Memories of my space flight with Sally Ride
Ride appears, front left, in the STS-7 Challenger Crew photo in Janurary 1983. Front row, left to right: Ride, Commander Bob Crippen, Pilot Frederick Hauck. Back row, left to right: John Fabian, Norm Thagard.
July 24th, 2012
01:29 PM ET

Memories of my space flight with Sally Ride

Editor's Note: Cpt. Frederick (Rick) Hauck spent 29 years in the U.S. Navy as a combat pilot, test pilot and NASA astronaut. He flew as co-pilot aboard the space shuttle Challenger with Sally Ride in 1983 and commanded two missions aboard the space shuttle Discovery, including the first shuttle mission after the Challenger tragedy.

Almost 35 years ago, NASA announced the selection of 35 new astronaut candidates, to augment the aging cadre of America's heroic men who carried the American flag into space and on to the moon. Sally Kristen Ride was one of them, chosen from more than 10,000 applicants.

Ride was one of 20 selected not as pilots, but as engineers, scientists and physicians who would be responsible for conducting on-board experiments and launching satellites from the space shuttle, and later going on space walks to help build the International Space Station.

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Dr. Sally Ride
July 24th, 2012
12:13 PM ET

Dr. Sally Ride

"In this photograph from July 2008, Dr. Sally Ride, who visited Goddard Space Flight Center for a tour and speech, greets a young fan on the stage. Dr. Laurie Leshin, the Goddard Space Flight Center's Deputy Director for Science and Technology, is in the background.

Dr. Ride, NASA's first female astronaut, died on July 23, 2012, after an illness."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
Remembering Sally Ride
July 24th, 2012
10:57 AM ET

Remembering Sally Ride

Many, many people took to Twitter to express their feelings about Sally Ride's passing.

President Obama echoed the thoughts of many women on Twitter:

NASA reminds us that Dr. Ride was a groundbreaking individual:

If you'd like to donate to the Sally Ride Pancreatic Cancer Initiative in Dr. Ride's memory, Xeni Jardin has the details:

And of course, her fellow astronauts remember:

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Filed under: News • Voices
Space school: first two days
Apollo 15's Saturn V on the launch pad. A decommissioned Saturn V is on display at Johnson Space Center.
July 24th, 2012
10:20 AM ET

Space school: first two days

Editor's note: Montse Cordero is a 17-year-old student from Costa Rica participating in the Foundation for International Space Education's United Space School, a two-week summer program in Houston. She'll be blogging about her experiences in the program here. If you missed it, check out her first post: Getting ready to explore space school.

Day 0

All the students arrived today. I was dropped off at a house where I met a few other students from all over the world. There were people from New Zealand, Wales, Canada, the U.S., and Costa Rica. They all seemed really cool! Eventually, my host family picked my roommate Alex (who is American) and I up.

We drove around Houston for a little bit and took pictures with T-38s and other cool things. We had some great food for dinner and discussed what the school was going to be like.

We still don’t know much besides the fact that tomorrow we’ll have a lunch with everyone from the school, then interviews to see which team we will be on. I’m sure I’m not the only one super excited to see what’s coming! Tomorrow will be a big day, that’s the one thing I know for sure.

Day 1

Today was our first actual day of Space School. The activities didn’t begin until noon, so we took advantage of the morning with our host to go to Johnson Space Center and see some pretty neat things!
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Share your tributes to Sally Ride
July 23rd, 2012
05:55 PM ET

Share your tributes to Sally Ride

Sally Ride was perhaps best known as the first American woman in space, but that was only one of her accomplishments.

Ride was the only person who served on investigative commissions for the Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia accidents, according to NASA. She was also an advocate for improving science education and founded Sally Ride Science. The company's mission is to inspire more girls and young women to go into science, math and technology.

The White House issued a statement calling Ride a "national hero and a powerful role model."

She died Monday at 61 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Share your tributes to the late Sally Ride with iReport, or in the comments below.

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Filed under: On Earth
Getting ready to explore space school
Montse Cordero visits the Space Center Houston, checking out the space shuttle mockup known as the Explorer.
July 23rd, 2012
11:39 AM ET

Getting ready to explore space school

Editor's note: Montse Cordero is a 17-year-old student from Costa Rica, participating in the Foundation for International Space Education's United Space School, a two-week summer program in Houston. She'll be blogging about her experiences in the program here.

In February, I got an e-mail that I’d been hoping to receive for almost three months. It was from Estrategia Siglo XXI, a Costa Rican nonprofit organization that promotes science and technology, saying I’d earned a scholarship for United Space School in Houston. It made me extremely happy, and it began a long period of waiting for July 22.

In November, I was invited to apply for one of two scholarships to attend United Space School. I’d barely even heard of it, so I went online to find out what it was about, and I fell in love. It's a program that invites teenagers from all over the world to Houston.

Those teens attend lectures on different space-related topics, go on field trips to amazing places such as the Space Center Houston and split into different teams to design a manned mission to Mars. I'm a huge space geek, so I just knew that I had to attend.

But first I had to send in my information to see if I got chosen by Costa Rica's selection committee.
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Apollo 11: The recovery mission
July 21st, 2012
02:11 PM ET

'Muscle guys' who brought Apollo 11 home

By Thom Patterson, CNN

(CNN) - As he stood on the floating Apollo 11 capsule, Navy SEAL John Wolfram was very aware that the safety of the first men to walk on the moon was in his hands. The whole world was watching.

Amazing circumstances - for a guy just two years out of high school.

It was July 24, 1969 - four days after the historic landing - and millions were anxious to know whether the astronauts had survived their fiery fall into the Pacific about a thousand miles off Hawaii. Minutes before he stepped onto the tiny capsule, it had been plummeting from space into the atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour. Parts of the spacecraft's shell were blackened. Wolfram could see steam still rising from it.

"I looked in the hatch window to see if the astronauts were OK," recalls Wolfram. "They smiled and gave me a thumbs up. Being the first to look them in the eye and see that they're OK - it's quite a rush."

On this 43rd anniversary of the well-known mission, here's an Apollo 11 story that's told less often.

It's the story of a handpicked four-man team of tough Navy SEALs who played a key role in what may be mankind's greatest technological achievement.

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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • In Space • On this Day
July 18th, 2012
10:03 AM ET

Photos: Exploring Mars

We are pumped for the landing of Curiosity, the biggest rover yet that NASA has sent to Mars. Curiosity is scheduled to land at 1:31 a.m. ET on August 6 (that's 10:31 p.m. PT on August 5).

No spacecraft has ever landed in this way before. The 2,000-pound rover, with a cost totaling around $2.5 billion, will use a "sky crane touchdown system" to get itself safely (we hope) to the Martian surface. This popular video "Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror" illustrates the process.

Curiosity will make its way to Gale Crater, which houses several miles of sediment for the rover to explore.

Follow @CNNLightYears on Twitter

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Filed under: Mars
Mayans may offer drought management lessons
A temple in Tikal, an ancient Mayan city with significant waterways.
July 16th, 2012
04:19 PM ET

Mayans may offer drought management lessons

When anthropologist Vernon Scarborough and colleagues began their investigation of Tikal, an ancient Mayan city in present-day Guatemala, they only intended to confirm previous accounts of the evolution of the city’s water systems. What they found, however, could have consequences for today’s societies dealing with water shortages.

Taking advantage of the few months between 2009 and 2010 that the semi-tropical Tikal was dry, researchers had the opportunity to understand how preclassical and classical Mayans (spanning roughly 600 B.C.E. to 800 A.D.) managed to survive environmental and social conditions many haven’t, focusing on three reservoir systems: the Temple Reservoir, the Corriental Reservoir and the Palace Dam – the largest manmade hydraulic feat in the entire Mayan territory.

When the Mayans initially colonized Tikal, Scarborough said, they had the luxury of springs as principal water sources. The springs were self-replenishing in large part due to the porous limestone composition of the landscape, which allowed water to get through the ground and into the spring.

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Giant rover to make ‘terrifying’ landing on Mars
July 16th, 2012
03:24 PM ET

Giant rover to make ‘terrifying’ landing on Mars

No spacecraft has ever landed like this before and NASA admits it’ll be a wild ride.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, a 2,000 pound (900 kilogram) SUV-sized robotic science laboratory, is scheduled to touch down on August 6 at 1:31 a.m. EDT.

The $2.5 billion rover started its journey on November 26, 2011, with launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Its mission is to figure out whether its landing site, Gale Crater,  was ever home to microbial life. Curiosity has 10 science experiments on board and is equipped with a robot arm that can drill into rocks. Curiosity can climb over obstacles up to 25 inches (65 centimeters) high and can travel about 660 feet (200 meters) per day.

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Filed under: In Space • News
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