Topic: SPACE


Forwarded by Slim Russell, who added the comment: “Obviously a Naval Aviator at the controls!”

See it HERE [ ].


NASA scientists overcome thousands of problems in the successful launching of spacecraft. Many of their solutions have evolved into commercial applications used and enjoyed by millions of people.

Some of these innovations, such as powdered juice, freeze-dried solids and similar foods are now common table fare in most American homes.

However, with planning for future long-duration space flights manned by astronauts of different nationalities, a new food challenge has arisen. To find internationally acceptable foods that astronauts from any country can enjoy.

Dr. Selina Ahmed, associate professor of human nutrition at Texas Southern University, is the principle investigator for the International Food Patterns for Space Foods research project.

“Our main purpose is to enhance morale with familiar foods,” said Ahmed, a native of Bangladesh. The emphasis is on taste, aroma, nutritional value and packaging of ethnic cuisine from several countries.

Ahmed said her research also should help diet-oriented members of the astronaut health care team better understand and assist patients from other cultures during illness. The data should be useful to those who develop food plans for establishment of lunar colonies and missions to Mars.

Canadian, French, Japanese and Russian salads, soups, entrees and desserts were sampled in the initial evaluations. Foods approved by taste-testing panels will be packaged, stored and tested at three, six and nine-month intervals. Those foods passing the storage test are recommended for acceptance into the Space Nutrition Program. The SNP will assess the dishes' nutritional value.

This international cuisine may one day become the ultimate “way-out take-out” space food. Undoubtedly, the taste will be “out of this world”!


By Stacey Knott, Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

Col. Susan Helms was the first U.S. military
woman in space in 1993 and the first woman
to inhabit the International Space Station
in 2001. She is co-holder of the world record,
along with her crewmate Army Col. Jim Voss,
for the longest space walk of eight hours and
56 minutes. She is now the chief of the space control
division at Air Force Space Command.
03/28/03 – PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) – Whether they sailed across the oceans, climbed mountains, or rolled across the Great Plains, pioneers were first to explore new frontiers. Col. Susan Helms is not rambling across the prairie in a covered wagon. She is a pioneer. She is an astronaut. Her frontier is space.

Helms was the first U.S. military woman in space in 1993 and the first woman to inhabit the International Space Station in 2001. She is co-holder of the world record, along with her crewmate Army Col. Jim Voss, for the longest space walk of eight hours and 56 minutes. She is now the chief of the space control division at Air Force Space Center.

A 1980 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, she completed the test engineer course at the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in 1987. She was a distinguished graduate and recipient of the R. L. Jones Award for Outstanding Flight Test Engineer.

It was during her time at Edwards that someone first mentioned that she would be competitive for the astronaut program after graduation. Throughout the course, she met with several astronauts to talk about the U.S. space program.

The defining moment for Helms was during the test pilot school graduation, when guest speaker Col. Dick Covey, an astronaut, approached her and said, “I hope we see you in Houston some time.” He was referring to the Johnson Space Center, home of astronaut training.

“I took that as the final sign that I should probably apply for the astronaut program,” Helms said. “So [Covey] was a big motivator in getting me to fill out the application and send it in.

NASA selected Helms for the astronaut program in January 1990 and she became an astronaut in July 1991. Her first mission, on board Space Shuttle Endeavor, was in January 1993. She flew three shuttle missions in 1994, 1996, and 2000.

It was not until she became the first woman to live on the International Space Station in 2001 that she felt like a pioneer, she said. Helms and her ISS crewmates, Voss and Russian cosmonaut Yury Usachev, were the first mixed-gender crew to live together for six months

During the ISS mission, Helms' entire life was up in space. She did not have an Earth address anymore, as she had packed up and stored all of her possessions. “I was very disconnected from Earth,” she said. “When we had to go fly for six months, I effectively just closed down my Earth life. I acted like it was a military deployment. I lived in space. It was my home.”

Her life in space did not exempt her from home improvement chores or having guests drop by to visit. Helms and Voss performed their world-record space walk while installing hardware on the laboratory module of the space station. Her crew welcomed a visiting Russian space crew that included the first space tourist.

After nearly six months aboard the ISS, it was time to return to Earth. As a veteran of five space flights totaling 211 days in space, Helms realized it was time to step aside and give others the opportunity to fly in space. The ISS mission was to be her last space flight.

With 22 years of military service, Helms could have retired after her astronaut career, as most military astronauts do. Instead, she chose to return to the active duty Air Force. “The Air Force has always been so supportive of the things I wanted to do, and I guess I felt the time had come to help with the military space program in other ways,” she said.

She will always feel deep ties to her NASA family, she said. Those ties become evident when she talks about the Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

“It's a devastating event for the entire NASA family,” Helms said. “The focus is on the astronauts, but the truth of the matter is that there are thousands of others who are equally devastated. The ground crew that works with the Columbia vehicle — I can't even imagine how they feel. The people in mission control who work the missions hour by hour, looking at the data, wondering if they missed something. The folks who trained the crew; they worked with them for three years. They were like family. The whole extended NASA family is just devastated.

Helms agrees with President Bush and NASA that the space program must continue, adding, “This loss won't change the way human beings are wired, so I'm sure that the human race's desire for exploration will be all it will take to get the program moving forward again.

Courtesy of AFSPC News Service


Forwarded by P-38bob

This series of aviation goofs proves once again why there are so few old, bold pilots. It also includes some pretty fancy flying, although those are far outnumbered by the Dilberts!

It also offers some good general aviation photos, etc.

Click here and ENJOY! [ ]


For some great photos taken at the October 2004 Miramar Air show, click on []

Any of these selections may be ordered for your own personal file.

Forwarded to KA by Paul Edwards,


By Eugene F. Kranz, New York Times, 3 Aug 05
Forwarded by Wm Thompson

(Be sure to see “A READER'S RESPONSE” at the end of this article. Jug)

Houston - To read and listen to the coverage about the space shuttle, you would think NASA's mission team has taken careless risks with the lives of the seven astronauts who went into space on the Discovery last Tuesday. During the launching, foam fell off the external tank.

For the risk-averse, the only acceptable thing to do now is retire the shuttle program immediately and wait for the divine arrival of the next generation of spacecraft. I am disgusted at the lack of courage and common sense this attitude shows.

All progress involves risk. Risk is essential to fuel the economic engine of our nation. And risk is essential to renew American's fundamental spirit of discovery so we remain competitive with the rest of the world.

My take on the current mission is very straightforward. The shuttle is in orbit. To a great extent mission managers have given the spacecraft a clean bill of health. Let us remember that this is a test flight. I consider it a remarkably successful test so far.

The technical response to the Columbia accident led to a significant reduction in the amount of debris striking this shuttle during launching. Mission managers have said that the external tank shed 80 percent less foam this time than on previous launchings. Only in the news media, apparently, is an 80 percent improvement considered a failure. Rather than quit, we must now try to reduce even more the amount of foam that comes off the tank.

The instruments and video equipment developed to assess the launching and monitor debris falling from the tank worked superbly. For the first time, the mission team knows what is happening, when it is happening and the flight conditions under which it occurred. This was a major mission objective, and it is an impressive achievement.

Having spent more than three decades working in the space program, I know that all of the flights of the early days involved some levels of risk. Some of those risks, in hindsight, seem incomprehensible by today's timid standards. If we had quit when we had our first difficulties in Project Mercury, we would have never put John Glenn on the Atlas rocket Friendship 7 in 1961. Two of the previous five Atlas rockets test-fired before Friendship 7 had exploded on liftoff.

On Gemini 9, 10 and 11, all in 1966, we had complications with planned space walks that placed the astronauts at risk. Rather than cancel the walks, we faced the risks and solved the problems. These set the stage for Gemini 12 later that year, during which Buzz Aldrin spent more than five hours outside the capsule and confirmed to NASA that space walks could be considered an operational capability.

Eventually, this ability enabled astronauts to retrieve satellites and repair and maintain the Hubble space telescope; and during the current mission, space walks were used to repair a gyroscope on the International Space Station and will allow the crew to fix some of the damage that occurred during the launching. These are the rewards for the risks we took on those early Gemini flights.

I understand the tragedy inherent in risk-taking; I witnessed the fire aboard Apollo 1 in 1967 that killed three crew members. It filled us with anger at ourselves and with the resolve to make it right. After the fire we didn't quit; we redesigned the Apollo command module. During the Apollo missions that followed, we were never perfect. But we were determined and competent and that made these missions successful.

I see the same combination of anger, resolve and determination in the space shuttle program today. These people are professionals who understand risk, how to reduce it and how to make that which remains acceptable. Most important, the current mission has demonstrated the maturity of the shuttle team that endured the Columbia disaster and had the guts to persevere. This is the most important aspect of the recovery from the Columbia accident, and is a credit to the great team NASA now has in place, headed by its administrator, Michael Griffin.

There are many nations that wish to surpass us in space. Does the “quit now” crowd really believe that abandoning the shuttle and International Space Station is the way to keep America the pre-eminent space-faring nation? Do they really believe that a new spacecraft will come without an engineering challenge or a human toll? The path the naysayers suggest is so out of touch with the American character of perseverance, hard work and discovery that they don't even realize the danger in which they are putting future astronauts - not to mention our nation.


100 thousand years ago one of our ancestors looked into the night sky and wondered what was out there.

Naked eye became telescope became rocket ship became space lab and from there we went on - or we quit.

Though it is possible to deny our heritage - to not peak around corners and not open closed doors. We could just stop and that would be our loss, but not just ours alone.

A certainty: 100 years from now one of our descendants will look into the night sky and wonder why we ever quit.

They steer beyond the evening stars
and challenge their own dreams,
To overcome the things that are
beyond the things that seem,
And do not care if death should be
the price of curiosity.

Take your own choice
( I don't advise )
On what for you is Paradise.

Eugene F. Kranz, author of Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond, is a former Apollo flight director.


Forwarded by Bill Thompson

This is a simple, effective and entertaining look at our galaxy… for adults as well as kids.

Turn up you volume and click here. [ ]


In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, Google has added some NASA imagery to its Google Maps interface to help you pay your own visit to our celestial neighbor.

Also there is a link to find places on Plant Earth that may be equally intriguing to you. .

You can zoom the photo/map in or out to get more or less surface




Click here [] for some amazing USA TODAY sequential graphics of the recent space shuttle disaster.


Most of us believe in eternal life in some form after our mortal demise but, of course, we have different ideas about what that may be like. Perhaps in spiritual form we might experience some sort of galactic travel. If so, here is a preview of what sights may unfold… or not… who knows? It is interesting to contemplate, don't you think?.

My friend and former Navy shipmate JacMac sent this link along with the note, “This is an incredible experience, thanks to the Hubbell telescope and it's enabling of an eyewitness view of space's infinite vastness.” []

After loading, give it the maximum screen possible and go to the bottom of the page to see all of the captions. It moves rather quickly from one scene to another but you can control it by placing your arrow on the moving scale at the bottom of the page, click and hold to read some of dramatic the longer descriptions, then release - or repeat it as many times as you like. In any case, it is a magnificent presentation with music that lends a dramatic touch to the scenes


Cocoa Beach, FL - Walt Disney World, EPCOT, and other attractions in the Orlando area dominate the tourist scene so much that vacationers often miss seeing a wonderful, scientific slice of America just 45 miles to the east.

Not only does the Kennedy Space Center provide a wide variety of “see, hear and touch” exhibits about America's space program's past, present and future, it does so at reasonable prices and in a first-class manner. The Visitors Center is historic, its fun, its educational, and its something the entire family can enjoy and appreciate. The space program is unbelievable to some, as I found out.

While leaving the static display of the Space Shuttle Explorer and walking toward the exit, a visitor who appeared to be in his thirties. surprised me with this question:

“Do you believe any of this actually happened?”

“Of course it happened,” I responded, somewhat taken aback.

He countered, “What makes you think it did?”

I considered his odd statement for a moment and said, “Well, for one thing, you can see them being launched into space right here. Where do you think they go? For another, I know Alan Shepard personally, as well as other military people who have been involved in space flight, and I know it is real and that all this actually happened and will continue to happen. You seem like a very intelligent young man. Why would you question it?”

“Because I think it is all a big government hoax,” he answered in all seriousness. “Hollywood can make us believe anything, and apparently NASA can, too. It's all a fraud by the government and big business for the rich to get richer. Only God can be in space, not man.”

I told him I believed that God guided these astronauts and scientists in their endeavors, “but you are in a vast minority if you think this is all a hoax or myth.”

“What proof do you have that it isn't?” he persisted.

“I am a former naval aviator who has flown aircraft and navigated by the stars and radio frequencies across vast sea expanse,” I answered, adding, “I know about space phenomena and I know that space travel is both possible and actual.

I continued, “I'm sorry if you can't appreciate America's great consuming effort of the past 40 years. Surely the wonders of our space technology alone, which have resulted in so many electronic conveniences that you yourself use and see everyday, should be enough to convince you about the reality of all this. Yes, I say it all happened and will continue to happen even faster and greater than ever before, my friend.”

He merely smiled, as if indulging my stupidity, and walked away.

Perhaps nothing I could have said would have convinced him otherwise, but it made me aware that there must be others who think like he does. Certainly there is plenty of distrust in big government these days and a lot of fantasy in the movies and on TV. Maybe the rapid progress in space technology is simply too much for some people to comprehend.

This past July was a good time to be at the Visitors Center, with so much activity going on in space — critical problems with the joint U.S.-Russia effort on Space Station Mir, Shuttle Columbia's burn tests, and the media-hogging events of the Mars Pathfinder's space landing, with its remote cameras sending back images of the space rover Sojourner.

A replica of Sojourner, in a Mars-like setting, is available for visitors' hands-on operation by remote control. It is mind-boggling, I'll agree.

An Austin, Texas friend, Dr. David Carr, is Chairman of the Texas Space Commission. He comes here frequently for space launches, when possible, and has asked me along on several occasions. None of these opportunities came at a convenient time for me, so I made a point to stop and see it enroute to Key West.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stay long enough for the Shuttle Recovery scheduled the following week, nor come back for the August launch. However, by taking the bus tour out to see the launch pads, and enjoying two of three I-MAX presentations being featured, I lived the thrill vicariously. At some future date, I will meet David here for the real thing.

A special memorial features a huge slab automatically adjusted to reflect the sky and highlight the engraved names of astronauts lost in the name of space exploration. It is called the Space Mirror.

The newest eye-popping exhibit is the gigantic Apollo/Saturn V Center that displays the largest and most powerful rocket ever built. It took our astronauts to the moon. Its size is breath-taking - 363 feet long, weighing 6.2 million pounds - as evidenced by the gasps of surprise when visitors first enter the room to glimpse this huge rocket assembly displayed on heavy metal stanchions in the enormous building that houses it.

Rockets have a long history here, dating back to the military launches of the 1950s. The government chose this site because of its proximity to the ocean for over-water launches, a climate conducive to year-round operation and the availability of sparsely populated land. NASA was established in 1958 and three years later launched Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American, into space.

As the Mercury and Gemini programs were undertaken in the 1960s from Cape Canaveral, a launch complex designed specifically for the Apollo Saturn V missions took shape nearby and Kennedy Space Center was born.

It was here that Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins began their historic 1989 moon landing.

Following the Apollo program, the Saturn V facilities were modified to handle a new type launch system called the Space Shuttle - with reusable booster rockets and an orbiter that could return from space, glide to a runway touchdown and be refitted to fly again. Since that first mission in 1981, almost 80 such launches have begun from Kennedy Space Center's pads.

Soon the international space station will be launched from here, while newer more efficient launch systems are being developed to take the Kennedy Space Center into the next millennium.


A friend forwarded a story that has been circulating on the Web for some time now about what a spectacular site we will behold on August 27, when Mars comes nearest to Earth.

I remember something similar not long ago that was to have been a solar extravaganza, but turned out to be not quite as advertised. Maybe this time it will be different.

Check it out HERE. [ ]


With the passing of Earth Day's 20th anniversary April 22nd, millions of Americans became more environmentally aware. Some have learned for the first time just how fragile this planet is and why each of us must help repair the human damage.

The Earth, with its interactions among the atmosphere, the oceans, and life, is the most complicated planet in the solar system. That is why NASA has studied the Earth from space almost from the beginning of the space program.

NASA scientists have observed and measured Earth's atmosphere, resources, oceans, land surface, climate and weather. Together with the living organisms, these elements make up the whole Earth system.

Continuing this study, NASA is launching and operating a variety of satellites for the task of “remote sensing.” These include the Nimbus-7 (environmental), ERBS (Earth radiation) and SEASAT (ocean).

Recently, NASA headed a team of scientists from several nations to study the loss of ozone above the polar regions.

This year, the U.S. begins a global-scale examination of the planet. The goal is a better scientific understanding of Earth as a system and how to protect it.


Want to see how the world looks at night to our astronauts in space?

Click here to go to the NASA Web page. []

Be sure to bookmark the page and check it daily to see a new photo.


Forwarded by Slim Russell

(For those that don't know, the Sled is the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane from the 1960's and still the fastest airplane.)

In his book, Sled Driver, SR-71 Blackbird pilot Brian Shul writes: “I'll always remember a certain radio exchange that occurred one day as Walt (my back-seater) and I were screaming across Southern California 13 miles high.

“We were monitoring various radio transmissions from other aircraft as we entered Los Angeles airspace. Though they didn't really control us, they did monitor our movement across their scope.

“I heard a Cessna ask for a readout of its ground speed. '90 knots,' Center replied.

“Moments later, a Twin Beech required the same. '120 knots,' Center answered.

“We weren't the only ones proud of our ground speed that day as almost instantly an F-18 smugly transmitted, 'Ah, Center, Dusty 52 requests ground speed readout.' There was a slight pause, then the response, '525 knots on the ground, Dusty.'

“Another silent pause.

“As I was thinking to myself how ripe a situation this was, I heard a familiar click of a radio transmission coming from my back-seater. It was at that precise moment I realized Walt and I had become a real crew, for we were both thinking in unison. 'Center, Aspen 20, you got a ground speed readout for us?'

“There was a longer than normal pause, then… 'Aspen, I show 1,742 knots.'

“(That's about 2004.658 mph for those who don't know.)

“No further speed inquiries were heard on that frequency.”


By Sue Walden, 45th Space Wing PA

Patrick AFB FL, Jan 30, 2004 (AFPN) - The 45th Space Wing can now put two more historical milestones under its belt: the successful landings of the twin Mars exploration rovers on the red planet.

Opportunity touched down on its target, Meridiani Planum, shortly after midnight Jan. 25, joining its twin, Spirit, which landed on the other side of Mars at Gusev crater on Jan. 4. The wing's 1st Space Launch Squadron launched the rovers June 10 and July 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

“Talk about job satisfaction,” said Lt. Col. Brad Broemmel, 1st SLS commander. “I'm swept at once by a sense of both tremendous pride and humility. Humility in realizing we represent just a small part of the Mars exploration team, but pride in knowing the whole world is watching the results of our work.” []

The Mars mission examines geological evidence of past water activity and prior environmental conditions hospitable to life. So far, both rovers have awed scientists and the world with crisp photos of the planet, officials said. Despite a delay in Spirit's roll off its lander because of software glitches and an airbag blocking its way, the rover's soil and rock analyses have already surprised NASA scientists. The soil sample results revealed a mineral called olivine, yielding a much stronger, more cohesive structure to the soil, officials said. Scientists theorized the soil would be dust-like and collapse with little weight. The presence of olivine and the lack of weathering might be evidence that the soil particles are finely ground volcanic material, officials said.

Spirit also drove to a rock called “Adirondack” for an examination of its make-up. The flat-surfaced rock is theorized to be a volcanic rock and is undergoing testing. Opportunity's landing site is rich with deposits of a mineral called stystalline hematite, which usually forms in the presence of water, officials said. Officials said both landing areas give NASA scientists high hopes that they will learn a planet-full about Mars' environmental and perhaps answer the ultimate question: Was there life on Mars?

The 1st SLS has been associated with space launches such as Mars Odyssey, Genesis and Deep Space-1. Colonel Broemmel said the keys to his squadron's success are teamwork and mission focus.

“Teamwork means synchronizing actions from coast to coast — from the drawing board to the launch pad; from the factory floor to orbit,” he said. “Along the way, rigorous processes and procedural discipline require everyone to focus on each tail number, each spacecraft, each mission, to ensure (global positioning system) satellites, Mars Rovers and everything in between reach their destination “

“It is that teamwork and mission focus that has the world looking at and learning from the twin rovers. The results are a testament to the dedication and professionalism of everyone at Patrick and the Cape Kennedy Space Center, the 45th Space Wing and our mission partners deserve to take pride in these historic accomplishments,” Colonel Broemmel added.

For more information about the Mars mission, including the latest photos from the rovers, visit []


NASA Names MacDill Alternative Space Shuttle Landing Site
By SSgt Randy Redman, 8th Mobile Wing PA

MacDill AFB FL, Feb 26 2004 (AFPN) - National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials have named this base an alternate landing site for space shuttle missions. Alternate sites are typically selected based on weather conditions or the power level of the shuttle during reentry.

“Software updates to the shuttles' landing programs make it possible to land at more locations than previously available,” said Marty Linde, director of landing support at Johnson Space Center in Houston. “One of the key reasons for MacDill being chosen was its location We went with what made the most sense geographically.”

As the processing and launch site of the space shuttle, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL is the preferred end-of-mission landing site for the shuttle orbiter. Since MacDill is only 138 miles away from Kennedy, it is roughly 2,500 miles closer than Edwards AFB CA, the main alternate site used in the past.

Landing the orbiter ay MacDill instead of in California saves processing time for its next mission and the expense of returning it to NASA. A local landing also reduces the time the shuttle would be exposed to the uncertainties and potential dangers of a ferry trip atop one of NASA's two modified Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft.

“There aren't too many agencies on base that wouldn't be affected if the shuttle should land there,” said Mr. Linde. From air traffic control to fire, crash and rescue, as well as security forces and medical personnel, there are hundreds of people on base who would be involved. That is along with the team of more than 500 Department of Defense, NASA and contracted civilians from various agencies throughout the country.

MacDill workers will undergo extensive training in late April to support a shuttle landing. Training will be spearheaded by the DOD's manned space flight support office at Patrick AFB, FL.

Maj. Russell Wood, deputy chief of the training division here, said the initial turn around brief includes three days of training covering multiple aspects of shuttle operations. “It's basically Space Shuttle 101. The majority of the training is for on-scene commanders, but will also include the full gambit of those who would be involved in an emergency landing.”

All training aspects will be covered in-depth long before the shuttle is scheduled to launch again in March 2005, and the base could have as little as 30-minutes notice before such shuttle landing, said Wood. “The probability for landing at an alternate site is low, but it sure is nice to know the support is there.”

Originally set for installation before the accident last year, the new software expands the possible landing sites from 25 to 45.


As experts try to solve the trash menace on Earth, engineers at the Johnson Space Center are doing the same in the space shuttle compartments.

The problem: Trash created by the astronauts during extended space flights in 1992 and beyond. Each crew member produces one-half cubic foot of trash each day. Seven astronauts in space for 16 days would result in a minimum of 56 cubic feet of debris.

The answer: NASA has ground-tested a 48-pound compactor that is ready for space trials in May 1990. Compacting will reduce trash bulk for easier storage within the spacecraft's stowage compartments.

Ground test materials included food, water, flight trash, metal and plastic food containers and teleprinter pages. During the orbital space test, crew members will try several types of bags and lids.

A side benefit of the manually operated unit is physical exercise for the crew.


Forwarded by Brenda Cormick.

This is not military… but something I thought your readers might enjoy. I especially liked the words from the Apollo astronauts about halfway through: CLICK HERE FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL! [ ]


Forwarded by Susan Pearce-Rewoldt

A beautiful presentation of Man in Space.

Turn up the volume and click here [ ].


Would you like to take a 12-minute trip to outer space?

Click here. []