Tag Archives: NASA

What the heck is TIROS?

Project: TIROS is in full swing, so I thought I might post a little primer on the namesake. Enjoy this bit of vintage film reel and be sure to follow the progress here and at element14!

Gene Cernan (1934-2017)

Gene Cernan, the last human being to walk on the moon, passed away today in a Houston hospital, surrounded by friends and family.

…As I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just (say) what I believe history will record: that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.

Despite never seeming to smile for photographs, Captain Cernan was a noted humourist–even being invited to roast legendary comedian Don Rickles. Additionally, he was a bit of a speed demon: He rode aboard fastest manned vehicle ever recorded (22,791mph) during Apollo 10’s return from the moon and he holds the land-speed record for any extraterrestrial time trial, racing the lunar rover up to a screaming 11.2mph!

After NASA, Cernan became a contributor to ABC news, published a memoir about his US Navy and NASA career, appeared in several documentaries about space exploration, and even testified before Congress with fellow Apollo alum Neil Armstrong in opposition to the Obama administration’s cancellation of the Constellation program.

There is also the story about how he wrote his daughter’s name in the lunar sand before boarding the LM for the return to earth, making him the first graffitist to tag a celestial body.

Godspeed, Captain Cernan. Godspeed, indeed.

John Glenn 1921-2016

The string of celebrity deaths continues with the passing of one of America’s earliest space heroes, John Glenn. Colonel Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, less than a year after Yuri Gagarin became the first human to reach “outer space”.

A decorated Marine Corps pilot that served in both WWII and the Korean Conflict, Glenn became a Navy test pilot and nearly lost his life during a decompression accident flying the FJ-3 Fury. Undeterred, he got back in the cockpit and in 1957 completed the first recorded supersonic transcontinental flight, flying an F8U Crusader from Los Alamitos AAF (just down the street from me) to New York City in under 3.5 hours.

Colonel John Glenn, USMC, kicking back in a pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars on the deck of the USS Noa after his historic space flight.
Colonel John Glenn, USMC, kicking back in a pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars on the deck of the USS Noa after his historic space flight.

Realizing that he would likely not be chosen for a lunar landing, Glenn resigned from NASA in 1964 and immediately ran for senator of Ohio. As a senatorial candidate, he gave one of the most rousing political speeches ever delivered by a modern candidate–denouncing his opponent’s assertions that he “never worked” because he was in the military.

John Glenn was such a badass, that when he was 77 years old, he became the oldest astronaut he volunteered to go back into space on the shuttle Discovery as a human guinea pig so NASA could study the effects of space travel on elderly humans.

Godspeed, John Glenn! You will be missed!

Summer of 100 Photos, Day 72: A stuffed animal

20151029012929-eb935c60I gotta start bringing Spaceman Snoopy along on more of my beer adventures. The last time he tagged along was when this photo was taken–when the final launch of Shuttle Discovery was scrubbed postponed due to weather and we stopped by Cocoa Beach Brewing Company to drown our sorrows.

Dear NASA….

Orion Soars on First Flight Test

GO, ORION!!!!!

The Apollo Program’s Wasted Potential

Not much infuriates me more than limitless scientific, technological, and humanitarian potential squandered at the hands of an apathetic public. It was this sort of apathy in the American people that led the United States government to shut down the Apollo program after it was just barely getting the training wheels off. Had we continued to explore Luna throughout the 1970s with the same gusto as the Apollo G-H missions, there is absolutely no telling where we, as a nation and as a species, could’ve been by now.

What if Johnson had got it wrong? What if, somehow, Americans cared more about space exploration and so sought to wring from their $24-billion Apollo investment everything they could?

We are only just now making the small, cautious steps back into the Universe beyond our atmosphere–mostly thanks to the retirement of the ill-advised Shuttle program and ironic “re-ignition” of Apollo-era technology. If the program had continued on the track as originally proposed, we may have already been living in the Tomorrowland vision of the future instead of dreaming about it while riding Space Mountain.

David Portree has a great article at WIRED about that alternative history and where we could’ve been by the dawn of the digital age.

I kinda want to go to the Rice Hotel in Houston and register under the name Max Peck.

I kinda want to go to the Rice Hotel in Houston and register under the name Max Peck.

Still a Better Love Story than Twilight

Source: Still a Better Love Story than Twilight

NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style Parody)