Posts tagged with "kennedy space center"

Roadtrip Illustration via 360 Magazine

FLEETWOOD RV SPACE ODYSSEY

Fleetwood RV has curated a list of four destinations that deliver a space odyssey for families looking for out-of-the-world fun.

Fleetwood RV is one of the most established brands in the motorhome industry that’s ideal for families. The Bounder® 35GL from Fleetwood RV is a new floorplan that features four distinct zones, making it feel like a “traditional” home. It includes space at the front for work and entertainment, a mid-ship open concept kitchen, a split lavatory with a private water closet, and a spacious master bedroom. In addition to the master, the RV has a sleeper sofa and an optional drop-down loft bed so the RV can sleep up to six children and adults.

Once the RV is packed, travelers can hit the road to take in views of planets, walk on a moon-like surface, chat with an astronaut, and learn more about life beyond the stars.

Please note: each location has been researched but be sure to call ahead to confirm hours of operation, advance ticketing requirements, and other relevant details.

Griffith Park Observatory, The easiest way to add some outer space to your next road trip is to visit a city with an observatory. Griffith Park Observatory is a stunning building and campus, admission is free, and it’s smack dab in the heart of Los Angeles, which means an endless list of things to do when you’re done looking at and learning about the stars.

Kennedy Space Center, History buffs, and space nuts should point their RVs towards Merritt Island, Florida, home to the legendary Kennedy Space Center. You could easily spend a week working through all of the attractions, from exploring the actual equipment used in missions to learning about the history and even going through some astronaut training yourself! And if you time the trip right, you might be able to catch an actual space shuttle launch while you’re in the area. 

Craters of the Moon Monument and National Preserve, If you want a vacation destination that feels like another planet entirely, look no further than Idaho. Specifically, the Craters of the Moon Monument and National Preserve. According to an official website, “the monument preserves around 53,500 acres of volcanic formations and lava flows on the northern rim of the Snake River Plain in south central Idaho.” The result is a wonderfully weird terrain that you’ll never forget. 

Roswell, New Mexico, A list of out-of-this-world destinations wouldn’t be complete without including one of the most famous. Nestled in scenic southeast New Mexico, Roswell is a tourist treat, offering plenty of UFO-centric features and attractions, as well as plenty of non-UFO offerings. Each July, the town hosts its UFO Festival, which celebrates the Roswell Incident. 

For more travel tips and ideas and to see the latest Fleetwood RV models, follow Fleetwood RV on Facebook and Instagram

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.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

CAPE CANAVERAL (June 28, 2017) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – A car trip on I-95 this July and August might bring with it more than just the usual sights. Passers-by could be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an extraterrestrial convoy, as a massive Mars rover concept vehicle, commissioned by Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, makes it way on a custom-trailer up and down the East Coast for tour stops in select cities. The vehicle will make its first stop in Atlanta for a three-day stay at the Sun Trust Stadium beginning July 14, and will then make its way to Washington, D.C., Jersey City, and New York City, returning to Cape Canaveral in late-August.

 

A highlight of the Summer of Mars campaign at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the Mars rover was designed as a traveling exhibit to inspire the public about space exploration and interplanetary travel. The 5,500-pound, nearly 11-foot tall rover will be on display at the visitor complex through the end of June, at which point it will begin its East Coast tour.

 

 “At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, we create immersive space experiences for our guests,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “The Mars rover will give guests a front row seat to NASA’s Journey to Mars and bring the future of space exploration to life for the generation that will first step foot on Mars, as they see and learn what it will take to travel the landscape of the Red Planet.”

 

 In addition to the Mars rover, the free Summer of Mars Experience will include interactive games that allow consumers to learn about plant life and habitats on Mars, virtual reality which will transport visitors to the Red Planet, periodic pump rocket launches, photo opportunities, premium giveaways and more.

 

 Tour dates are as follows; for specific information and times, visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com