it was refurbished and was used to fight forest fires. In 1987, during an airshow, the B-17 was caught by a crosswind just after touching down and crashed, with no loss of life but significant damage to the aircraft. Once again, the plane was restored and has been touring the country.

The original Nine-O-Nine started flying missions in February 1944. The aircraft’s first bombing run was against Augsburg, Germany. In the end, it flew more than a thousand hours and dropped more than a half-million pounds of bombs. The aircraft flew back to the United States in June 1945 and was eventually scrapped with other leftover planes.

Next week, check back for some amazing photos we took of and from the B-24 and B-17!

Countdown to The Cold War: B-24 Liberator (Videos) May 13, 2015

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Last week, May 8 marked the 70th anniversary of V-E Day. In 1945, the war in Europe officially ended with the signing of the act of surrender on May 7 in France and May 8 in Germany. The war in the Pacific Theater waged on.

B-24 Takeoff

In August 1944, a Consolidated B-24 was built. By October, it had been delivered to the U.S. Air Force, which then transferred it to the Royal Air Force. The RAF flew this B-24 in the Pacific Theater until the war there ended and it, along with a slew of other aircraft, was abandoned in India. The Indian Air Force restored it in 1948, and flew these restored aircraft for twenty years. After that, it was abandoned again, until a British aircraft collector took it apart and transported it back to England in 1981, then sold it to Dr. Robert F. Collings a few years later. After more than five years of restoration work, the B-24 flew again. In 2005, it was repainted as Witchcraft, another B-24 that had flown 130 combat missions but had long ago been scrapped.

B-24 Cockpit in Flight

On Sunday, May 10, 2015, we drove over to our local aviation museum, the Lyon Air Museum. There, Anna crawled into this B-24, strapped herself down under the waist gun, and took a half-hour ride. In this post, we share the experience through videos so you can take the ride too.

B-24 Tail Gun in Flight

The flight couldn’t go on forever, but Anna could have stayed up another half-hour at least.

B-24 Approach & Landing

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