Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A good day, despite no flight

Well, the launch of STS-119 has been pushed back to at least the 15th. I did get to spend the day enjoying the facilities at Kennedy Space Center, and man was it stirring to see the launch pads and gigantic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). It was also interesting how amongst all this high technology were all sorts of birds and a good number of alligators lurking in the various canals and waterways at the Cape. I'll put up some photos eventually.

A 3D IMAX movie about the Space Station had all sorts of statements by astronauts that paralleled my experiences with going to the South Pole. One woman talked about coming to grips with leaving the world for (six) months to enter a wholly different environment. I definitely said some farewells prior to deploying in 2007. Other folks talked about supporting experiments in various scientific fields to generate data for researchers back on the ground, which sounded distinctly similar to the job description for my tech job at Pole. Astronauts just arriving on the Shuttle talked of how remarkable it was that the long-duration crew on the ISS felt so separate from the world after being in orbit for so long. I felt similarly while at Pole, which incidentally has less telecommunications with the rest of humanity. This all lends credence to my feelings about how practical polar experience, particularly over the winter, is for somebody contemplating spending time on a long-duration space mission. I now just need to bend the right ears about my experiences...

I have not decided what I will do now, whether I will stay here until Sunday to maybe see another launch attempt, but hopefully an inspired decision will present itself.
Some choices we live not only once but a thousand times over, remembering them for the rest of our lives.
~Richard Bach

Ad astra per aspera.

1 comment:

The Frozen Desert said...

That was a close call.

The two astronauts and one cosmonaut aboard the International Space Station had to duck for cover Thursday as space debris passed perilously close to the orbiting platform.

Crew members Sandra Magnus, Michael Fincke and Yury Lonchakov were ordered into one of the Soyuz TMA-13 escape capsules at 12:35 p.m. EDT.

In case the space station were to be hit, the astronauts could have undocked and headed back to Earth.

The window of danger passed at 12:45 p.m., and left the capsule and reentered the space station.

NASA said the offending object was most likely an old motor from the space station itself.

The debris was was about one-third of an inch in width, said NASA spokesman Josh Byerly.