July 12, 2009 § 1 Comment

Alright folks, I try not to rhapsodize about too many things here, but this is pretty great. If you like watching shuttle launches, you can go to the NASA-TV website and see  it all live as the astronauts suit up and get strapped into their seats. You can hear as they check communication between flight and mid-decks, and between shuttle and launch control.

I have a huge love of astronomy, and whether or not I really understand or agree with everything going on in the space program, it is a blast to watch these amazing people prepare to leave the planet. Or as Firefly would put it, “leave atmo.”

Here’s a bit from the launch blog about two of the crew members going up today.  Rather entertaining:

If Christopher Cassidy didn’t exist, Hollywood would invent him. Before joining NASA, Cassidy served 10 years in the U.S Navy’s elite SEAL teams. The special operations teams get their name because they operate in the sea, air and on land. Many know of the SEALs because of the infamous “Hell Week” training that works SEAL candidates day and night with almost no rest. Cassidy’s missions took him into the Afghanistan region two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He also paddled a kayak 180 miles from Norfolk, Va., to Washington, D.C., to benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Cassidy is the second NASA astronaut to come from the SEAL ranks. The first was Bill Shepherd, first commander of the International Space Station. Cassidy will sit on the flight deck behind Pilot Doug Hurley for launch, and will make three spacewalks during the mission.

And then about Julie Payette:

As flight engineer, Julie Payette will sit on the flight deck in a seat behind and between Polansky and Hurley for launch and landing. She will call important milestones to the crew as they launch into orbit and perform other tasks critical during ascent.

Payette is a Canadian astronaut who has flown once before. When she reaches orbit, it will be the first time two Canadians have been in space at the same time. The other Canadian in orbit is Robert Thirsk, currently a resident on the International Space Station.

Aside from her space interests, Payette is an accomplished singer and pianist. She even sang with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

What a cool gal! Talk about having varied interests and talents.

If you want to watch, go here:

If you want to read, go here:

T-minus 1 hour 10 minutes and counting…


(Yes, I’m a geek.)

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