Last Wednesday’s visit to Johnson Space Center for the Orion EFT-1 #NASASocial event was jam packed with unique access and VIP tours of facilities, on and around JSC in Houston. I’ve finally gotten around to loading some of my videos from the day.
First, John McCullough, Chief Flight Director at JSC, gives the members of the JSC #NASASocial group a tour of the Apollo Mission Control Center (video credit: John Miller):
Below, you will see and hear Lee Morin, MD, Phd, talk about radiation and Orion. Lee is heading up the team that is using 3D printing to design the human interface elements of the Orion capsule.
Next Up: John McCullough, Chief Flight Director at JSC, gives us a walkthrough of the Orion EFT-1 Flight, discusses the Exploration Mission Timeline of the Orion Program, and talks about potential pitfalls with the EFT-1 mission
Early this morning, I received notification that I was selected to attend one of the NASA Social meetups (scheduled for December 3, 2014), prior to the test flight of their Orion Spacecraft.
I was also one of the 100 (or so) lucky folks to attend the very first NASA Tweetup, for the STS-129 launch, way back in November of 2009.
And, living in the wilds of Arkansas these past four years, I’m having some serious space-coast withdrawals.
A very special thank you to the social media folks at NASA for this fantastic opportunity.
Now – where’s the best place to stay in Houston near JSC?
For those not familiar with the quote in the title, it’s a line from the ubiquitous holiday movie, “A Christmas Story”.
The Old Man jaunts about the living room after receiving a Wester Union telegram informing him of winning a “major award.”
That’s pretty much how I feel this morning.
I just found out I’m one of one hundred “tweeters” invited to the NASA TweetUp during the launch of STS-129 on November 15-16, 2009 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This is me (the relevant scene is at the 5 minute mark if it doesn’t start right there):
I’m a huge fan of NASA (the idea), but not so much NASA the government agency.
After six more launches, human space flight – at least for the next decade – is a total question mark for NASA.
We frequent the KSC Visitor Complex at least once a month. We go to Shuttle launches. We attend Camp KSC.
And all I can do is wonder – why are we about to mothball a brain trust that we have spent the last 50 years developing?
I’m not a huge proponent of continuing to tread water in low earth orbit. If the U.S. is to continue HSF, it needs to go big – or go home.
As we often do, sometimes we’ll drive the Space Coast and come to KSC north from Florida Highway 3 (which runs right through the Space Center). When you drive north on FL 3, you have to take a left on Space Commerce Way to get to the Visitor Center – about a 5 mile drive.
Space Commerce Way is a fantastic metaphor for the state of NASA today – it is nothing but a hard path with swampland on either side. And absolutely no space commerce of any kind to be found along the way.
All I can do for now is hope for someone with vision – maybe my kids’ generation – to rekindle the dream.
Because for now, it all but appears to be dying.