Interview: Eileen Collins

Fifteen years ago, on July 23, 1999, Eileen Collins became the first female commander of a U.S. spacecraft. STS-93 launched the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Collins and her crew returned to Earth on July 29. This week, we celebrate that accomplishment. Also this week, Lofty Ambitions celebrates Collins’s command on STS-114, which launched on July 26, 2005, and landed that August 9. Collins was circling the … Continue reading Interview: Eileen Collins

The End of the End (Part 7)

This week, our “Celebrate the Journey” DVDs arrived from Kennedy Space Center. We are such space nerds that we requested NASA’s video documentation of the journey of the orbiter Atlantis from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the Visitor Complex. As of this week, Atlantis is enshrouded in thick, white plastic to protect it as construction workers finish the building around the orbiter. We wrote about … Continue reading The End of the End (Part 7)

Interview: Norm Thagard

While we were in Florida for the last journey of space shuttle Atlantis, we met up with some astronauts. This experience reminded us of our happenstance interviews of two years earlier, which you can find at “A Year of Lofty Interviews.” Two weeks ago, we posted our follow-up interview with Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke. Today, we share our conversation with shuttle astronaut Norm Thagard. Thagard flew … Continue reading Interview: Norm Thagard

The End of the End (Part 5: VIDEO INTERVIEW)

On Saturday, we met several astronauts, some of whom agreed to talk with us on camera. We have a yearlong series of video interviews about the U.S. space program that ran ever other Monday from May 23, 2011 through May 7, 2012. We’re excited to build our list of interviews further with Dr. Ken Phillips, a curator at the California Science Center, posted on October … Continue reading The End of the End (Part 5: VIDEO INTERVIEW)

The End of the End (Part 4)

This post is Part 4 in our ongoing series about the last journey of space shuttle Atlantis. See also Part 1, Part 2: VIDEO, and Part 3: PHOTOS. Just because the space shuttle program has been winding down toward the end of its end doesn’t mean that our work has become easier. In fact, this past week’s cross-country trip to the Space Coast proved to be one … Continue reading The End of the End (Part 4)

The End of the End (Part 3: PHOTOS)

We are off to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex before we head home. To see a set of photos from yesterday’s long, fascinating day, go to “Atlantis Retirement, 2012” at our Flicker Photostream. We include just one sample photo here as a teaser. Of course, we’ll have more to say about this end to the end of the space shuttle program in the days to … Continue reading The End of the End (Part 3: PHOTOS)

The End of the End (Part 1)

Yesterday, we flew from California to Florida. Two years ago, we began our adventure in earnest, and we’ve followed the end of the space shuttle since then. Two years ago on November 1, Discovery faced a launch delay. Today, we woke and went to Denny’s for pancakes and eggs, trying our best to get our heads adjusted to the three-hour time difference and face the … Continue reading The End of the End (Part 1)