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Day 3: November 15, 2022 – Go or No Go: That is the Question

We were eager to get back to the Kennedy Space Center to see all the things that we missed yesterday.

Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other

We stood in a theatre to watch an amazing movie about the shuttle. People made out of the box comments that at first seemed impossible like bringing it back to Florida on a plane. At the end of the movie, the screen in front of us opened … and there in front of us was the Atlantis Space Shuttle.

Atlantis: The Space Shuttle Atlantis went to space 33 times. It is like a giant space pickup truck. The front is the size of a cockpit. There was a crew of seven people for 2 weeks. It is like camping but there is no free time. There is hard work to be done but there is a beautiful view.

Launching and landing are always the most difficult times. The spacecraft is coated with fire and plasma that is ten times hotter than the sun. Special tiles cover aluminum to make it possible for a safe return. Reentry begins in Australia in order to land in Florida one hour later. There are special tires that can take the speed of 220mph at landing.

International Space Station (ISS) Triumph of Technology The International Space Station has had occupants from 15 countries. There have been people continuously living in space on the space station for 22 years.

Going through the ISS is more fun when there is no gravity. It really hurt my knees. It doesn’t seem to bother smiling Rob.
One can see the ISS in the sky. Use this website to find out when it is passing overhead in your area.

Shuttle Launch Experience was a simulator that we were allowed to experience. There was a “whole lot of shaking goin on” to coin a lyric from the late Jerry Lee Lewis.

Even leaving the Space Shuttle Experience seemed visually space age inspired.

Hubble Space Telescope Theatre gave a wonderful demonstration of what and how far that we can see into space. The presenter made a side by side comparison of pictures from the Hubble Telescope with James Webb Telescope.

Here is a full scale replica of the Hubble Telescope.

The Space Shuttle has an enormous payload area. It carried the Hubble telescope in its bay. Hubble was supposed to last 15 years, but is still functional after 33 years. They had to do some maintenance and an astronaut used the Canada arm on the International Space Station to go inside and fix it.

Forever Remembered is a place where we can remember those that died in the Challenger and Columbia Space Shuttle explosions. NASA wants to talk about these tragedies which motivates them to do better and ensure safety. NASA wants their lives to inspire others and not be forgotten. The crew in both missions were very diverse, and there were individual displays of each their inspirational lives.

In 2011 the space shuttle flew its last mission. NASA would no longer fly astronauts to the International Space Station. The Artemis launch tonight has been a long awaited return to space.

Astronaut Training Simulators

Simulators are for kids of all ages!!!

NASA: Now + Next

Journey to Mars was a live show that talks about NASA plans to go into deep space.

This poster captured our attention. It brings new meaning to “boots on the ground”.
Sometimes we think only of astronauts, but living in space will take all types of skills.

I am always interested in how a human is able to live in space.

Any guesses? It’s s toilet. It disconcerting that you have to strap in … and there is a suction hose involved.
This space suit is to ensure that any space dust doesn’t get tracked into their space capsules. Mother’s take note. I see an earthly application!!

We learned that they don’t eat bread in space because the crumbs float around and clog up the instruments. They use tortillas instead. Astronauts say that food tastes different in space. They crave spicy. Salsa, spicy mustard, and hot sauce are in high demand. I think that it is more that food vacuum-sealed in a bag won’t taste like Mom’s home cooking!

Spaceport was an experience ride where you got to choose your adventure into deep space to destinations unknown and unimaginable. We chose Asteroids because the line was shorter. Regardless, we had to wait 45 minutes.

Asteroid Hunters was a movie that focused on the threat from asteroids and what we can do about those asteroids that might impact the earth.

Gateway is the space mission that looks to objectives in the future which are threefold: low earth orbit, deep space transport, and surface habitation on the Moon and Mars. The Artemis mission is the start of meeting these objectives.

Mission Status Briefing. This was a live update of the launch this evening. We felt that we were part of the action.

The Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo mission held the record for the most powerful engine. Some of these engines were used on the shuttle and will be used for the final time on Artemis. Artemis will use 8.8 billion pounds of thrust tonight and will break the record of the most powerful launch in the world. Shaking can be felt as far as Orlando which is 40 miles away. (After the launch, we heard that it destroyed some of the structures on the launch pad and melted fences surrounding the rocket.

This is the Orion capsule made by Lockheed Martin. Our son-in-law Nathan started working for them in October. He was on call for the launch!!!!
Inside the Orion Capsule
The ceiling of the Orion Capsule.

Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion by Lockheed are the main components of the Artemis Launch. There is the Launch Control Center (or Mission Control) that decides if it is a go or no go on launch day.

In mythology Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo. This series of launches was named Artemis because we are returning to the lunar surface.

We were able to see the SLS and Orion from a distance during the day and at night prior to the launch.

The Crawler takes the spacecraft to the launching pad from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). It travels one mile an hour and is 18 lanes wide. The road is gravel. Cement would be sure to buckle under all that weight.

After Stage 1 has exhausted the liquid hydrogen which is volatile, powerful and expensive, the SLS+Orion loses 90% of its weight and jettisons its powerful F-1 engines into ocean.

Today there are private companies to launch satellite systems and shuttle people to the International Space Station. There is competition for collaboration. This has freed up NASA resources to explore deep space.

The future of Space exploration rests with the dreamers, thinkers, and adventurers and starts in the imagination of our youth. STEM is the foundation and is the building blocks for this imagination to flourish. The work and effort in the space program translated into products that we use today. Memory foam was developed by NASA.

THE LAUNCH

This is what we came for!! We had to make a plan. Rob scouted out some places to watch the launch the previous day.. He wanted the big three: a good view, a good parking spot and a restroom nearby.

Here was a consideration. Wait! What does that sign say? I don’t think so… especially at night!!!
We found a good parking lot in a small park … but it was filling fast. Many people in campers just pulled over beside the road. Many people had telescopes set up. We parked at 6:00pm for the 1:04am launch window. We walked to a nearby Mexican restaurant.
Here is our prelaunch view. Artemis is the bright light on the left. It was a clear night and a full moon.
This guy was our local expert. He had things set up. It turned out that he and his son had worked onArtemis … for the past 10 years. He said many people had been hired away from NASA to Space X and Blue Origin because they pay A LOT more.
Here is a snapshot of the group that was waiting. We planted our chairs in a great spot to see the big event! (I have a Strongback Chair which has amazing back support. Slingback chairs are hard on backs… especially for long periods of time.)

During the evening Artemis had a hydrogen leak, and they sent out the Red Crew to tighten some bolts. (Yikes!! This might be the most dangerous job of all … a spark from your tool around nitogen.) Then they had refill the hydrogen that had leaked. This caused a delay. Then there was an ethernet switch at a tracking station that was faulty and needed to be switched out. This caused another delay.

We asked out expert if the launch would be scrapped, and he said no because the spacecraft is not built to withstand a lot of vibration taking it to and from the Vehicle Assembly Building, AND all the batteries onboard were nearing expiration. They would need to all be replaced with fresh batteries. This required the spacecraft to be disassembled and then reassembled. They will try their best to launch tonight.

The launch was now set for 1:47am. All systems are go. We are in our perfect seats. We start the countdown 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Liftoff!!

And this is what we saw…

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qNZgUg_kyaY”

Note for those of you reading the email of the post: You can see the video by going to the blog online at https://rtwstreets.com/ to view the video there.

 

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