The Space Age: Shuttles and Stations


When the average American thinks about space, both the space shuttle and the space station usually come to mind. Two milestones related to both of these achievements are being celebrated this week!

I was lucky enough to see Atlantis take off last year, and now it is taking on its final journey - a 10 mile trek from the Vehicle Assembly Building (where shuttles hang out)  to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) visitor center. This will definitely be the easiest of the shuttle retirement trips, but it is still a task that requires intense expertise and planning. C

The International Space Station also celebrates a milestone - 12 years ago, the first crew began living on the station!  Check out the crew of Expedition 1 below, consisting of USA Commander Bill Shepherd and Russian Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko. The ISS has served as a beacon of international cooperation, especially between the former Cold War adversaries.  They've worked together to provide wonderful images like this one provided by my Google+ buddy Erica Joy, 

Shuffle Your Way To a Shuttle in LA



Amazing shot of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.  It recently flew from Florida to LAX, and its currently navigating at 2 miles an hour through the streets of LA on its way to the California Science Center, where it will be on display.  This is definitely one day where I wish I was not on the east coast!

Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands in Houston

Flickr photo from Lucas A Worthen

The space shuttle Endeavour has completed part of its two leg journey from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the California Science Center in Exposition Park, in the Los Angeles area. It's currently enjoying a stopover in Houston.  There is a fantastic Flickr group of photos, as well as the #SpotTheShuttle hashtag on Twitter.  

The rest of the journey is highlighted in this clip from the LA Times:

On Thursday, the 747 will refuel at El Paso's Biggs Army Airfield before heading to Edwards Air Force Base in California, where it will be housed overnight.

The shuttle will depart the Mojave Desert base about 7:15 a.m. Friday and will fly low over Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond and Mojave before heading north to Sacramento, NASA officials said.

There, Endeavour will fly over the Capitol and turn to San Francisco, where those hoping to catch a glimpse of the shuttle are advised to watch from one of several Bay Area museums, including the Chabot Space and Science Center, the Exploratorium, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Once the shuttle reaches the Los Angeles area about 10:30 a.m., the orbiter will be carried over landmarks including the Getty Center, the Griffith Observatory, Malibu and Disneyland before landing at Los Angeles International Airport. It will also fly over the California Science Center in Exposition Park, its new permanent home.

Check the livestream of the Houston landing below.

Live stream videos at Ustream

Hey New York? Stop Messing Up The Shuttle Experience


When the space shuttles were first awarded to different cities across the country, I was a little peeved that New York was awarded one.  There are cities such as Houston that are more deserving of a shuttle due to a direct connection to the space program

Now, the geniuses are deciding to keep the Shuttle under a plastic bubble so that no one can see it. Why? The only thing that tempered my feeling about New York landing the shuttle was how awesome it would look on top of the Intrepid.  The current implementation has it hidden away behind an ugly bubble that's not even transparent, so you can't see anything unless you pay the $24 Intrepid museum fee.

It gets worse. On top of that, you have to pay an extra $6 in addition to the normal museum fee. Again, why? At the very most, it should be a suggested donation. No city should be able to get something as valuable as a shuttle without a plan to offer it free. Or, you know, don't put it in an ugly dome that people can't even see off of the highway or while flying into NYC.


#ScienceLooksGood: Shuttle in NYC, Venus Transit

One reason that I blog about science and technology is so that it can be accessible to everyone. Photos are a great way to communicate the complexity of science without dipping too far into the details. Check out these beautiful photos of the Space Shuttle in NYC and Venus overlayed over the Sun!


Shuttle in NYC!

Picture courtesy of

Check out this amazing pic of the Space Shuttle Enterprise near the World Trade Center site.  The Enterprise never actually flew in space, but it was the prototype model that NASA used to run tests and prove the aerodynamics of flight for reentry. It's currently heading on a barge to the Intrepid Museum in midtown NYC.


Venus Transit!

Picture and video courtesy of Universe Today

This photo is a compilation of several photos of the planet Venus as it crosses between Earth and the Sun.  Due to the orbits and rotations of both planets, it is extremely rare for Venus to be visible between Earth and the Sun.  As a matter of fact, this will not occur again until 2116. More photos are available from NASA.

Gizmodo has a great article on the importance of the transit of Venus throughout history.  From the article:

Transits of Venus were scientific gold for early astronomers, who used them to derive an accurate measurement of the size of the solar system. By noting the time each planet took to go around the sun, and then crunching that data via methods developed by 17th century mathematician Johannes Kepler, these telescope-equipped boffins could determine each planet's relative distance from the sun, as measured in terms of astronomical units (the distance from the Earth to the Sun). Collecting such data during a transit was the reason Captain Cook was able to travel halfway around the world from London to Tahiti in 1769.