Isaac Newton

Laurel and Randy, surrounded by the bosses in Guest OpsNotes from an ‘almost’ launch:

  • We were on the bus to the Banana Creek viewing site when the scrub news came–bummer, but just part of the game.
  • Coming to a launch as a NASA guest is way cool. The Guest Ops folks are the best!
  • I sure hope the young British lady we met on Thursday can stay until Endeavour is in Orbit.
  • The STS-134 mission patch is gorgeous.
  • The STS-135 mission patch is of a ‘minimalist’ desgin.
  • Sitting in the visitor center briefing room yesterday, I got to listen to a lot of people ask questions about the Shuttle, the ISS and spaceflight in general. If there were any high school physics teachers in the group, I hope they took away their sharp objects because I suspect they’d want to do bodily harm to themselves. Anyone who thinks we don’t need more emphasis on science education in this country is not paying attention. Q: “If we keep adding stuff to the Space Station, won’t it get too heavy?” A: 🙁
  • If it’s just a t’stat or something ‘simple’ that failed on the APU fuel line, we’ll try to stick around until Monday. If not, it’s back to PHX and off to hail Britannia.

All Credentialed up

Launch credentials, etc.After a brief delay to locate the car keys, we were off to the NASA KSC Guest Operations Office to pick up the appropriate documents and passes for tomorrows launch. Once that was taken care of, we did a quick bus tour around part of the facility including a stop at the Apollo exhibit facility and the adjacent Banana Creek viewing area–we’re going to have a fantastic view.

There were some pretty impressive thunderstorms that rolled through the area tonight, but I think the real heavy stuff missed Pad 39A. Weather tomorrow is looking pretty good with only a 30% chance of weather delaying the launch. Fingers, toes, etc. are crossed.

Met a marvelous young lady this morning who’d come from London for the launch. She’d lucked into a causeway launch ticket and was simply glowing with excitement and that joy that a space junkie gets when you’re at your first launch. Takes me back to my Apollo 17 launch days.

Finally getting a handle on this Euro 2011 thing.

Air reservations for PHX-LHR, LUT(London Luton)-GDZ (Gdansk) and BUD (Budapest)-LHR are all set. After much analysis and general flip-flopping we decided to skip the Eurail pass and pick up tickets as we go. This week, Laurel’s been pounding away, finding us some really great places to stay. London, Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow, Ostrava in the Czech Republic and Prague are all set. That leaves Cesky Kremlov in the Czech Republic, Vienna, Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest and one more in London still to go.

By the numbers, this one is about 33 days, 6 countries, 5 currencies, 4 different electrical plugs and a vast array of town and place names I’m having difficulty pronouncing.
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STS-134, here we come!

STS-134 mission patchAssuming no really unusual glitches in the countdown, one week from today we should be at KSC for our pre-launch briefing. In the paper this morning, there was news the President, the First Lady and Sasha and Malia will be attending the launch. Add to this the hype surrounding Mark Kelly and Representative Giffords and you have the makings for a really busy time in and around the VIP and press viewing areas. It should be great fun.

Fingers and toes are crossed in hopes of good weather. The current launch window is open unitl May 4th, but given that we’re leaving for London on May 5th, I don’t think we’ll be able to wait much beyond May 2.

Just when I thought…

Just when I thought we had the STS-134 launch trip under control, the good folks at NASA conferred with the Ruskies and decided the launch date needed to be slipped 10 days to accommodate a Progress supply vehicle. Bummer! The hot deal on  Titusville hotel is gone and American Airlines gets to squeeze a few hundred bucks in change fees out of us.

End result is now we’ll be staying west of Orlando again, which is really no big deal. The plan is to leave MCO on Sunday, but if this turned out to be one of those 3-in-3 launch attempts, we’d need make another change. After the 2nd, we’re cutting into the “Launch” of Euro 2011 on the 5th of May and in that event, I guess we’re sunk. Fingers, toes, etc. are crossed, which is about all we can do.

Hadn’t planned on having to spend a bunch of time on this today. Back to the Euro 2011 charts and graphs.

So nice to be back at the Willows.

This time last Sunday, I was enjoying a second pass by the crab legs and sashimi at the Willows on Hausten Street in Honolulu. I haven’t been there in years and it was so nice to be back.

Of course, it’s not quite the same as back in the days of Randy Lee, but it’s still a wonderful Oahu spot and now it’s the new home of Pakele Live on Thursday nights, so my visits should be a bit more regular.

Aston Executive CenterAlso, we had another delightful stay at the Aston Executive Center. I’ll admit it, I’m in a Friday HNL rut—happy hour at Indigo, a stop to see what’s going on at Hank’s and then off to catch Olomana at the HHV. Nice rut.

Did Du Vin on Saturday, and this time, I will say I was not impressed with the food. Fortunately though, Ginai’s jazz vocals made the evening a great night out.

I always get looks of puzzlement when I tell them it’s so nice to go from OGG to HNL because, among other things, the airport is so much more serene.

Euro East 2011 planning is finally underway.

Union JackMay 5 has been set as the official departure date. For the TDF, last year, we started in Rotterdam. This year will be a direct shot from PHX to LHR. We’ll be spending a few days in London and then off to the east. First stop will probably be Prague, but the planning is just getting started.

Launch of Space Shuttle EndeavourFirst though, in just two short weeks from today, it’s off to the launch of STS-134 . I cannot express my gratitude enough to Vice President Biden and NASA for the honor of inviting us as guests.

Ruskie spam posters:

Dear godless commie Ruskie spam posters:

Your attempts to post spam to my blog just don’t work. Better you should spend your time eating a beet, getting wasted on cheep vodka, visiting Chernobyl or catching a disease from one of those skanks your country has grown so fond of exporting.

In the words of Les Nessman, Sr. News Correspondent for WKRP “just who are you trying to kid?”