Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams' "Good Morning Discovery!" Wake-up Call

"Gooooood morning, Discovery!" Robin Williams provided this wake-up call to NASA's 1988 STS-26 "return to flight" mission after the loss of Space Shuttle Challenger. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson Forges A Wormhole & Talks with Curiosity

On August 5, 2012 we bit our nails and held our breath in the midst of the sheer terror/joy as NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars via a ROCKET-POWERED SKY CRANE.

The night before landing, however, Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Curiosity Rover shared an EPIC conversation over Twitter:


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Apollo 13: Grumman Sends Rockwell "Towing Bill"

On April 11, 1970 the seventh manned mission in the American space program, Apollo 13, launched with the intention to land on the moon. On April 13 an explosion in the oxygen tanks crippled the service module, damaging the Command Module. Their journey back to Earth had been achieved using the Lunar landing Module as an impromptu "life raft", towing the crippled Command Service Module (CSM) behind it for some 400,000 miles.

Due to the incredible ingenuity of the astronauts and the crew on the ground, Apollo 13 was brought back safely and the mission has since been called a “successful failure.”

Afterward, the engineers at Grumman Aerospace Corporation, builder of the mission's Lunar Landing Module prepared a tongue-in-cheek "Towing Bill" addressed to Rockwell, builders of the crippled CSM.

Copy of the Towing Bill -- Click to Enlarge

  • Towing, $4.00 first mile, $1.00 each additional mile, Trouble call, fast service. 
  • Battery Charge (road call + $.05KWH) customer’s jumper cables 
  • oxygen at $10.00/lb 
  • sleeping accommodations for 2, no TV, prepaid air-conditioned, with radio, modified American plan, with view (contract NAS-9-1100) 
  • Additional guest in room at $8.00/night. (1) Check out no later than noon Fri. 4/17/70, accommodations not guaranteed beyond that time 
  • water (no charge) 
  • Personalized “trip-tik”, including all no charge transfers, baggage handling, and gratuities
= $312,421.24 (after allowing a 20% early payment discount and a 2% cash discount).

Monday, July 28, 2014

The 'Top Secret' Astronaut You've Never Heard Of: Walter Frisbee

The second class of astronauts chosen by NASA, 'The New Nine', may have in fact been the 'Top Secret Ten'. At least that's what Jim Lovell and Pete Conrad wanted the Press Corps to think.

The two pranksters would intentionally let members of the press overhear them speak about Walter Frisbee, a top secret astronaut with wildly incredible talents that NASA wanted to keep hush, hush. Was he the son of a Romanian nobleman? Maybe. Was he the most fearless, talented test pilot that ever took to the skies? Definitely.

The other members of The New Nine got on-board with the joke and as reporters quizzed each one about Frisbee they'd acknowledge his existence, excuse his absence due to his mysterious, extraordinary training and say nothing else. Rumor has it the press actually started writing about Fearless Frisbee in the papers and that's when NASA pulled the plug on this little prank.

[Within the last few years an account on Twitter, Astro_Walt, has popped up with the simple bio, "Pilot and astronaut, retired." Who knows, maybe it wasn't a prank after all....] 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chris Hadfield, Buzz Aldrin & Starfleet Win the Internet

On January 3, 2013, William Shatner (Captain Kirk) began a series of what is quite possibly the most epic conversation ever when he asked astronaut Chris Hadfield (who was then living aboard the International Space Station) via Twitter: "Are you tweeting from space? MBB."

Fellow Star Trek cast members promptly joined in, as well as the one and only Buzz Aldrin. January 3, 2013 -- the day the internet was officially won.

[Images from the Canadian Space Agency


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Female Stowaway on Skylab

Skylab as SL2 mission departs

From "Skylab: Our First Space Station" by Leland F. Belew

"On September 10, 1973, controllers in Houston were startled to hear a woman's voice beaming down from Skylab. Using a sexy tone of voice and calling startled Capsule Communicator Bob Crippen by name, the woman explained: "The boys haven't had a home-cooked meal in so long I thought I'd bring one up." After several minutes in which she described forest fires seen from space and the beautiful sunrise, the woman said: "Oh oh. I have to cut off now. I think the boys are floating up here toward the command module and I'm not supposed to be talking to you." As the Skylab crew subsequently revealed, Garriott had recorded his wife Helen during a private radio transmission the night before."

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Apollo 10 Crew Finds Floating Turds

Though Apollo 10 was a very successful mission, a declassified NASA transcript reveals that Tom Stafford, John Young and Gene Cernan had a little stinky situation arise. It's okay to laugh -- even professional, highly trained, space-exploring astronauts think poop is funny.... It was literally all shits & giggles on Day 6 of their mission when they discovered some floating feces inside their capsule. 

CDR: Tom Stafford             CMP: John Young          LMP: Gene Cernan