I usually never, ever do blogs here which share anything personally, but I'd like to use this space today to share my gratitude and happiness that this blog has found an audience. In a little over a year, I've gained over 20,000 hits (not too bad) and a respectable following. I'd like to thank my readers...you all make it fun and worthwhile!
To be honest, I'm really in no rush to have 2012 begin. 2011 was an awesome, overwhelming year. I got to see tons of launches, including the final shuttle launch. I got to go to my first NASA Tweetup (amazing, absolutely amazing!). I made a lot of lifelong friends. I attained a degree of personal stability and I got my dream job, which I am still beyond thrilled about. All in all, life was pretty good during 2011. I am just trying to enjoy the moment while not focusing too much on the next page.
My goal for 2012 - if I had to make one - would be to continue to overcome (not be cured of....there is a difference) any mental and physical roadblocks to become a much better version of myself. I also wish my family and friends a great year filled with health, happiness and prosperity! Once again, to my readers...thank you so much for reading this blog...I wish you nothing but the best and be sure to have a fun, safe New Year's Eve!
STS-133 launches in February 2011. Photo by the author taken at Space View Park, Titusville, Florida.
Despite the end of the space shuttle program in July of this year, NASA still is chugging away victoriously. Obviously, the final shuttle launches were momentous, but this year brought thrills to space watchers in the form of various space probes being launched.
In August, Juno was launched. Photo by the author taken at Kennedy Space Center.
In August, Juno was launched - it is now headed to its destination, Jupiter. I had the unique honor of being invited to the NASA Tweetup for this mission; the event was among the two greatest days of my life, no joke. Words can't really capture the awe of what I experienced there.
In September, the twin GRAIL probes were launched to investigate the moon's gravitational sources; these probes should arrive at the moon later this month. Most recently, the Mars Curiosity mission (Mars Science Laboratory) was launched, destined to reach the red planet in August 2012. Between the United Launch Alliance and JPL, NASA has more than proven itself to have a lot of life left in it.
Russia, despite having suffered some well-publicized vehicle failures this past year, has successfully launched several crews to the ISS via Soyuz capsules.
In 2012, I hope to make it back to KSC to be around for SpaceX (planned to launch in February) and any other planned launches. My heart is located in Titusville and Cocoa Beach; I love the history of that area. I also hope to see private companies and NASA more aggressively develop new space vehicles and launch systems to get our manned program back into gear.
Space shuttle Atlantis launches for the last time, July 8, 2011. Photo by the author taken at Rotary Riverview Park, Titusville, Florida.
What would you like to see NASA do in 2012? Feel free to leave comments!
For Christmas, get this book NOW for your space-obsessed buddy or family member. The Astronaut's Cookbook: Tales, Recipes, and More, by Charles T. Bourland and Gregory L. Vogt, is informative and often very funny, sharing tales from the vintage days of space travel (the best: John Young's sandwich crimes during Gemini 3 in 1965 and Dr. Joseph Kerwin's valiant struggle with a...sugar cookie after Skylab 2 in 1973).
I recently purchased this book and absolutely love it - I recommend it to anyone curious about what it was like to be an astronaut from Apollo to the shuttle era, plus it has recipes from astronauts in it as well (among other cool things). This is a perfect Christmas gift - or a gift anytime of the year! - to put under the tree. I (obviously) love space books and this is a great one.
This film, by Ride5 Films, shows a few of the many people impacted by the end of the shuttle program this past July. It's a beautiful, emotionally touching film for those of use who love Florida's Space City. I've been there countless times this year for various launches and I've had the honor of meeting many great folks who worked at NASA before the layoffs.
Also, I can't recommend the Space Walk of Fame Museum enough to those obsessed with vintage space travel. They now have a blog, which looks awesome. It's one of the coolest space museums in the U.S., and I know, because I've seen all of them; their collection of photos, memorabilia and artifacts easily rivals the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. If you're in town, please, swing by Titusville to enjoy vintage space excitement.
My drawing involves two of the participants at this table. Don't you want to find out who they are? Keep reading.
We here at This Space Available love to joke around about random stuff. Now, here's your opportunity to make your own jokes. Caption this photo; whoever come up with the funniest, best caption can win a very crappy drawing courtesy of me re-depicting what was really going on in this photo. When I am done with my artistic tour de force, I will post an equally crappy screen capture of it as evidence of my fantastic nonexistent artistic talent. Have fun!