Category Archives: Manned Space Flight

JFK’s Challenge to NASA

By 1961 the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union was well under way but even then few would have dreamed of what ended up happening by the end of the decade. On this date in 1961 John F. Kennedy put forward a goal for NASA and the country to chase. You can find an 8 minute clip of the speech on the JFK Library website.

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.

It is one of the iconic quotes in American history and is meaningful even today as America ponders its future in space. Former Apollo commanders Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Eugence Cernan have penned an open letter voicing their disappointment about the future of NASA.

While the future of manned space flights from NASA is far from set in stone they did announce a plan earlier today to explore Asteroids starting in 2016.

Earlier today the JFK Library also released audio of JFK discussing the space program with NASA officials.
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This date in Manned Space Flight…..

If you’re been reading this blog for a while you are well aware that I am a big NASA guy, more specifically I’m a big fan of Manned Space Flights. Today marks two major milestones in that journey.

Fifty years ago today Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. It is without a doubt one of our greatest achievements. The Telegraph has more on how Russia is honoring one of its greatest heroes today.

Google is honoring the Gagarin’s launch with a special doodle today.

That is not the only anniversary being celebrated today. On this date 30 years ago, the first orbital mission of the Space Shuttle program was launched as Space Shuttle Columbia took off with Commander John Young (who is one of 12 men to have walked on the moon) and pilot Robert Crippen on board. The mission only lasted two days but obviously was a monumental step in space travel. The shuttle was way ahead of its time and I honestly don’t know when we’ll have a space craft like this again.

As part of the anniversary NASA announced where each of the remaining Space Shuttles will reside once NASA retires the fleet later this year. The prototype Enterprise, will be moved from the Smithsonian extension near Dulles Airport just outside of Washington D.C will be moved to New York City. It will be replaced there by Space Shuttle Discovery. Really looking forward to seeing both of them in the near future.

William Shatner narrated a fifteen minute video for NASA to commemorate this anniversary.

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LEGO Space Shuttle 3367LEGO Discovery: Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery landing

As you may or may not know, Space Shuttle Discovery is in its final mission right now. The Shuttle is scheduled to land at 11:57:26 AM ET. If you don’t have access to NASA TV you can watch the landing on NASA’s live stream.

Live Videos by Ustream

EDIT: If you missed the landing earlier NASA has put up a video.

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Large amounts of water located on the Moon

Remember the NASA mission from late last year where they planned on “bombing” the moon? That mission has turned out to be successful. These probes discovered enough water that could possibly be processed and used by a potential Lunar Base similar to the International Space Station.

Will this make the Obama administration (or for that matter a future administration) reconsider another set of manned missions to the moon? Would you support a NASA base on the moon? I have mentioned in the past that I want to see this happen in my lifetime.

As more resources are found on the moon and other parts of space the question naturally becomes, who owns these resources?


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Journey to the Moon: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 1140th Anniversary Apollo 11 Capsule

On this date 41 years ago….

Anyone who knows me knows about my fascination with the Apollo Program.

“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Today is the 41st anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon and Neil Armstrong taking the most famous first steps in the history of mankind. Are Neil Armstrong’s first words from the surface of the moon the most famous quotes in history? Hard to argue against it right? What else would rank up there? “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” simply can not be topped. Right?

One of my biggest regrets in life will always be that I was in Florida (in Orlando to be exact) in the week leading up to the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing and was not able to attend any of the festivities at Cape Canevral. Even the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour that I went to see ended up being called off 5 minutes before launch time. That wasn’t even the worst of it, the 40 minute drive back to Orlando took us 4 hours because of the traffic backup exiting from the vicinity of Cape Canevral. I did mange to catch the launch of the Shuttle from the airport. A huge crowd gathered at the airport gate as we all looked out the window and saw the orange glow shooting towards the sky. It was an amazing site watching all the planes grounded on the runway as they waited for the shuttle to clear their airspace.

What more is there to say about Apollo 11 that hasn’t already been said? I’ll direct you to my post from last year on this same subject. We’ve all seen the clips of Neil Armstrong’s first step but one thing I do like to share with people every year is the speech that was prepared for Richard Nixon by speech writer William Safire. It was a speech prepared just in case there was an  accident while they were on the moon and the astronauts could not be brought back to earth. It really is a fascinating read.

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

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Minicraft Models Updated Shuttle 1/144 ScaleApollo 11: Men on the Moon

“Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here…”

“Houston, we have a problem.”

Those words were made famous by Tom Hanks starring as astronaut Jim Lovell in the 1995 Ron Howard movie “Apollo 13“. It was a great line for Hollywood but the line it was adapted from was just as dramatic and the dangers very real. On April 13th 1970, Jim Lovell and his crew were nearly 200,000 miles away away from earth when he said “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here…” Know one knew for sure what exactly had happened at that point but an unprecedented rescue mission was immediately underway. Everyone involved knew the dangers of manned space flight but up until this point nothing of this nature had ever transpired. We’ve seen the movie and even read up on it but it is an incident that has largely been forgotten by the world. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that no one died and they did manage to get the 3 astronauts back to earth.

The whole Apollo program was a great advancement for science. Man walked on the moon way back in 1969 but unfortunately we’ve been no where close to going back since 1971. We’ve heard all the arguments against space travel. We’ve heard everything from the economy to funding for other programs. What people fail to realize is that those Gemini and Apollo programs effected technology back on earth too. The money spent on research for those missions had other practical uses for every day life just like any future manned space flights would. For decades every American administration has spent a ridiculous amount of money on national defense. There are so many people working in the military industry whether it is building planes, weapons or body armor. There are so many people working in this industry that war almost becomes a necessity to justify it and so do the ridiculous defense budgets. I mean where would all these people go if the defense budget was cut like every other program? Why can’t we redirect some of this money towards NASA and their research?

Earlier today Neil Armstrong who was the first man to walk on the moon, criticized President Obama’s space policy. The views do hold some weight as Neil Armstrong doesn’t really speak publicly much anymore and for him to do it on this anniversary is pretty significant.

Where do you sit on manned space flight? Do you want to see it happen again? Do you see it happening in your lifetime? 

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and BeyondApollo 13Apollo 13 (15th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

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