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Space Shuttle

Kilted Arab

Well-Known Member
Apr 30, 2005
1,202
4
Watched the launch on tv yesterday and thought it was an awesome sight.

I read something a few years back that stuck in my mind. It was something like "When people think of german technology, they think of fantastic cars...when they think of Japanese technology, they think of televisions, dvds and the like - but the Americans - they're sending people into space and probes as far into the galaxy as you can imagine".

Kinda puts it into perspective - you guys should be proud.

Now, if you could only invent a golf club to make me hit straight...
 

Rockford35

Shark skin shoes
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Aug 30, 2004
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Kilted Arab said:
Now, if you could only invent a golf club to make me hit straight...


They can land a man on the moon, but they're not miracle workers, KA... :biglol:

R35
 
OP
Kilted Arab

Kilted Arab

Well-Known Member
Apr 30, 2005
1,202
4
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  • #3
Rockford35 said:
They can land a man on the moon, but they're not miracle workers, KA... :biglol:

R35

Ain't that the truth!

Slight addition to my initial post...here's hoping they all return safely.
 

VtDivot

SLIGHTERED
Supporting Member
Apr 16, 2005
7,154
32
Wife and I were in FL 2+ years ago to see the Columbia launch. It was an awesome sight even though we were 6 miles away (that's as close as you can get believe it or not)

It's horrible to think that those astronauts never made it back.
 

Bravo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
5,822
15
Here's a story of serendipity...

Everyone remembers the Challenger disaster in 86 when it blew up....

Turn the clock forward to 88. I am in Huntsville, Alabama on a business trip - about 90 miles from where I live. At the time, I sold computer software to physicians offices for billing and insurance claims. I meet a woman who runs a medical practice at a meeting and her husband is standing next to her. He starts asking all sorts of very technical questions about the hardware that I am clueless about. I ask him what he does for a living.

He says, "I am the Director of Data Network Operations for NASA". I am thinking, "yeah right and I am Jack Nicklaus".

So I continue the conversation with the wife and we schedule an appointment for me to come back there for a demo. I forgot about the husband and as I was getting ready to leave he says, "Would you like to see our data center?" I said sure and we agreed that I would go over to see him after my appointment with her at her office the following week.

So I drive to Huntsville the next week and do my demo at the doctor's office. Then, I drive over to NASA and follow a series of detailed instructions on getting into the compound. He meets me at a gate where a security guard has taken my ID information. We climb in his car and I figure we are going to head over to the data center.

We drive about half a mile and he stops and says, "Here is the original NASA Rocket Test Stand where the first rocket testing was done by Werner Von Braun and the German rocket team after they were brought over from Germany after WWII".

He then takes me into a huge hanger where I see the Space Station under construction.

Next stop is the Saturn V rocket test stand...a "building" that looks like a 35 story "chimney" where the Saturn rockets are test-fired.

I am effing awestruck. I am truly The Accidental Tourist. But it only gets better.

Then he says, "lets go over to the Ops Center". Remember this is not Mission Control, but Data Ops where they are controlling the worldwide NASA data network.

We go into a building an I am ushered into the Control Room which looks like something from a James Bond movie. I see 16 operators sitting at data monitors. On huge projection screens overhead, are graphics that show the entire world with NASA Ground Stations, such as Madagascar, Australia, Guam, etc - where satellite uplinks are maintained between the Shuttle as it orbits the globe. The whole room has backlighting so the operators can see their computer monitors as well as the screens above. Looks so utterly techy...

Then he says, "Would you like to go watch the launch?" I am thinking..."launch, what launch"? - but of course, I say OK.

We walk into an auditorium where perhaps 100 enginners are sitting...looking at a huge monitor that consists of a matrix of smaller monitors that make up a single image. Remember that this is 1988 and single large flat panel screens did not exist - so the best way to create a very large image was to matrix together many smaller CRT screens.

Then it hits me...today is the first launch of the next space shuttle - After the Challenger disaster. Through sheer utter dumb luck, here I am.

The mood in the room was somber - for reasons I did not understand at the time. Almost church-like with very little conversation - but what conversation there was - was very hushed.

I know everyone here at Shottalk has seen many launches on TV. This one looked just like that...the countdown...the ignition and liftoff....

Still the room is fairly quiet....until about 4-5 minutes into the mission - the room explodes in celebration.

I am completely puzzled by this. Why is everyone celebrating now? The liftoff was five minutes ago?

I ask my host and explains that the Challenger explosion was blamed on the Huntsville team because their job is to safely deliver the payload into space. They are the rocket team...the shuttle itself is manufactured and tested at a NASA facility somewhere else in the country (I cannot remember where). So the celebration occurred when some sort of hypothetical "handoff" had been made where their sub-mission of payload delivery had been accomplished.

Utterly amazing...then I got in my car and said, "What was That?!"
 

longiron

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2005
332
1
Bravo that is a great story. I do remember the Challenger. The let us out of school early that day. I saw on TV last night where a bird hit the front of the big rocket and there where some unknown objects seen falling off of some part. They also said that this would be the first time that the shuttle will be inspected in space. Prayers to them and there families for a safe return.
 

IrishGolfer

Fac ut gaudeam
Supporting Member
Sep 1, 2004
6,523
4,964
Bravo said:
Here's a story of serendipity...

Everyone remembers the Challenger disaster in 86 when it blew up....

Turn the clock forward to 88. I am in Huntsville, Alabama on a business trip - about 90 miles from where I live. At the time, I sold computer software to physicians offices for billing and insurance claims. I meet a woman who runs a medical practice at a meeting and her husband is standing next to her. He starts asking all sorts of very technical questions about the hardware that I am clueless about. I ask him what he does for a living.

He says, "I am the Director of Data Network Operations for NASA". I am thinking, "yeah right and I am Jack Nicklaus".

So I continue the conversation with the wife and we schedule an appointment for me to come back there for a demo. I forgot about the husband and as I was getting ready to leave he says, "Would you like to see our data center?" I said sure and we agreed that I would go over to see him after my appointment with her at her office the following week.

So I drive to Huntsville the next week and do my demo at the doctor's office. Then, I drive over to NASA and follow a series of detailed instructions on getting into the compound. He meets me at a gate where a security guard has taken my ID information. We climb in his car and I figure we are going to head over to the data center.

We drive about half a mile and he stops and says, "Here is the original NASA Rocket Test Stand where the first rocket testing was done by Werner Von Braun and the German rocket team after they were brought over from Germany after WWII".

He then takes me into a huge hanger where I see the Space Station under construction.

Next stop is the Saturn V rocket test stand...a "building" that looks like a 35 story "chimney" where the Saturn rockets are test-fired.

I am effing awestruck. I am truly The Accidental Tourist. But it only gets better.

Then he says, "lets go over to the Ops Center". Remember this is not Mission Control, but Data Ops where they are controlling the worldwide NASA data network.

We go into a building an I am ushered into the Control Room which looks like something from a James Bond movie. I see 16 operators sitting at data monitors. On huge projection screens overhead, are graphics that show the entire world with NASA Ground Stations, such as Madagascar, Australia, Guam, etc - where satellite uplinks are maintained between the Shuttle as it orbits the globe. The whole room has backlighting so the operators can see their computer monitors as well as the screens above. Looks so utterly techy...

Then he says, "Would you like to go watch the launch?" I am thinking..."launch, what launch"? - but of course, I say OK.

We walk into an auditorium where perhaps 100 enginners are sitting...looking at a huge monitor that consists of a matrix of smaller monitors that make up a single image. Remember that this is 1988 and single large flat panel screens did not exist - so the best way to create a very large image was to matrix together many smaller CRT screens.

Then it hits me...today is the first launch of the next space shuttle - After the Challenger disaster. Through sheer utter dumb luck, here I am.

The mood in the room was somber - for reasons I did not understand at the time. Almost church-like with very little conversation - but what conversation there was - was very hushed.

I know everyone here at Shottalk has seen many launches on TV. This one looked just like that...the countdown...the ignition and liftoff....

Still the room is fairly quiet....until about 4-5 minutes into the mission - the room explodes in celebration.

I am completely puzzled by this. Why is everyone celebrating now? The liftoff was five minutes ago?

I ask my host and explains that the Challenger explosion was blamed on the Huntsville team because their job is to safely deliver the payload into space. They are the rocket team...the shuttle itself is manufactured and tested at a NASA facility somewhere else in the country (I cannot remember where). So the celebration occurred when some sort of hypothetical "handoff" had been made where their sub-mission of payload delivery had been accomplished.

Utterly amazing...then I got in my car and said, "What was That?!"

Nice story Bravo.
You still haven't mentioned what they could do for Kilted's swing! Perhaps they could get him to the top and then hand-off to some other agency. They could then celebrate, even if he shanks it into the rough!

Kilted could blame some secret Chinese agency for his follow though problems. :biglol:
 

Farquod

Short Game Tragedy
Mar 8, 2005
1,165
0
Bravo said:
I am completely puzzled by this. Why is everyone celebrating now? The liftoff was five minutes ago?

I ask my host and explains that the Challenger explosion was blamed on the Huntsville team because their job is to safely deliver the payload into space. They are the rocket team...the shuttle itself is manufactured and tested at a NASA facility somewhere else in the country (I cannot remember where). So the celebration occurred when some sort of hypothetical "handoff" had been made where their sub-mission of payload delivery had been accomplished.

You do step in it at times, Bravo..... ;)

I was kind of at a loss about how to feel about the above (felt like, "Now they can't blame US....") but then maybe thought it was cool to think that they were safer in space than during liftoff. Must be kinda hard to top two huge potential bombs on either side of you, furiously firing away, as a life experience, no?

Hope the tile lost on the current is no big deal...
 

Bravo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
5,822
15
Farquod said:
You do step in it at times, Bravo..... ;)

I was kind of at a loss about how to feel about the above (felt like, "Now they can't blame US....") but then maybe thought it was cool to think that they were safer in space than during liftoff. Must be kinda hard to top two huge potential bombs on either side of you, furiously firing away, as a life experience, no?

Hope the tile lost on the current is no big deal...

I felt the same way at the time. The more I thought about it though - these people had been through 2 1/2 very difficult, emotional years. They carried a heavy load during that time about their 'failure' which caused the deaths of the entire crew, etc. I agree also with your statement that they all believed they were safer in space and that the first ten minutes of each mission were by far the most dangerous....
 
OP
Kilted Arab

Kilted Arab

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Apr 30, 2005
1,202
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  • #11
IrishGolfer said:
Nice story Bravo.
You still haven't mentioned what they could do for Kilted's swing! Perhaps they could get him to the top and then hand-off to some other agency. They could then celebrate, even if he shanks it into the rough!

Kilted could blame some secret Chinese agency for his follow though problems. :biglol:

It's usually an Indian that causes me follow-through problems....
 
OP
Kilted Arab

Kilted Arab

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Apr 30, 2005
1,202
4
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  • #12
Bravo, thanks indeed for taking the time to post that out - it's a great story and an amazing memory for you. I'm a great believer that everyone has a story to tell, you seem to have more than most!


Thanks again!
 

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