Archive for the ‘Columbus’ Category

Shuttle Launched: Most Americans Yawn

February 8, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 8, 2008

The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis blasted into orbit Thursday with Europe’s gift to the international space station, a $2 billion science lab named Columbus.

The lab is filled with racks for experiments and research euipment and has fixtures on its exterior to host research exposed to the vacuum of space.  The lab represents the latest international addition to a facility already made of structures from the United States, Russia and Canada.

“It shows that there is a real partnership between communities,” NASA Administrator Mike Griffin said.

Space Shuttle Atlantis
Atlantis before the launch of
STS-115, August 29, 2006.

The launch followed a two month delay due to problems with fuel guages.

Yet this terrific national and international achievement of nations working together to venture into space and even live there seemed to be overlooked by most Americans.
art.shuttle.atlantis.launch.jpg

Atlantis blasts off February 7, 2008 on its way to the international space station to deliver a science lab.

The Fox News Channel televised the launch live, but viewers of other networks blissfully watched normal programming.  NBC aired Ellen Degeneris and ABC and CBS featured soap operas.

The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams did cover the shuttle mission: for exactly 28 seconds.The Washington Post editions of February 8 featured a picture with a caption — but no article and no crew names.

One was reminded of the scene in the Tom Hanks movie “Apollo 13” when the networks ignored a TV feed from space.
The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off Thursday afternoon Feb. ... 
The shuttle launch on February 7, 2008

Americans seemed to yawn.

But this shuttle mission, like each and every one of them, is a technological marvel and a wonder of experimentation and scientific achievement.  And men (and women) risk their lives in this process: high drama indeed.
The crew of space shuttle Atlantis departs their quarters for ...
The brave crew of space shuttle Atlantis departs their quarters for the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida February 7, 2008. Clockwise from left are Pilot Alan Poindexter, Leland Melvin, Stanley Love, France’s Leopold Eyharts, Germany’s Hans Schlegel, Rex Walheim and Mission Commander Stephen Frick. Mission STS-122 will take Atlantis to the International Space Station.
REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES)  

The two billion dollar science lab inside Atlantis is Columbus. Columbus, built by Europeans, will join the U.S. lab, Destiny, which was launched aboard Atlantis exactly seven years ago.

The much bigger Japanese lab Kibo, or Hope, will require three shuttle flights to get off the ground, beginning in March.

Atlantis’ commander, Stephen Frick, and his U.S., German and French crew will reach the space station on Saturday and begin installing Columbus the very next day. Three spacewalks are planned during the flight, scheduled to last 11 or, more likely, 12 days.

“We’re looking forward to doing our part to bring it up to Peggy Whitson and her crew on the international space station, and start its good work and many, many years of science,” Frick said before launch.

Besides Columbus, Atlantis will drop off a new space station resident, French Air Force Gen. Leopold Eyharts, who will swap places with NASA astronaut Daniel Tani and get Columbus working. Tani will return to Earth aboard the shuttle, ending a mission of nearly four months.

Eyharts will move into the space station for a little more than a month, replacing NASA astronaut Daniel Tani. He plans to help continue setting up and activating the Columbus module, Europe’s primary contribution to the space station.

The astronauts awoke Friday to “Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel, a dedication to French Air Force Gen. Leopold Eyharts from his wife and family.

Eyharts greeted his loved ones in English and French, saying, “I know it has been a somehow hard day for them and I want to thank them.”

The space shuttle Atlantis flies above a cloud on its way into ...
The space shuttle Atlantis flies above a cloud on its way into orbit following liftoff Thursday afternoon Feb. 7, 2008 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) 

Some of the technological wonder of NASA was on display Friday morning.  The NASA TV channel and MS NBC broadcast an interview with International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers Peggy Whitson and Daniel Tani.

Astronaut Tani’s Mother died while he was aboard the ISS and NASA sent to him an audio and visual feed of her funeral service.

To NASA’s relief, all four fuel gauges in Atlantis’ external fuel tank worked properly during the final stage of the countdown. The gauges failed back in December because of a faulty connector, and NASA redesigned the part to fix the problem, which had been plaguing the shuttles for three years.

NASA was anxious to get Atlantis flying as soon as possible to keep alive its hopes of achieving six launches this year. The space agency faces a 2010 deadline for finishing the station and retiring the shuttles. That equates to four or five shuttle flights a year between now and then, something NASA Administrator Michael Griffin considers achievable.
Space shuttle Atlantis soars above clouds after liftoff from ... 

“Today we are opening a new chapter for ESA,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, the European Space Agency director general yesterday. “Just as Columbus discovered the New World, with Columbus, we are discovering a whole new world.”
 

Space shuttle Atlantis STS-122 commander Stephen Frick, front ...
Space shuttle Atlantis STS-122 commander Stephen Frick, front row right, pilot Alan Poindexter, left. Second row, mission specialist Rex Walheim, right, mission specialist Leland Melvin, left. Third row, European Space Agency astronaut Hans Schlegel of Germany, right, mission specialist Stanley Love and last row, European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts of France , obscured, are seen on their way to pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Thursday Feb. 7, 2008. Atlantis is scheduled to launch Thursday afternoon on a 11-day mission to deliver Columbus, a laboratory module built by the European Space Agency.
(AP Photo/Terry Renna)

Atlantis is scheduled to remain operational until 2010, but is not currently scheduled for any missions beyond 2008.
Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy ... 

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Chistopher Columbus: World’s Finest Navigator (and Fundraiser)

October 8, 2007

By John E. Carey
October 8, 2008

First we salute Christopher Columbus, a wise mariner and colonizer. Mostly we think of him as a great navigator but let’s not forget that he also had to raise his own money for his adventures by “pitching” his plans around Europe. On May 1, 1486, Columbus laid out his plans before Queen Isabella, of Spain, who funded the project. Columbus then built, manned and supplied a three ship unit.

Christopher Columbus

Portrait by Alejo Fernández, painted between 1505 and 1536. Photo by historian Manuel Rosa.

Christopher Columbus faced immense challenges.  His critics said the earth was flat and he would fall off.  Few people had any idea how large the earth was or the distances between unexplored places.  And finally, Chistopher Columbus had no accurate timepiece. Estimating longitude depends on accurate time measurement. No reliable chronometer existed in the 14th and 15th centuries. Time was kept on board ship by the use of sand filled hour glasses which had to be watched and turned hourly.  

As a former Naval Officer who had to raise money, give some “pitches” and navigate in my own life, at sea and ashore, I have the deepest admiration for Christopher Columbus and his tenacity.

Pretty cool guy.

Notes from the shop

My wife and I run a small business — but she does all the work. I admit it!

I try to sit quietly at the computer doing research and cranking out newspaper articles.

And I also tell stories to people purely for the entertainment and fellowship (and I don’t mean just men: no offense intended to the women out there!).

Today I told stories about Columbus.

One customer today was born in Bolivia and I told him he might not be here if not for Chris Columbus. I told him he has two ties to Columbus: his life in the Americas and his Spanish language.  The Bolivian man was impressed that Columbus found this land but he also convinced a  Spanish Queen to fund the quest!

Another customer, who is a 49 year old mailman who walks five miles every day, was born in Brazil. He thought Columbus did an incredible job at navigation and said, “Whenever I get a new route I need a map. Columbus followed the stars and his dream.”

A woman born in Thailand added that the key to life is hope, your dream and determination. She thought Columbus would say that if he lived today.

Like a lot of Asian-Americans she spent time at sea as a refugee.

One customer, named Shaka, told me he is named for the greatest warrior of all time: Shaka who united the  Zulu nation in Africa. He said Shaka is viewed and respected for his military adeptness like Attila the Hun or Alexander the Great.  He said that Columbus was just as important as Shaka and maybe more so because Columbus had no idea what he would find or quite how he would find it.  In fact, Columbus was searching for India (that is why Native Americans have been referred to as “Indians”).

I told two day laborers born in Guatamala that Columbus probably landed closer to what is today Guatamala than say New York! Their response: “We don’t know much because all we do is work.”

All we do is work: a common thread among many of first generation American immigrants.

Finally, my own wife escaped Vietnam with the “Boat People” after the fall of Saigon in 1975.   She has no love of the sea’s vastness and perils.

About Columbus she said, “Don’t even think about it. He has to make that trip without me in the crew.”

Read more about Columbus:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus#Funding_campaign