Tuesday, May 24, 2011

JFK Reached for the Moon, May 25, 1961

Fifty years ago, on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy addressed the US Congress on a number of urgent issues relating to the Cold War and the nation's economy. It was the final section on space, however, that put the speech in the history books with the famous call for a human landing on the Moon by the end of the decade.

The world is different fifty years later and there is spirited discussion among space advocates on how to further human expansion into space at this time. Clark Lindsey provides a round-up of commentary links.

I was a five year old at the time, too young to pay close attention to presidential speeches, but this one helped shape the exciting age I grew up in that inspired a passion and a career for me.

ISS & Endeavour Continue Mission

While I was away at the ISDC in Huntsville, AL for a dew days, things were busy on the International Space Station (ISS). On Thursday, the primary cargo delivered by Shuttle Endeavour, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS, was installed on the ISS.

Saturday brought a special blessing to the Shuttle and ISS crews with a call from Pope Benedict XVI, who had a thoughtful discussion with the astronauts on the implications of space exploration.

Monday, May 16, 2011

For Endeavour: One More Time

After a two and a half week delay, Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off on its final mission today, which is to deliver a major science payload and other supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

MARS is Closer to Home than You Realize

I took advantage of an exciting opportunity to join an AIAA tour on Friday of the NASA Wallops Island, VA facility, just south of Chincoteague. The facility includes the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), which launches small satellites into orbit and will soon be helping to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) with the Orbital Sciences Corporation's Taurus II rocket. MARS gives the Mid-Atlantic region its own "space coast". (Florida can't keep all of the fun to itself!)

Pad 0-A will see launches of the Taurus II rocket starting this fall. The water tower is over 300 ft. tall and stores water to be sprayed on the pad at launch to protect it from damage.

With the Atlantic Ocean in the background, the launch pad's base is surrounded by four tall lightning protection towers and four mounts that will spray water on the pad at launch to protect it from flame and vibration.

Pad 0-B will see its next launch this summer of a Minotaur rocket carrying a military satellite to orbit.

Taurus II boosters being prepared in the new Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF).

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fifty Years: Americans in Space

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of America's first man in space. Alan Shepard flew for fifteen minutes in his Mercury capsule for the suborbital flight. Summary of media links at HobbySpace.

I was a five-year-old at the time and I remember watching the launch with my mom. It was part of the exciting age I grew up in that inspired a passion and a career for me.

Catholic Bloggers Meet in Rome

A conference of Catholic bloggers was held this week at the Vatican where the role of bloggers in the Church was the theme of the discussion.
The Catholic Church needs active members who blog, but Catholic bloggers also need the church, especially to remind them of the virtue of charity needed in their writing, said participants at a Vatican meeting.

The meeting May 2 was sponsored by the pontifical councils for culture and for social communications.

Later, the bloggers retired to a more informal session at the Scholars Lounge, an Irish Pub in the heart of Rome.

Monday, May 02, 2011

History on a Sunday

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass

It was quite a Sunday, a day that began with the elevation of a saintly man and ended with the violent death of a man who lived by violence.

Credit for the efforts that culminated in yesterday's operation in Pakistan goes to two presidents and all those up and down the line of authority, but especially to our brave military forces, including those Navy SEALs who carried out the operation yesterday. As has been pointed out by several people, we need to remain vigilant as "the fight is not over".

We should always remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks and those who have died fighting these terrorist atrocities. This stirring multi-media Internet presentation was developed by a New Yorker shortly after the 9/11 attacks, recapturing all of those experiences. The sequence is ~15 minutes long and some of the images and sounds are quite disturbing, others are inspirational. You can use the browser View/Zoom function and adjust the scroll bar to enlarge the slide show if needed.