So this is pretty much the coolest thing ever…The awesome folks @huckberry are giving you and a Friend a free trip with me somewhere rad. Plus $3K worth of gear for the journey.
Locations include: Iceland, Peru, Yosemite , Zion, Grand Canyon and Denali
For entry details go to my profile link or check out https://huckberry.com/explorers-grants
Good luck! (at Win a Trip with Me! - Huckberry Explorers grant 2.0)
October 9, 2014
Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world.
It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event.