Below are my tweets and photos from the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum's Time and Navigation exhibit which opens Friday, April 12th. The exhibit features navigation the evolution of navigation technology from the sea, to the air, to space, and now in our smartphones. Yesterday's preview has more detail. Check out the photos below!
The Smithsonian National Air and Space museum is unveiling a new exhibit entitled Time & Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting From Here to There. The exhibit will focus on navigators - the folks that served as the back seat drivers for many famous pilots, drivers, captains, and others. Exhibits from famous names such as sea Captain Charles Wilkes and pilot Charles Lindbergh will be featured, as well as Mariner 10, the first spacecraft to reach Mercury.
An excerpt from the Smithsonian blog reads as follows:
Today, the navigator as a crew member has largely disappeared from most commercial and military long-distance operations, replaced by microprocessors in the form of GPS and inertial navigation systems, but from the 1930s to the 1980s, the navigator was an essential crewmember on many long-distance commercial and military flights.
The exhibit will open to the public on Friday, April 12th - make sure to check it out next time you're in DC!
I'm in Houston, and I'll be reporting live from another one of my favorite events - NASA social! As usual, I'll be tweeting from @ShareefJackson using the #NASASocial hashtag - check it out! I'll bring the latest news even though I'm surrounded by the wonders of Whataburgers and various BBQ places. I even drove past a place named Hot Biscuit ... hmmm ...
I'll also get a behind the scenes view of Johnson Space Center, including Mission Control and the Robonaut lab. There are autonomous robots that help NASA with many tasks, including one on the space station itself!
Mission Control is where they coordinate flights once they have been launched, and of course we all know "Houston, We Have A Problem"
On Feb 9th, 1995, Dr. Bernard Harris Jr. became the first African American to perform a space walk (EVA for extra vehicular activity). A space walk essentially consists of leaving the confines of a spacecraft while in space. You may have seen astronauts moving around the outside of a spacecraft to make repairs and make other observations.
From Dr. Harris's bio, "he enjoys flying, sailing, skiing, running, scuba diving, art and music." Talk about well rounded, considering that he also holds degrees in medicine and bio medical science. Some people are just awesome. He's also a member of my fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Dr. Harris founded the Harris Foundation with the mission "to invest in community-based initiatives to support education, health and wealth". Check a video from the foundation below - if you can't see it, click here.
Today is the official day of remembrance for the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia tragedies. I've previously posted about Apollo and Challenger - today is the 10th anniversary of the loss of space shuttle Columbia, which perished upon reentry in 2001.
As we undertake the next generation of discovery, today we pause to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the journey of exploration.
Space exploration and the sacrifice these pioneers made benefits us all.
So while the Day of Remembrance is in part a time of sadness, it is also a time of contemplation and thankfulness. It is a time to be thankful that these great men and women shared their lives with us; that they helped advance our nation and made life better on Earth; and that they are still united with us in that shared pursuit.
NASA established the Mercury and Gemini missions in the 50s and early 60s. These missions were designed to launch men into space in preparation for an actual trip to another celestial body, which would be accomplished with the Apollo missions. Apollo 1 serves as a great example of the courage of scientists that risk their lives daily to further our understanding of the universe.
On Jan 27, 1964, Astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee were set to fly on Apollo 1 in the mission then known as Apollo 204.. Unfortunately, the Command Module caught fire during launch pad testing with the astronauts inside. The subsequent report included recommendations that helped establish the safety procedures and redundant design that saved the lives of countless men and women over the past 49 years.
Most people are familiar with Apollo 11, where Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins successfully made it to the moon and back. Tom Hanks and the movie Apollo 13 helped bring that mission involving the salvaging of a botched mission to the mainstream. Apollo 1 should be held in the same regard, especially since the sacrifice of the three astronauts led to the massive improvements needed for NASA to achieve its job.