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Saturday, May 18, 2024

First American in Space – May 5, 1961

Space Travel
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
1:24 pm

Fifty four years ago today, on May 5, 1961, a long time before I knew anything about Cinco de Mayo, Mercury Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. blasted off in his Freedom 7 capsule atop a Mercury-Redstone rocket. His 15-minute sub-orbital flight made him the first American in space. 

His flight further fueled my love for space travel that had been building since the Sputnik and Vanguard satellites were launched a few years previously.


Alan Shepard, Mercury-Redstone Rocket

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All in a Day’s Work – In Orbit

Space Travel
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, May 13, 2013
7:32 pm

I love this photo of Chris Cassidy, one of our great NASA astronauts, at work.  



The NASA web site explains:

Repairing the Station in Orbit Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy (pictured) and Tom Marshburn (out of frame) completed a spacewalk at 2:14 p.m. EDT May 11, 2013 to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station’s far port truss (P6) leaking ammonia coolant. The two NASA astronauts began the 5-hour, 30-minute spacewalk at 8:44 a.m.

A leak of ammonia coolant from the area near or at the location of a Pump and Flow Control Subassembly was detected on Thursday, May 9, prompting engineers and flight controllers to begin plans to support the spacewalk. The device contains the mechanical systems that drive the cooling functions for the port truss.

What a thrill it must be for these guys!

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My Hero, Neil Armstrong

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, August 27, 2012
8:29 pm

“I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul… we’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.” (Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012)

When I was a little boy, my first career choice was Astronaut all the way.  The engineering thing came later.  In fact, my earliest recollection of being reprimanded at school was for stealing extra paper so I could draw rockets and space ships.  So, in every sense of the word, Neil Armstrong and his compatriots were my heroes.  Paradise gained a great man this week.  We who are left behind are much better people for what Neil Armstrong and the space heroes contributed to us all.

Plus … You’ve gotta admit.  That is one cool airplane!

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