Sometimes you get lucky. But you also make your own luck.
Today at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center, a new exhibit opened called “Forever Remembered.” Its an exhibit honoring the astronauts that died in both the Challenger accident in ’86 and the Columbia accident in ’03. I went early this morning in case I could not make it back in the afternoon, and that’s where I was fortunate. While the Atlantis museum was open, they were still keeping the public out of "Forever Remembered" a little longer because family members of the fallen astronauts were still taking time to go through it. A very reasonable request... After it opened, I decided I wanted to know more. I found a couple of different family members and struck up conversations about the astronauts along with what this new exhibit meant to them.
One of the people I said hello to was Chuck Resnik, Judy Resnik’s brother. Judy was one of the astronauts that died in the Challenger explosion in January of ’96. It was a real experience to see how some families really appreciated the efforts and meaning of the exhibit.
That would have been enough for me.
But Day 2 with NASASocial then began and we had a great tour of the International Space Station Processing Facility. It’s the building where over 90 percent of the space station was built. The opportunity to talk to engineers and other people involved with ongoing space missions and what they are working on is just fascinating and fuels the imagination.
The IDA-1 is the key piece being launched tomorrow morning to the ISS. It’s the game-changer in terms of how manned flights and cargo missions will dock with the ISS. It’s a universal docking system that allows many different types of ships to dock with the station and thus increases the types of cargo and other missions that can be flown up there. Right now it’s restricted to certain ships that can only dock a certain way. I tweeted a photo of one docking adapter that will go up in a couple of missions.
Then come the kids! A class of eighth graders created an experiment to test whether worms can compost in zero gravity. They created it, designed it, engineered it, communications, etc…. They did it all and it launches tomorrow. The two kids representing their class were humorous, intelligent, well-thought, and you can tell were having fun at the press conference. I hope more people learn about how to get kids involved. What an amazing opportunity for them but even adults learned things from what they said today. Maybe the best statement was, “Keep it Simple. If it’s not working, you’re probably making it too hard.”
Yup. Got that one in the memory bank.
Tomorrow is the launch and we’ll view the launch pad around 1:30 a.m. The launch then happens at 10:21:12. That’s right, 12 seconds after 10:21 and a project manager said the launch has a one second launch window. That can delay it up to a minute he said but that is far from ideal. Here’s hoping they hit that time.
If you ever have a chance to participate in one of these NASASocial events, do it. Apply and do it. They had nearly 1,000 applications and chose 50 for this one. Take the chance and get chosen. It’s well worth it and what you see and learn will fuel your intrigue even more.
Heading back to the visitors center to take in more of what I didn’t see this morning.
Thanks for reading…..