Posts tagged with "astronauts"

Challenger: The Final Flight

By Cassandra Yany

On Wednesday, Netflix released “Challenger: The Final Flight,” a four-episode docuseries about the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The doc was directed by Daniel Junge and Steven Leckart, and executive produced by JJ Abrams and Glenn Zipper. It provides a complete look at the events leading up to the takeoff and includes interviews with family members of the seven astronauts who died in the explosion.

According to CNN, the series uses archival footage and home videos, along with interviews from officials and crew members to shed light on the poor decision-making and systemic failures that led up to the disaster, as well as the aftermath that followed.

Challenger took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on January 28, 1986. Just 73 seconds after it launched, the shuttle began breaking apart, due to malfunctioning O-rings in the rocket boosters, which hardened as the temperature decreased. NASA had reportedly known about this damaged hardware for months prior, according to Vanity Fair.

The purpose of mission STS-51-L was to deploy a satellite to study the approaching Halley’s Comet, but it had been delayed multiple times because of technical difficulties.

The crew was one of NASA’s most diverse to date, as reported by the New York Post. One of the astronauts was a teacher, so school children across the country watched in class as the shuttle went down, engulfed by a huge, ominous cloud of smoke. The explosion devastated the nation, especially all of the young children who had watched it live.

Nearly thirty-five years later, we remember the passengers who lost their lives on that dreadful day:

Christa McAuliffe

Christa McAuliffe was a teacher at Concord High School in New Hampshire who learned of the Teacher in Space Project— NASA’s plan to fly an educator into space. NASA had hoped that this would help increase public interest in the space shuttle program. 

Along with 11,000 others, McAuliffe applied in 1984 to be the first teacher to communicate with students from space. She was chosen as one of two finalists from New Hampshire, then was selected to be part of the STS-51-L crew by a Review Panel in Washington, D.C.

McAuliffe took a year off from teaching to train for the space shuttle mission. While in orbit, she was planning to conduct experiments in chromatography, hydroponics, magnetism and Newton’s laws. She also would have taught two 15-minute classes— one providing a tour of the spacecraft, the other about the benefits of space travel— which would have been broadcasted to students on closed-circuit TV. 

The nationwide excitement of having McAuliffe in space was a significant reason why the explosion had such a lasting impact on the country, and was especially upsetting for young students who watched the takeoff or extensive coverage in class. 

Gregory Jarvis

Gregory Jarvis was an engineer for Hughes Aircraft who served as Payload Specialist 2 on Challenger. In 1984, he was one of two employees from the company that were selected for the Space Shuttle program. 

Jarvis was originally supposed to make his shuttle flight in April 1985, but was rescheduled to early January 1986, then rescheduled again, landing him a spot on the STS-51-L crew. From space, he planned to conduct experiments on the effects of weightlessness on fluids. 

Dick Scobee

Dick Scobee earned his pilot wings in 1966 and served as a combat aviator in the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

After the war, Scobee graduated from the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School and became an Air Force test pilot. He was the commander on Challenger and died a lieutenant colonel.

Judith Resnik

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, Judith Resnik worked as a design engineer in missile and radar projects at RCA (Radio Corporation of America). There, she performed circuit design for the missile and surface radar division. She later developed electronics and software for NASA’s sounding rocket and telemetry systems programs. 

Resnik qualified as a professional aircraft pilot in 1977 and was recruited into the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1978. She was one of six women selected for the program out of 8,000 applicants. At NASA, and piloted the Northrop T-38 Talon, trained intensely, conducted research, and developed different systems and software. 

Resnik served as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of Discovery in 1984 for her first space flight from August to September. During this flight, she operated a shuttle’s robotic arm (which she created), and deployed and conducted experiments on a solar array wing to determine if there was a way to generate additional electric power during missions. She was the second American woman in space and the first Jewish woman in space. 

Resnik was a mission specialist on Challenger. After the explosion, further examination of the cockpit shows that her Personal Egress Air Pack was activated, indicating that she may have been alive after the cockpit separated from the vehicle to activate it. Her body was the first to be recovered from the crash by Navy divers. 

Ellison Onizuka

Ellison Onizuka served as a flight test engineer and test pilot for the U.S. Air Force in the early 1970s. After attending the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School from 1974 to 1975, he became a squadron flight test engineer there and worked as a manager for engineering support in the training resources division. 

In 1978, Onizuka was selected for the astronaut program and later worked in the experimentation team, orbiter test team, and launch support screw for the STS-1 and STS-2. At NASA he also worked on the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory test and revision software team. 

Onizzuka’s first space mission was one year before the Challenger explosion, on the mission STS-51-C on the shuttle Discovery. This was the first space shuttle mission for the Department of Defense, and he became the first Asian American to reach space. 

Onizuka was a mission specialist aboard Challenger. Similar to Resnik, it is speculated that he could have been alive when the cockpit separated from the vehicle because his Personal Egress Air Pack was also activated. When he died, he held the position of lieutenant colonel, but was later promoted to the rank of colonel. 

Ronald McNair

Ronald McNair received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 and became nationally recognized for his work in laser physics. After graduation, he worked as a staff physicist at the Hugh Research Lab in Malibu, CA. 

McNair was one of the ten thousand applicants to be selected in 1978 for the NASA astronaut program. He became the second African American astronaut in 1984 when he flew as a mission specialist for STS-41-B on Challenger from Feb. 3-11. 

McNair later served as a mission specialist for STS-51-L. During this flight, he had planned to record the saxophone solo for a song he had worked on with composer Jean-Michel Jarre for his upcoming album Rendez-Vous. This would have been the first original piece of music to be recorded in space. 

McNair was also supposed to participate in Jarre’s Rendez-Vous Houston concert through a live feed from Challenger. To honor McNair, Jarre dedicated the last song on the album to him and subtitled it “Ron’s Piece.”

Michael J. Smith

Michael J. Smith served in the Vietnam War, then attended U.S. naval Test Pilot School. After graduation, he was assigned to the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, where he worked on the A-6E TRAM and Cruise missile guidance systems. In 1976, later returned to NTPS for 18 months as an instructor. 

Smith was selected for the astronaut program in May 1980, in which he served as a commander in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory, the Deputy Chief of Aircraft Operations, the Technical Assistant to the Director, and the Flights Operations Directorate. 

Smith was the pilot for Challenger, and was set to pilot another mission the following fall. His voice was the last heard on the flight deck tape recorder with his final words being “Uh oh.”

All seven passengers were awarded with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2004.

Rolls-Royce Monterey Car Week

“Monterey Car Week is one of the world’s premier luxury motor car events, so it is fitting that we showcase the finest Bespoke motor cars in the world here, and also debut Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce of SUVs, to the American public. From the primacy of Phantom to the power of Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce presence at 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has never been more compelling, and these Bespoke Rolls-Royces will grace these lawns as classics for generations to come.” … Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan makes its American debut to the public at this year’s Monterey Car Week as the marque showcases a stunning array of Bespoke motor cars, each one a classic in the making. In addition to Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce of SUVs, the brand will present a splendid selection of individual creations at events throughout the week and deliver two very high profile commissions to their owners, live at events throughout the week.

Cullinan – the Rolls-Royce of SUVs debuts to its American public

The most anticipated motor car of 2018 will adorn the lawns at Monterey Car Week events including Friday’s ‘Quail, A Motorsports Gathering,’ The Concept Lawn of the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance on Sunday and at Rolls-Royce’s own private collectors events throughout the week.

Unveiled to the world in May of this year, four Cullinans will be positioned around the peninsula in a variety of color and Bespoke configurations for its future customers to discover. Rolls-Royce will show for the first time in North America a Cullinan with Iguazu Blue exterior. The stunning Charles Blue interior is offset with Scivaro Grey highlights and open Paldao veneer. The other Cullinans on display are adorned in Magma Red and Darkest Tungsten.

A tenth Bespoke creation for collector Michael Fux

On Friday, Mr. Müller-Ötvös will present a very special Rolls-Royce Phantom to renowned collector Michael Fux. This is the tenth special Bespoke Creation presented to Mr. Fux at Pebble Beach for his collection of more than 140 unique motor cars. The Phantom joins Mr. Fux’s collection of motor cars that he uses to help raise funds for his charity, The Michael Fux Foundation, to provide support for children and their families at the Miami Children’s Hospital.

Black Badge Bespoke – The alter ego of Rolls-Royce personalization

This year’s Pebble Beach will play host to the alter ego of Rolls-Royce Bespoke as the marque demonstrates the breadth of its Black Badge Bespoke offer. Proving that a Black Badge Rolls-Royce need not only be black in color, four different Collections will move through the Black Badge color spectrum: The Umbra Collection; Adamas Collection; The Paradisio Collection and The Nebula Collection.

Fusing the extraordinary competence of the Bespoke craftspeople from the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England, with the rebellious spirit of Black Badge is for the risk-taker who is not afraid to embrace a bold and progressive statement of true and modern luxury, in its darkest form.

Umbra Black Badge Collection – Dawn, Ghost and Wraith

Black Badge Umbra, the extreme embodiment of the eponymous darker side of Rolls-Royce debuts this week at the Rolls-Royce Villa at Pebble Beach. The Umbra Collection comprises Dawn, Ghost and Wraith, and feature Matte Black exterior finish, fully darkened chrome including a darkened Spirit of Ecstasy and 21 inch carbon alloy wheels. The Anthracite interior is starkly offset with Mugello Red and Black highlights. All three commissions feature a stunning technical fiber fascia and interior accents as well as custom Black Badge Bespoke Starlight Headliners and Bespoke ‘Pebble Beach 2018’ treadplates.

Dawn Black Badge Adamas Collection

Dawn Black Badge Adamas is another creation from the darker side of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective. Inspired by the ‘untamable’ and ‘invincible’ nature of a diamond, Adamas celebrates the darker side of contemporary craftsmanship, expertly weaving a dark aesthetic of unbreakable carbon structures into an extremely limited collection of only 30 Dawn Black Badge cars. Dawn Black Badge Adamas is clothed in an enticing two-tone color scheme of hypnotic Aphrodite Red over Black. These are the first two-tone Black Badge cars. These colors, as though touched by darkness, have a deep color transition, providing a mesmerizing iridescent effect.

The Spirit of Ecstasy, previously cast in steel, silver and gold, is for the first time in history formed in machined carbon fiber. 88 Bespoke laboratory-grown diamonds form the Black Badge infinity symbol set beneath the Bespoke analogue clock. As a final touch, when one enters or alights from the atmospheric cabin of Adamas, illuminated tread plates read ‘Black Badge Dawn Adamas – One of Thirty’, reminding the occupant of the power and rarity of this Collection.

The Paradisio Collection – Dawn, Ghost and Wraith

Turning up the color spectrum, the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective has specially created the boldest Black Badge Collection ever imagined for this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Paradisio Collection of one Dawn, one Ghost and one Wraith features a newly-developed solid exterior paint called Pebble Paradiso Blue, inspired by the location of The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and its beautiful blue surroundings of water and clear Californian sky. These cars are also reminiscent of the exploits of those adventurers who partook in the 1913 Alpenfahrt driving such classic Rolls-Royces as the James Radley 1913 Silver Ghost with its solid blue paintwork. The exterior is offset by a mandarin coach line, twin bonnet pinstripes and pinstripes on the wheel-centers.

The interiors of the three cars vary in design. Ghost, which is more focused on the rear passenger’s comfort, reflects this visually with a more intimate and cool Black and Charles Blue leather color-way off set by Charles Blue and Mandarin stitching and a Black and Charles Blue two-tone steering wheel. Wraith and Dawn add more Mandarin into the interior color palate, increasing the visual heat and driver’s intent of the cockpit.

The centerpiece of the Black Badge cabin is the aerospace-grade aluminum-threaded carbon fiber composite surfacing – material often seen on the surfaces of stealth aircraft. This futuristic material has been reinterpreted at Goodwood to become the world’s most innovative new super-luxury material. Polished to a high sheen, this surface reflects the twinkling lights of the beautifully created Starlight Headliner wrought in Ghost and Wraith and the stars firmament once the Mandarin hood of Dawn is folded away.

Nebula Collection – Dawn, Ghost and Wraith

Nebula is a suite of Black Badge Ghost, Wraith and Dawn motor cars which draw influence from spacecraft and aerospace technology, drawing visual references from technical spacecraft to the soaring vistas of the earth’s atmosphere, whilst paying homage to the pioneers of the 20th century and challenges the space and technology entrepreneurs of the 21st century. Men and women who push the technology envelope to explore space, honor the pioneers of land and space flight from Charles Rolls to the elite brotherhood of astronauts.

The exterior is enveloped in Iced Selby Grey, a flat grey hue, reminiscent of the ultra matt aesthetic of the heat shields of great, technical, space craft themselves. Inside, the interior colorway features Selby Grey and Black leather, offset against high contrast Sunset accents in the format of a two tone steering wheel, piping and stitching. The contrast masterfully imbues the impression of color imparted by a space shuttle fuel tank. This is perfectly offset against a technical fiber fascia, a sought-after aesthetic found in many Black Badge motor cars.

The Rolls-Royce clock embodies the Nebula theme in miniature. A depiction of a portion of the night sky in the Northern Hemisphere in March are backlit on the clock’s face, encircled in the accent ‘Sunset’ color, providing the impression of viewing the stars through the window of a space craft.

A repeated hexagonal motif has been expertly embroidered into the rear of each motor car, reflective of the honeycomb structure used in some of the most ambitious and technologically advanced aerospace developments, from space telescope mirrors to space station windows. Speaker covers most commonly bestow a jewelry-like impression on the interior of a Rolls-Royce, however in this iteration, they have adopted a blackened aesthetic, to further the technical feel once more.