Saturday, July 30, 2011

NASA's Latest Mission To Jupiter: The Juno Spacecraft (And Also...A Tweetup!)

Juno is a solar-powered space probe, unlike its Pioneer and Voyager ancestors which were powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). Scaled image provided by NASA.

Artist's depiction of the Juno spacecraft as it approaches Jupiter. NASA image.

On August 5th, NASA will launch the Juno spacecraft using an Atlas V launch vehicle. This spacecraft will take a five-year trek to Jupiter. Why Jupiter? As it turns out, Jupiter may shed some light onto Earth's origins. 

According to NASA, here are Juno's mission objectives (as set forth on NASA's Web site):

"Specifically, Juno will...
  • Determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which helps determine which planet formation theory is correct (or if new theories are needed)
  • Look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties
  • Map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet’s deep structure
  • Explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles, especially the auroras – Jupiter’s northern and southern lights – providing new insights about how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere."
Juno should make it to Jupiter by July 2016. The spacecraft is scheduled to make 33 orbits around Jupiter's poles; then, it will crash into Jupiter.

I am very fortunate to have been invited to the Mission Juno Tweetup at KSC next week; many, many thanks to NASA for making a nerd girl's dreams come true. To say I'm excited is an understatement! For updates about the Tweetup, check out the Tweetup account on Twitter. Also, Juno has its own Twitter account providing updates. I will be providing my own updates and commentary during the Tweetup activities when I am there next week. Did I mention that the entire event culminates in seeing Juno launched? Did I mention I am excited...? What?

Also, if you have an Android phone, you can follow all of the space-y goodness on NASA's new app. It's free through the Android market, and it's a thing of beauty. You can even watch NASA TV via this app. These smartphones, what can I say...they're crazy these days. 

Photos provided by It's Full of Stars on Tumblr. Thank you!

This Space Available Presents...Astronaut Muppet Babies

BB Young: Chaaaarlie, git off that Jeep. Do you wanna hitch a ride on mah bike? Buzz, you are NOT allowed.

BB Edgar Mitchell gives it some gangsta horse.
BB Duke: Woooooooo! One day, I'll remember this while I'm joyriding...on the Moon! Woot!
BB Aldrin: But...John and Chuck, I should be the one riding the bike. I have a doctorate in Theoretical Bike Riding from MIT. I'm gonna tell... (cries)
BB Alan Bean, still adorable even during the awkward pre-teen years.
These pictures are screencaps from the film The Wonder of It All. Thanks to Complex 34 on Tumblr for originally posting these!

Friday, July 29, 2011

ESCANDALO in Space, Part V: When Bumping Uglies On Moon Rocks Was A Thing

Here's a cute picture of Apollo 12, because you're going to need a palate cleanser after reading this blog post. I apologize in advance. 1969 NASA photo.

I don't even know where to start with this story, so I'll just tell it bluntly. In 2002, a 25-year-old astrophysicist named Thad Roberts was interning at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Apparently he was in love with some chick, and promised her the Moon. No, really, he promised her actual pieces of the Moon from the Moon's surface. Love is a funny thing!...

Moving on...Roberts ended up stealing 17 pounds of moon rocks from NASA. I have no idea how or why he really did this. I mean, I've been in love too, and if my wonderful husband told me to go steal the space shuttle Enterprise to "prove my love" to him, I'd probably tell him to go kiss my ass. But anyways, this guy went through with his promise. For being an allegedly smart dude (I mean, the guy is an astrophysicist - that must mean something), Roberts then proceeded to do something really dumb. He decided to sell the stolen moon rocks on the Internet, the World's Biggest Online Public Playground. Yeah...big oops. 

Logic would dictate to most people that possessing moon rocks is probably more illegal than smoking crack cocaine in public. (In all seriousness, we at This Space Available do not endorse stealing any items from government facilities.) However, Roberts wasn't most people, and he decided this whole scenario was a badass idea! The government (SHOCKER) did NOT agree with Roberts' opinion. Roberts was caught, and he was understandably sentenced to 100 months in prison for stealing federal property and attempting to sell said property.

While he was incarcerated, Roberts wrote a 700 page thesis called the Quantum Space Theory, which is probably more verbose and incomprehensible than anything ever cooked up by Lady Gaga. But what Roberts really wants us to know is that he made it rain on dat ass...on moon rocks. That's right. Roberts apparently, for lack of a better description, had sex with his girlfriend on a bed full of stolen moon rocks. This incident reminds me of why social networking, while being a fantastic thing, also allows people to give away wayyyyyyy too much information about their personal lives at times. 

To read more about Thad Roberts and his crimes of the heart, check out this link and that link.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Awkward Crew Portraits: Gemini 6, 1965

1965 NASA photo. From left, Thomas P. "TP" Stafford and Wally Schirra, prime crew of Gemini 6. Photo located on the great archival Web site Spacefacts.

Gemini 6's mission objectives involved pioneering rendezvous in space (with the original long-duration spaceflight hostages champs, Gemini 7). Evidently, Gemini 6 also pioneered the use of the Best Ever Muslin Photography Background In Manned Spaceflight History, with the dizzying-solar system-y thing depicted behind TP and Wally. The two astronauts look less like seasoned space rendezvous experts, and more like two disgruntled public television kids' show hosts. 

Seriously, this shot looks like the incidental publicity photograph for a proposed television show "for the kids!" NASA cooked up in the 1960s with some leftover change they found under John Glenn's abandoned old bunk bed. The show probably lasted two episodes on public television, and from the start was plagued by incidents involving wildly inappropriate U.S. Navy "sea stories" from Schirra and lots of cuss words from both astronauts. 

...Then the proverbial final nail in the venture arrived with its "special guest stars!," the Gemini 6 backup crew. Their backup crew just happened to be...Gus Grissom and John Young, who caused a minor case of on-the-ground heart attacks when they somehow managed to bust out sandwiches in space. After a U.S. Navy "reminiscence" extravaganza between Schirra and Young, NASA then probably decided the show should be permanently banned, and the tapes were destroyed. The name of Gemini 6's show? "The F**king Solar System." TP and Wally never got around to discussing anything vaguely scientific on the show, though. From 1965 onward, if anyone mentioned the TV show at any NASA function, at all, they would automatically get fired. 

And that, my friends, is what this mission portrait looks like. TP and Wally are wearing those pressure suits for your protection.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

STS-1 Clone High: The Best Of NASA Conspiracy Theories, Part 1

NASA photo from 1981. I'm assuming this was taken after NASA made clones out of the remaining DNA samples of Young and Crippen. Engle and Truly were not aware of the switch yet...but wait, were STS-2 clones too? The mind boggles!

Part of the never-ending fun of being a spaceflight enthusiast is hearing endless conspiracies about various NASA missions. I won't even get into the dozens of crazies um, curious people who think the moon landings were faked. A friend sent me a link to what may be the very best NASA conspiracy theory ever, though. This one involves the space shuttle Columbia and cloning. And not just ordinary cloning - NASA somehow managed to clone John Young and Bob Crippen. I wish I made this whole thing up in my mind, but here's a link to prove that someone dreamed up this hot mess scenario and posted it on an Internet message board.

I'm just going to do a capsule summary of this interesting theory, since I've already posted the link above, and plus if I read the entire poorly written post again I'm afraid I'll legitimately have some kind of grand mal seizure from the awful grammar and writing. Basically, the poster claims that the "real" space shuttle Columbia exploded or was somehow destroyed. As if this conceit wasn't tasteless enough (seriously, anyone writing a fanfic-esque story about a fictitious space disaster which kills real people has some kind of mental issue...), the poster claims "synthetics" a.k.a clones were made of STS-1 astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen in order to carry out the "fake" first Columbia mission. Or something like that. Around this point I thought someone had given me some of the "bad shit" (a.k.a brown acid) from Woodstock, and I had to stop reading.

So there you go. This is the greatest space conspiracy theory I've probably ever read, although I am sure there are some even more amazing stories out there. I can assure all readers that STS-1 was, in fact, a real space shuttle mission which began and ended successfully with its non-cloned astronauts on board. Also, how difficult would it be to clone Young and Crippen? Seriously...? I doubt cloning technology was fantastic in 1981; remember, 1981 still boasted cathode ray televisions and rotary phones. NASA would have messed up the clones. Clone John Young would have been from Rhode Island, and he would have hated corned beef sandwiches. Clone Bob Crippen would have hated tanning. People would have caught onto the deceit pretty quickly. YOU CAN'T CLONE PERFECTION, PEOPLE!

"Aw shucks. Ah am a clone now." The real John Young in a real space shuttle simulator, 1981 NASA photo.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jack Swigert of the Week: Givin' All The Haters Side Eye...

"Yeah. They said I couldn't be an astronaut. I got turned down a couple of times, got slapped by a couple of angry stewardesses who I may have dated, was told that a swingin' bachelor like me would never fly to the moon, but I came back to bring the pain to those darn inkblot tests. And I did...look at me now." Jack suits up for Apollo 13, April 1970.

All jokes aside, Jack did not make the cut for a few astronaut groups in the early 1960s. However, he was finally selected at age 34 in 1966. Ol' Jack's sense of perseverance would help make Apollo 13 a "successful failure" in 1970. 

Also, he was motivated by a phone book full of ladies' digits to call after he splashed down. HE REALLY DID HAVE THIS PHONE BOOK, Y'ALL. IT WAS EVEN REFERRED TO IN THE OFFICIAL APOLLO 13 TRANSCRIPTS FROM NASA:
05 22 33 43 CMP (Ol' Jack!) Sure wish I could go to the FIDO party tonight.
05 22 33 47 CC (CAPCOM Joe Kerwin) (Laughter) Yes, it's going to be a wild one.
05 22 34 04 CC Somebody said, "We'll - We'll cover for you guys; and, if Jack's got any phone numbers he wants us to call, why, pass them down."
Why did he have this phone book, you may ask? Because he was Jack Swigert. There's your answer. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Spacelog Captures Liberty Bell 7, Gateway Drugs Into Manned Spaceflight, And Other Meanderings...

MR-4/Liberty Bell 7 launched 50 years ago this month, carrying Mercury 7 astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom. Image via Spacelog.

So yeah, you may have heard that this space shuttle thing-y landed for the final time yesterday. Here's some other spaceflight news, and random odds n' ends:
  • Spacelog, the cool-as-heck Web site which features transcriptions of groundbreaking manned spaceflights in a linkable, searchable format, is back for more spacey goodness with its transcription of the MR-4/Liberty Bell 7 flight which took place on July 21, 1961. Liberty Bell 7 was the United States' second manned suborbital flight; astronaut Gus Grissom ascended 118 miles into space in a ballistic arc and splashed down minutes later. This mission was unfortunately remembered for Liberty Bell 7's hatch blowing prematurely, which caused Grissom to nearly drown. However, the mission's transcripts tell the story of a very successful flight which more than showcased Grissom's coolness and engineering savvy. I had the honor of transcribing this mission, and I really enjoyed the work. Also, the world could stand to experience some more Gus-ness.
  • I recently discovered a trove of space stuff from my childhood and found the book which was my gateway drug into manned spaceflight: Space Shuttle by Robin Kerrod. I must have gotten this book when I was 6 or 7 years old. It was published in 1984, when the space shuttle was brand new and in its heyday of being the world's first reusable space transportation system. Space Shuttle was geared to children most likely, being very picture-heavy, but the book was a good primer about the space shuttle program for its time. This book is a bittersweet reminder of the U.S. space program prior to the International Space Station (the book only covers up to Spacelab, given its publication date). The fact that the shuttle Challenger is on the cover stirs up quite a bit of emotion. Space Shuttle is now out of print, but can be found floating around on at low prices.

On the left, Space Shuttle (1984) by Robin Kerrod. On the right, smug-faced me. 

Yet Another Completely Badass Photo of STS-135: Reentry Edition

A member of Expedition 28's crew on the International Space Station took this photo of Atlantis reentering yesterday morning. Check out the bright plasma trail against the Earth's atmosphere as the orbiter reenters. Photo credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Atlantis' Last Crowning Achievement: STS-135 Lands, July 21, 2011

Space shuttle Atlantis (STS-135) makes its last landing on runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility at 5:56 AM, July 21, 2011. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This Is It: STS-135 Reentry And Landing, July 21, 2011

Tomorrow morning, space shuttle Atlantis will be landing, winding up 30 years of the U.S. space shuttle program.

If all goes as planned, STS-135 should touchdown on runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center at approximately 5:56 AM. People in Central Florida should hear its tell-tale sonic boom shortly before that time. Watch this space for further updates as This Space Available will be liveblogging the reentry and landing as it occurs.

5:00 AM update: Watching NASA TV right now. Those following the landing in Central Florida should hear the twin sonic booms approximately three minutes before touchdown at 5:56 AM. Descent can also be followed on Google Earth in real time. Right now, Atlantis is above Australia. According to Mission Control, everything on Atlantis is functioning perfectly.

According to NASA TV, Atlantis has traveled over 126 million miles in its career. That is nothing short of mind-blowing.

5:27 AM: Reentering now. Just above 300,000 feet.

5:29 AM: Closed loop banking has commenced to dissipate excess energy during reentry. The orbiter banked 70 degrees. It looked pretty wild on Google Earth.

5:37 AM: Atlantis is now at about 250,000 feet with its wings pointed towards the Earth. Roll reversals are about to commence. These roll reversals are now officially known at this blog as Crazy Ass Joe Engle Maneuvers. (I got you, Joe. We still remember STS 2.)

5:40: Mach 19. Yep, that's awfully fast. Now just above 200,000 feet.

5:42: Mach 17. Atlantis rolled 62 degrees to the right. Fifteen minutes from touchdown. Watching it on Google Earth has been pretty amazing.

Reentry as seen via Google Earth.

5:47 AM: Mach 7. Coming over Florida. We should hear the boom-boom soon.

5:48 AM: Nine minutes until the U.S. space shuttle program ends.

5:50 AM: Six minutes...Mach 2.5.

5:52 AM: Shuttle is now visible in sky.

5:53 AM: Less than 50,000 feet. Around Mach 1. Three and a half minutes until touchdown. Heard the last sonic booms. Okay, grabbing the Kleenex now.

5:56 AM: One minute then it's all over. This is it.

5:57 AM: Atlantis has touched down for the last time. Thank you NASA for 30 marvelous years. I am speechless.

Me? I'm a tear-stained mess, and it was all worth it. I will put up touchdown pictures later today.

Screenshot of STS-135 landing from NASA TV. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"How Much Would You Pay For The Universe?"

Video from YouTube, "The Future of NASA with Neil deGrasse Tyson."
"The most powerful agency on the dreams of a nation is currently underfunded to do what it needs to be doing and that’s making dreams come true. And at a half-a-penny on the dollar… How much would you pay for the universe?"
 -Astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson on the decline of U.S. manned space travel. 

Watch The ISS/Atlantis Separate For The Last Time This Morning At 2:28 AM EDT

Space shuttle Endeavour and the ISS docked as seen from a Soyuz capsule, May 23, 2011. Photo courtesy of Paulo Nespoli/NASA. 

At this time, the STS-135 crew is going through their rendezvous checklist in preparation for undocking from the International Space Station. 

After 2:28 AM, the space shuttle permanently retires from its role as a space caravan to the ISS. If you don't have NASA TV at home, you can watch it via the magic of the World Wide Web at this Spacevidcast live feed

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Country Boy Can Survive...On The Space Shuttle: John Watts Young, STS-1 Edition

"Dang. NASA is messin' up mah hair." Super-tousled John from 1981 in early shuttle-era pressure suit. NASA photo. 

"Now ah am a painting. Aw shucks." "When Thoughts Turn Inward," 1982. Painting by Henry Casselli.

"Now ah am an inaction figure. Aw shucks." John in full STS-1 regalia as a painted figurine. 

"Dang. Ah think Bob is really tan." STS-1 pilot Bob Crippen and John at a press conference, 1978. 

"Imma gonna fly the hell out of this shuttle rascal." Crippen and Young swagger their way into spaceflight history, April 12, 1981.

All photos (save for painted figurine) courtesy of NASA; painting by Henry Casselli.

Where Is STS-135 Right Now? Google Earth Edition

STS-135 Atlantis as of 5:50 PM Eastern Time, July 18, 2011. Screenshot by Emily Carney. Of course, STS-135 is the little space shuttle-shaped blip in the middle of the picture.

In less than three days, the U.S. space shuttle program will cease to be. The space shuttle will enter the archives of manned spaceflight history, taking its rightful place alongside its big sisters Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury.

With its final landing, space shuttle Atlantis will be bringing 30 years of the world's greatest flying machine to its bittersweet end. STS-135 will touchdown on Thursday, July 21, at approximately 5:57 AM. For those readers in Central Florida, you should be hearing the tell-tale sonic boom of reentry shortly before that time. For more information about the shuttle's landing, click on this NASA link.

In the meantime, one can view Atlantis in action on Google Earth. Google Earth allows viewers to watch the space shuttle's position and trajectory in real-time. Check out this NASA link to watch Atlantis at work above the Earth before the shuttle program ends!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jack Swigert of the Week: Some People Do What They Like...

...Because some astronauts managed to not look completely ridiculous during desert survival training. Jack Swigert brings badassery to the desert, 1967 NASA photo.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

And Once Again, More Thanks To My Readers, Old And New

A clearly thrilled Frank Borman sends his salutations from space during his Gemini 7 hostage situation mission, 1965. NASA photo.

On a serious note, I'd like to thank all of my readers - new and old - for following my blog. My readership has exploded in the last few weeks, and I am indebted to you all. It's fairly obvious that spaceflight is a longtime passion of mine (I've been a "space nerd" for over 25 years - much of my life, basically), and I am glad that other people out there enjoy discussing it as much as I do. As always, feel free to leave comments, suggestions, and possible ideas. I am always open to improving this blog in any way I can. 

Also, I'd like to thank NASA for giving me the unique, awesome opportunity to see Mission Juno launch next month during the next NASA Tweetup. I don't know if NASA will read this - but if anyone with the organization does see this, I'd like to sincerely thank you for letting me see something truly amazing! I can't wait until August 4th and August 5th. Of course, I will take tons of pictures of the activities and the launch. See you at Kennedy Space Center!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Country Boy Can Survive...In Space, Part 2: John Watts Young - Apollo 10 Edition

"Yeah. That's me, Geno, and TP. We jus' went to the moon. It ain't nuthin'." Apollo 10 egress training, 1969. NASA photo.

"We had a pool party. Ah have pool parties with Gene Cernan and Tom Stafford. Yeah. No big deal." 1969 Life magazine photo.

"We have swagger. Tom, why did'ya have to dominate the inflatable moon like that? Ah need mah swagger moment, too." 1969 Life magazine photo.

"Good grief, Charlie Brown. It's kinda lonely up here without Gene and TP." John does his CM pilot thing, 1969.  NASA photo.

"We jus' splashed down. Ah look kinda like ah have a stomachache here. TP is doin' his mission commander thang, and Gene is getting photobombed relentlessly. Whut more can ah say." Apollo 10's post-flight aircraft carrier press conference, 1969. NASA photo.

A Country Boy Can Survive...In Space, Part 1: John Watts Young

"Dang Gus. Ah hope they have some bacon n' cheese grits at the pre-flight breakfast." Gus Grissom is probably bewildered by John Young's Orlando ways prior to Gemini 3, March 1965. 

 "STOP MESSIN' WITH MAH FACE, Y'ALL." John looks a bit exasperated following Gemini 10, 1966.

"Mike, stop givin' these l'il kids mah cake. Ah was hungry, dang it." Cake time after Gemini 10, 1966. From left, Mike Collins, a young astro-fan, and John Young.

"Whut? They made a parkway out of meh? Aw shucks. Ah ain't dead yet. Nope. Far from it." John Young Parkway exit sign near Orlando, Florida. 

"Yeah. Space. It ain't nuthin'. Jus' a normal day in mah life." Following Gemini 3, 1965.

Photo credits: First three photos courtesy of NASA; John Young Parkway picture by Emily Carney; cigar smokin' picture courtesy of Life magazine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

NASA Tweetup News: Guess Who's Making Yet Another Trip To Florida's Space Coast?

Not Mission Juno's probe, but an artist's rendering of when Voyager 2 went all Charlie Sheen during its Jupiter flyby. Depiction by NASA, snarky caption added by me.

Yep, that's me. 
I was selected to go to the NASA Tweetup of Mission Juno's launch in early August from an Atlas V 551 rocket at Kennedy Space Center. I just got the e-mail tonight. Mission Juno will be traveling to Jupiter in the next few years to discover more about the solar system's Giant Planet, plus hopefully it will unlock some secrets about our own Earth's formation as well. Generally, it's following in its big sister Voyager's footsteps, and then some.
Of course I am going, and I will be providing my readers with tons of updates and pictures, which will culminate in Juno being launched at approximately 11:39 AM on August 5th. I should be right by the countdown clock. So stay tuned for many, many updates!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quote Of The Week: July 12, 2011 Edition

"Many lament the shuttle era's end. But that's misplaced sentiment. Lament instead the absence of an era to replace it."
-Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson via Twitter, July 8, 2011.

A Few Things We'll Miss About The Space Shuttle: Central Florida Edition

About 6:00 AM at the Rotary Riverfront Park in Titusville, Florida, July 8, 2011. At left, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is perched on its launchpad. At right, one can see the Vehicle Assembly Building. Photo by Emily Carney.

So, I've been compiling a brief list of things people in Central Florida will miss about the space shuttle program. Here are my selections (not necessarily in any order of importance, really):
  • Little kids actually getting excited about seeing space shuttle launches. When I was young growing up in the early-to-mid 1980s, the shuttle program was actually a huge deal; one could easily see launches from North Pinellas County on a clear day. It saddens me to know that children won't know the excitement of having a manned space program for an indefinite number of years. Seeing my little nephew playing with his space shuttle toy brings an odd sense of wistfulness and loss, as I think he's missed out on a lot.
  • God only knows what is going to happen to businesses around Brevard County, Florida. I feel bad for a lot of the people who live around Titusville and Cape Canaveral, as they're about to get hit hard by the loss of jobs and tourists visiting to see launches and landings; remember, the shuttle program has been going on for over 30 years now. Titusville especially has been a very lovely, hospitable area since the dawn of the "Space Race" in the early 1960s to watch spacecraft launch. Even their area code is 321.
  • The freakishly loud sonic boom which occurs whenever the shuttle enters the atmosphere over Florida.  I'm going to miss this the most. There's absolutely nothing like taking a casual walk somewhere with a buddy and hearing this giant sonic boom slice through the air, and saying casually, "Oh, yeah, that's just the space shuttle..." From east to west, the sonic boom from the shuttle reentering the atmosphere is inescapable. There's also nothing funnier than seeing the cat jump in mid-air, and then having Felix glare at you because he thinks your farts somehow made the entire house shake. Space shuttle reentry sonic booms have been upsetting small household pets for over 30 years now, and we're going to miss it immensely. 

 Space Shuttle tribute monument at Space View Park, Titusville, Florida. Picture by Emily Carney.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The End - July 8, 2011

STS 135 Atlantis launches, ending the magnificent 30 year run of the world's most amazing machine. Photos by Emily Carney.

STS 135 Update From Titusville - July 8, 2011

I am here. Right now they are fueling the shuttle Atlantis which looks very promising. The weather is still iffy...30% chance of launch due to that. We'll see. This Space Available will keep you posted with further news overnight.

5:00 AM update - suiting operations/final inspection have begun; no technical problems. Still waiting on the weather.

Around 6:00 AM: Atlantis looks great. Inspections are taking place & comm checks are going on. One of Atlantis' boosters has a case from STS 1 on it. That made me tear up...they remembered John and Bob.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

To All My Readers, Thank You For Your Support

My festive wear for Friday. Space + Peyo = For The Win. Photo by Emily Carney.

As we approach the eve of the final ever space shuttle launch, I'd like to thank new readers of this blog and any other associated blogs I've worked on. It's been quite an interesting ride over the last six or so months, and I've gained a pretty respectable following which is pretty awesome. Once again, my sincerest thanks and always feel free to suggest topics or questions about manned spaceflight you may be interested in!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Break Out The Kleenex Now, Because Here's A Blast From The Shuttle's Past...

Commander John Young and pilot Bob Crippen do their pre-flight swagger-walk to breakfast, April 1981, prior to STS 1. 

Also, this...

John Young, center, eyeballs a space shuttle prototype model, 1974. In seven years, he would command the first shuttle mission. Young returned to space in 1983 on STS 9/Spacelab 1.

Many, many thanks to Retro Space Images on Facebook for these images.