Happy autumn! The weather is great here in Houston. I’m writing this with the living room sliding door open for the first time since April, I think. the nice weather is just in time for the excitement of Endeavour’s cross-country trip from KSC to LAX, which started on Wednesday and ends today. Some of my own pictures and video are below, mixed in with some stuff I grabbed from the popular blogs. Enjoy!
There was a lot of activity on Twitter this week with the hashtag #spottheshuttle. I bet if you follow it more today you will see great pictures of Endeavour over California sights!
Below is a time-lapse of the last Space Shuttle Orbiter mating to an SCA (Shuttle Carrier Aircraft). Also the last use of a mate-demate device at the Shuttle Landing Facility.
On Wednesday Endeavour flew over the gulf coast to land just a few miles away from my home. I was at work near the Ellington Field airport when she arrived. Later that evening I got to go see her up close!
Thursday morning I got up early to see Endeavour leave. Here is my video of her takeoff. It’s not very good – iPhone 4 video – but it is uniquely mine!
And here’s my favorite still that I got of Endeavour flying over JSC before turning Northeast to leave Houston for good.
After she left Houston on Thursday Endeavour toured the rest of Texas with a stopover in El Paso before flying over Tucson and then landing at Edwards.
Down to Earth
There is a new legislative bill out there (in the US House) to change the management structure of NASA drastically. The idea is to make NASA less politicized so that money will not so often be wasted on cancelled programs. It’s an interesting premise that I think is worth talking about. However, Parabolic Arc points out that maybe the bill is a bit misleading about how much money has actually been “wasted” in the past.
Speaking of Congress, the House recently passed a bill confirming that astronauts own any artifacts they may still have from the Apollo era. Hopefully this means there will be no more stories int he news about American heroes suing the US government (or the other way around). It seems the law may still be ambiguous when it comes to actual moon rocks, however.
NASA and SpaceX have officially announced October 7th as the launch date of the next Dragon resupply mission. I will be working the “planning shift” the day before Dragon arrives at ISS.
Before Dragon arrives, ATV will be departing the ISS next week on the 25th.
Of course, the vehicles coming and going are just logistics. ISS is all about the people, the science, and the engineering (see my previous post). So I would remiss not to point out the triathlon that Sunita Williams ran on ISS September 16th or her account of what HTV departure was like.
Around the Solar System
Curiosity continues to send back beautiful pictures of the foothills of Aeolis Mons.
Curiosity is also taking a look at an unusual rock on Mars that looks like a pyramid. Very strange.