Friday, we went to see Endeavour’s fly-by of NASA Ames. Ming wasn’t too crazy to go at first, but she relented. It’s the last time anyone was going to see a shuttle in the air. Although Maximilian isn’t going to remember this, I still wanted him there. (Got to start them out early on science.)
When reading up about the shuttle retirement, I came across this image on wikicommons:
This flag first flew on the first shuttle mission, and then again on the last one. It was left behind on the ISS to be retrieved by next US launched manned mission. It’s kind of sad and nice at the same time. A “We will return,” promise. (Albeit not likely in a spaceplane.) I had no idea that this flag existed. NASA has also slated this flag to fly on the next manned mission to leave Earth orbit. The sentimental part of me likes that there’s this symbol that’s passed from crew to crew, even if its history only goes back to 1981 instead of 1961.
NASA’s inspector general is still gunning for Hanger One. Essentially, the IG and NASA HQ are upset with Ames Research Center’s leasing of property to private groups such as Singularity University, Airship Ventures, and the Google Triumvirate, and insist that future leases correspond to “current or future mission[s]”, and to sell any properties that can’t be leased. I believe the IG is referring in particular to the airfield itself.
Not having any particular knowledge beyond what I find in the local papers, but that seems a bit strange. I thought NASA Ames was one of the centers that was researching heavy lift airships for cargo transport to remote areas, and that Hanger One was intended to be used for these airships.
Thursday, September 20, 2012 between 9:00 am and 9:30 am, the Space Shuttle Endeavour is going to make a fly over of NASA Ames on it’s way down to Los Angeles and its destiny of being a museum piece. I’ve went to a launch of STS-26, the return-to-flight mission after Challenger, and I saw the shuttle sitting on the 747 at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi of all places back in the early 90s.
It would be nice to see it in the wild one more time.
Update Thu Sep 20 21:58:51 PDT 2012
Shuttle delayed. It’s coming tomorrow (Friday, September 21) at approximately the same time.
Today I learned that NASA makes available for download 3d models of various spacecraft and ancillary equipment. Want a LEM? They got that. Want a a space shuttle? They have five. Vehicle Assembly Building? Launch Gantry? Crawler? Got it. Got it. Got it. Want an astronaut? Sure thing. Don’t want the whole thing? No problem.
It’s pretty cool that NASA is making these available. I guess the original intention was for these models to be used for things like XPlanet or Celestia, but I discovered these through people are using these to print 3D models.
3D printing is interesting, but it seems like most things that people are printing are just toys. Don’t get me wrong, part of me kind of likes the idea of printing toys for Maximilian, but it seems a hard to justify spending $1800 on a toy maker.