In 1985, Houston was preparing for a party: 1986 marked the city's 150th birthday, the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Texas, and 25 years since the opening of NASA's Johnson Space Center
, the hub around which the city's aerospace industry blossomed. In comes French synthesizer pioneer Jean Michel Jarre
, the "composer of the future", known for his spectacular 1979 Bastille Day show
that attracted a million people to Place de la Concorde, and for being the first Western musician to play China
in 1981. With the Space Shuttle Challenger
due to take off on mission STS-51-L
in January, Jarre penned a piece for Mission Specialist and saxophonist Ron McNair
to record in space. The nation watched as McNair and his crewmates prepared for their journey and waved goodbye
, only to perish in a haunting
explosion. As Houston mourned the loss of the seven crew, who called the city home during their preparation for spaceflight, Jarre wasn't sure if the upcoming festivities should be held, but was convinced by astronaut Bruce McCandless
that the show must go on.
On April 5, 1986, 1.5 million people gathered downtown to witness Rendez-vous Houston
, a massive tribute to America's pioneering spirit that used the city as its backdrop. [more inside]
posted by avocet
on May 14, 2013 -
's Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo capsule is scheduled to launch at 8:55 am UTC on Saturday, May 19, 2012 - a little less than 12 hours from now. [more inside]
posted by egor83
on May 18, 2012 -
Chilling amateur home video of the Challenger disaster "Obviously a major malfunction."
Those words have always haunted me, but to hear them here, echoing across a PA system as shocked onlookers come to terms with what they have just seen, they carry even more power than they did when they were just an anonymous voiceover on a TV shot.
posted by LondonYank
on May 2, 2012 -
The Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-135, is scheduled to lift off this morning from Kennedy Space Center. The time was originally scheduled for 11:26 AM EDT, but that has been
pushed back, despite "no technical concerns and... weather is a 'go'."
Astronauts aboard are Commander Chris Ferguson
, Pilot Doug Hurley
, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus
and Rex Walheim
Watch live coverage, with some archival footage, on NASA's Ustream
or on NASA.gov
. NASA has provided countdown highlights of the day
to get you up to speed.
Read NASA's feed on Twitter
. At the time of this post's writing, the countdown clock is on a scheduled hold with 9 minutes to go.
Previously, STS-134, on the Blue
posted by knile
on Jul 8, 2011 -
On May 16, 2011, after one scrubbed attempt, the space shuttle Endeavour set off on her final mission, STS-134. Shuttle commander Mark Kelly had this to say after receiving a "go" from the launch poll
On this final flight of space shuttle Endeavour, we want to thank all the tens of thousands of dedicated employees that have put their hands on this incredible ship and dedicated their lives to the space shuttle program. As Americans, we Endeavour to build a better life than the generation before, and we Endeavour to be a united nation. In these efforts, we are often tested. This mission represents the power of teamwork, commitment, and exploration. It is in the DNA of our great country to reach for the stars and explore; we must not stop. To all the millions watching today, including our spouses, children, family, and friends, we thank you for your support.
You've seen launches before, but NASA has uploaded a whole slew of angles that will truly amaze:
Witness 4.4 million pounds of shuttle, fuel, and rocket boosters "twang" a full 18 inches as the main engines ignite.
1.2 million pounds of thrust push against a locked down stack, waiting for the solid rocket boosters to ignite. (The SRBs bring the total to 7 million lbs of thrust, enough to break all that binds her to the pad.)
OTV Camera 71
, a fantastic, short close-up. UCS-15 (TV-21A)
provides a dead-on, close up shot of the launch. The South Beach Tracker
shot offers a fantastic view as well. From 3.1 miles away at the Press Site,
note the ~11 second delay before the piercing sound of the SRBs hits. And just released today, fantastic footage from the solid rocket boosters
, including their trip to splashdown in the Atlantic ocean from 30 miles up. And finally, the classic NASA view
, with some great data overlays by Spacevidcast
. [more inside]
posted by disillusioned
on May 26, 2011 -
Following on the heels of NASA's announcement
of the final resting places of the various space shuttles, NASA, in conjunction with William Shatner, released a final video
commemorating the program. (SLYT)
posted by Heliochrome85
on Apr 12, 2011 -
After completing it's final mission
in March, Space Shuttle Discovery has been returned to the Kennedy Space Center's Orbiter Processing Facility, where it is being dissembled for cleaning and decommissioning. Spaceflight Now has pictures of the process
posted by helloknitty
on Apr 11, 2011 -
Challenger . . . . go with throttle up
Twenty-five years ago today the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded
73 seconds into the 25th space shuttle flight. The reports (pdf)
tell us of O-Ring failures. Today, we remember
one of the most tragic days in the history
of the U.S. manned spaceflight program. Today, January 28, 2011, we remember: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe
posted by IvoShandor
on Jan 28, 2011 -
Compromise emerging for NASA's spaceflight future
Since the announcement was made last month of the cancellation of Constellation (NASA's plan for returning to the Moon and Mars), the punditsphere has been ablaze with condemnation, support, and outright confusion over the future of American manned spaceflight. Keith Cowling, editor of the Nasawatch.com blog, has posted an interesting new development
that if proven right, could prove to be a compromise between those wanting NASA to get out of manned spaceflight altogether and those seeking to keep the administration in the spaceflight business. [more inside]
posted by zooropa
on Apr 6, 2010 -
Amateur video footage of the Challenger explosion
previously unknown, has now been found
and, of course, posted to YouTube. A retired man named Jack Moss was taping the launch from his front yard when the explosion occurred moments into the launch. The tape was relegated to his basement and forgotten, and Moss died late last year. His pastor remembered a conversation about the video and found it among other old Betamax videotapes from the same period. It is believed to be the only amateur footage of the event.
posted by briank
on Feb 5, 2010 -
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Nov 14, 2009 -
Discovery is coming home...
Around now (6.06am EDT) STS114 is due to commence firing its orbital maneuvering engines for 2 minutes and 42 seconds and commence its entry of the atmosphere to return home to Edwards Air Force base. Florida was declared a "no go" both yesterday and today due to weather conditions.
Weather at Edwards is good
Landing tracks from NASA available here
BBC story with live video footage is here
Pilot Jim Kelly is handling the de-orbit burn, according to commentary and mission commander Eileen Collins will make the final approach and touch down at Edwards.
Best of luck, Discovery, I'm sure I speak for all when I say that all of our thoughts are with you.
posted by tomcosgrave
on Aug 9, 2005 -
"These are good people"...but changes must be made. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report was released on Tuesday.
Putting technical answers aside for the moment, the report targets the organizational
and behavioral issues
that led to a breakdown in communication, safety and responsibility. While acknowledging the good will at NASA, the report holds no illusions that changing this culture will be very difficult and very necessary in order to return to flight. What types of management/behavioral obstacles have you encountered in home, work, school or social organizations? How did you try to effect change and what obstacles did you encounter in an effort to make it more effective, safe, productive or enjoyable?
posted by tgrundke
on Aug 28, 2003 -
Did downsizing and inexperience lead to Columbia's destruction?
In the rush to cut costs and 'downsize' NASA in the 1990s the agency outsourced most Space Transportation System (STS, or the Shuttle) functions to a private consortium called United Space Alliance. Now, senior engineers at Boeing (lead member of the USA) are beginning to talk about the lack of experience, 'brain drain', and negative effects of downsizing and privatization. This begs the issue of market imperatives, relative value of privatization and the question of how to better manage projects of this magnitude in a mixed private/public arrangement.
posted by tgrundke
on Feb 23, 2003 -
"I imagine this is the last we will hear of this."
Or not. NASA releases email between NASA engineers leading up to the Columbia disaster documenting significant concerns regarding damage done to the shuttle on takeoff. Engineers calculated the likelihood of a 7" x 30" gouge in the heat shields, but when they let management know of their concerns, they weren't taken seriously, were forced to work "at night" to do simulations, and found that requests for additional information were "treated like the plague."
posted by insomnia_lj
on Feb 22, 2003 -
Shuttle "Achille's Hell"
According to this article, Shuttle has one. Curiously it's in the area in which that piece of insulation hit during launch.Were the astronauts warned ? Did they do some space walk to see what was wrong ? I would stop my car to go out and see if I heard a loud "thump" coming from somewhere.
posted by elpapacito
on Feb 3, 2003 -
"There is something noteworthy a rocket can do that the shuttle cannot. A rocket can be permitted to fail." Gregg Easterbrook's 1980 Washington Monthly
cover story looks into the Columbia's beginnings, the hazards he saw in the shuttle, and its weaknesses compared to rockets.
Once you get into space, you check to see if any tiles are damaged. If enough are, you have a choice between Plan A and Plan B. Plan A is hope they can get a rescue shuttle up in time. Plan B is burn up coming back. [via Slate]
posted by kirkaracha
on Feb 2, 2003 -
17 years ago today,
the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven aboard. I share this primarily as I recall this being the first where-were-you-when of my childhood. So where were you?
posted by xmutex
on Jan 28, 2003 -
of the Space Shuttle and the ray of "shadow" from the moon is pretty cool. I even think I buy the explanation.
posted by aflakete
on Feb 19, 2001 -