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June 28, 2006

Information on NSS Table for the Launch

Dear NSS members and friends,

Rick Fischer, Robert Driscole, Rick Fischer, Ross Tierney and Fred Becker met up at Paddy's to finalize plans for the National Space Society table at the STS-121 launch, July 1, 2006. Launch time: 3:49 p.m.

We have changed locations and will be viewing from Titusville at the
Space Walk of Fame park. Tim Bailey and Fred Becker will be setting up the table at 2:00 on Saturday. Rick and Ross will be viewing from the NASA Causeway.

NSS headquarters has sent us three large boxes of Ad Astras and we will have about 500 of them to hand out. We may also have membership brochures. Jim Banke is donating about 300 pins for STS-121 that we will also be giving away. We will also have our table and the chapter banner. We hope also to have a scanner hooked up to a stereo for carrying the countdown audio.

We hope to see lots of you at this great location.

For the future, we will again use the LISATS location as
appropriate. If anyone would like to set up at LISATS, please let me
know and we'll give you two of our boxes of Ad Astras.

Here for reference is Ozzie's great launch viewing site...

Ad Astra!

Posted by george_whitesides at 11:04 AM

June 27, 2006

Space Crew is at the Cape

The astronaut crew of STS-121 have arrived at Cape Canaveral, the launch site for the next space shuttle mission. The crew is commanded by Steven Lindsey, a four-time space veteran, and the pilot is Mark Kelly. Mission specialists include Michael Fossum, Piers Sellers, Lisa Nowak, and Stephanie Wilson. The seventh member of the crew is Thomas Reiter, a German astronaut who will stay at the International Space Station, bringing the crew onboard ISS to three.

Posted by george_whitesides at 10:58 PM

Launch time set for 3:48 pm on Saturday

T-Minus 4 days until launch, and the excitement -- and anxiety -- is building. The mission was approved in a gutsy call by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, over the objections of his Safety Officer and Chief Engineer.

We believe Griffin's call was the right one. The Shuttle team has worked incredibly hard to bring this mission to readiness, in the face of hurricanes, novel engineering problems, and the media microscope.

But it is time to fly. The federal government is growing restless about the Return to Flight budget, and it is time that NASA show results for the billions that have been spent on Shuttle since the Columbia accident in 2003.

We are a nation of explorers, and explorers sometime need to take a risk to move forward. Not a wild risk, but a calculated risk -- and that is what Griffin's decision was.

Specifically, first, that there was not a significant risk to the lives of the crew, who could find refuge on the International Space Station. Second, that the risk to the orbiter itself was a risk that was worth it, to move our space program forward.

We agree. And so now we wait for a successful launch on Saturday, into the blue Florida sky.

Posted by george_whitesides at 10:14 PM


This second space shuttle flight after the loss of Columbia is a critical one for NASA and the future of the space shuttle program. Success means we can move forward with finishing the space station and repairing Hubble; trouble may mean the loss of the Discovery orbiter even with rescue of the crew, and the early end of the shuttle program. NSS officers and staff will be blogging here on the mission as it progresses; comments are welcome!

Posted by apsmith at 09:47 PM | Comments (1)


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