So my faithful followers may have noticed that recently there has been a large amount of NASA and space related content from me. Some people think that this is new, in reality it has been an interest of mine for most of my life. One of the earliest experiences I can recall is watching the launch of the American half of Apollo-Soyuz in July of 1975. It is so clear to me, I even remember the room I was in at home down to the orange carpet.
My grandfather worked as a civilian at Fort Monmouth as part of the U.S. Army Electronics Command (CECOM), my understanding was in the Electronics Technology Laboratory. I remember use building models of TIROS satellites and talking about how relay communication worked when I was younger. He would share all sorts of stories and technology with me. I even had a jumpsuit like an astronaut that either my mother of grandmother made me. I even remember taking my first plane trip when I was six years old to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousin in the Washington DC area to go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. From that same summer I remember the The MacNeil/Lehrer Report talking about the Viking landings in 1976. One of the few toys/game I miss from my youth was a puzzle I got at the Smithsonian Air and Space that showed all sorts of facts about flight and space. I used to put that puzzle together all the time. It was not just to put the puzzle together and see the pictures, it had text on it so I could read about the X-15, the Wright brothers, and things in between.
In the early 1980′s I was fanatically following the Space Shuttle Project. I clipped articles and read magazines and covered my walls in articles and pictures. One of the cool things was I once again went and visited my family in the Washington DC area. My aunt worked in the Department of Education and luckily for me happened to be in a shared building with NASA. So that day not only did I get to go to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum again, I also literally got to walk the halls of NASA. How cool was that. I remember looking at the pictures on the wall and being awe struck. The coolest thing was that my aunt found some posters for me of the Space Shuttle. I mean original when the external tank was white. I also did all the typical space fan things such as building model rockets purchasing telescopes and sky gazing. My grandfather coached me through some math puzzlements so I could learn more.
Then came high school, I can remember sitting in biology class when the Challenger explosion occurred. Literally down to which seat. It was a sad day.
Once NASA got flying again, college and girls started to fill my attention. I was still interested in technology I just did not have as much time. Unfortunately at that point space flight got to be “common place” and I was not following it as much day to day or project to project. Through my job as an audio integrator I got to work on projects at the KSC Visitor’s Center, including the Saturn V Experience. Since I was living in Florida I went to a few launches.
I still watched and read quite a bit about space and space flight, but more of history than current. I read and watched The Right Stuff, From the Earth to the Moon, Lost Moon … etc. So I never lost the interest, I just was not as actively studying it and following. Then a friend of mine got selected to take part in a NASA Tweetup Event for a launch. I started following space more and more. I subscribed to the NASA twitter streams. I started getting the daily news letter. I would stream NASATV when hockey wasn’t on. It started creeping back in. Heck the last three books I have read are about space.
I kept entering for chances to take part in NASA Socials (the new name for tweetups as it is not just twitter). I kept on not getting selected, however I kept entering as hope spring eternal. Then came the one that I finally got picked for, “Celebrate Kennedy Space Center’s 50 Years of Human Spaceflight“. I would get to see the cool stuff you don’t get to see during the normal tours. I would get to go to the place where the program got off the ground. There was not a moment of hesitation I would be going, the hesitation was how would I pull it off.
The Lovely and Talented Wife (a.k.a. @GentlyMad) said she would help with the driving. Flying was cost prohibitive and driving approximately 20 hours each way on my own did not seem like a good idea. But it was on, I told the boss I was taking three days off and off we went.
Now comes the back half, digging out from the 1,000+ pictures I took and trying to capture as much of the experience as I can in words. So in the new few days and weeks expect to see heavy amount of space content coming. I expect the trend to continue for a while. Actually to quote the L&T Wife, “I hope the space bug continues”. So if you will excuse me, I have to go pack for another business trip, upload some photos, review some photos, and watch Mars Curiosity landing coverage.
Allow me to leave you with some humor, a conversation between Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Mars Curiosity as it traveled through space as captured by Sham Sensei.