Posts Tagged ‘Astronauts’
Lily Koppel’s new nonfiction book, The Astronaut Wives Club , looks at the historic time in America when astronauts were heroes and their families were emblems. She talks about the book and the photos she gathered.
The family of Jim Lovell (of “Houston, we have a problem” fame) watching Apollo 8 liftoff on Dec. 21, 1968. From left: James, Jeffery, Susan, Marilyn Lovell, and Barbara.
Via: Courtesy: NASA
The adventurous spirit of the space era of 1960s America feels awfully far away. Spending billions of dollars for the sake of science and exploration — are we still doing that in any way anyone notices, or wants to know about? I have no idea.
Lily Koppel’s new nonfiction book, The Astronaut Wives Club, out this week, takes its readers from the inception of the astronaut program in 1959 through Apollo 17 in 1972, the final manned moon landing. It effectively — and rivetingly, I found — goes through those 13 years of U.S. history by telling the NASA story through the domestic sphere: specifically, through the wives' lives. And for most of the space program, a wife and children were a job requirement for the astronauts — though fidelity and being physically present were not — so there ended up being a lot of them.
And they became close to each other. There was a literal Astronaut Wives Club. “They really had to sort of rely on each other to make it through the space race — and they were on this parallel mission to their husbands,” said Koppel in a recent telephone interview.
Most of the wives went from being military spouses just scraping by to celebrities with cash they'd never had and reporters trailing after them. “It was intoxicating,” said Koppel. “The whole country had space fever. And they were a part of it. They felt very much like they were playing a really important role.”
Their marriages, like that of the space-championing Kennedys', whom some of the astronaut families got to meet and befriend, were meant to reflect an ideal. It was a fulltime PR job. “All the astronauts, even today, fully attest to the fact that without them, it would have been sort of impossible, because they were just working all the time,” said Koppel. “The women kept the whole public relations image that everything was still perfect back on Earth.”
Koppel shared some photographs with BuzzFeed that she had gathered during the reporting of The Astronaut Wives Club.
Here is the Lovell family.
This photograph was taken in their home in Dec. 1968, a few days before Apollo 8, which was the first mission to orbit the moon, and “was given a 50/50 chance by NASA,” Koppel said. Describing the Lovells, Koppel said: “In a way, they’re representative of many of the astronauts and their wives: they were high school sweethearts, they got married after Jim graduated from Annapolis. Marilyn was with him all throughout his test pilot career. These are careers that were sort of built on partnerships. Although they started in the '50s when we don't think of women as particularly liberated, you had to be adventurous to the point of almost being a superwoman to be married to one of these guys. Because their job was so dangerous, and they were so macho.”
ISS astronauts Kevin Ford, Tom Marshburn, Chris Hadfield will be answering questions from space on a Google + Hangout. From 11am to 12pm EST on February 22nd, the 3 will attend to audiences at google.com/+NASA, taking a mix of pre-recorded video questions and real-time ones from social networks. If you want recording a concern, you’ll have till February 12th to upload a YouTube video of 30 seconds or less tagged with # askAstro. The exact same tag could be made use of for text questions on Twitter, YouTube, or Google +, and a Facebook page will level on the 22nd.
Though it’s unclear the amount of they have actually taken off as a social device, Hangouts have actually become prominent as a kind of open press conference, with the White Home specifically …
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Astronauts aboard the International Area Station and right here on terra firma are clearing their schedules for a Google + Hangout on February 22nd, which will be the first NASA-coordinated Hangout with the ISS. In between 11 AM and noon ET, astronauts will respond to concerns previously submitted via video clips and those streaming in from the space company’s Facebook page, Google + and through Tweets tagged with # askAstro. NASA isn’t really saying who’ll snag live face-time with the spacefarers during the Hangout, however it is asking people to upload one-of-a-kind and original questions in clips of 30 seconds or less to YouTube by February 12th. Yearning to have a query responded to? Struck the jump for the complete submission specifics. Declared under: Science, GoogleCommentsSource: NASA
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As you rest to watch the Super Bowl with your friend and family, take a minute to think about those doing more or less the exact same thing hundreds of miles above the Earth’s area. NASA has actually verified to Space.com that the 6 astronauts currently on board the International Area Station will certainly get to enjoy the game; Mission Control made a point of asking the team on Friday if they desired it broadcast to them. It’s not an uncommon event for the astronauts– they had the ability to enjoy the Olympic Gamings last summer season, for example– but it’s a comforting suggestion that they’re not totally cut off from the world. Even if we doubt that the ISS has an 85-inch 4K Television Set up.
With the Space Shuttle now officially grounded, NASA has been researching alternatives for ferrying astronauts from Earth to the International Space Station, orbiting some 230 miles above the planet. One such vehicle has made its way from Boeing’s HQ to the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, where a full-size model is on display for conference attendees. Externally, the spacecraft appears very similar to the reentry modules of yesteryear, measuring 14.5 feet with room for up to seven people. The craft is designed to make its way through the atmosphere mounted to an Atlas V rocket, and is rated for up to 10 roundtrip missions. As is typical with spacecraft, it looks like astronauts won’t be traveling with first-class accommodations — things will likely feel quite cozy when the CST-100 is at capacity — but such conditions come with the territory. There’s no date set for delivery, but the craft could be making its way to space as early as 2015, and has reportedly been tested in the Nevada desert as recently as this month.
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If you ever plan to lead a PowerPoint presentation projected on giant white board orbiting the Earth (we’ll leave the logistics of that one up to you) there’s only one laser pointer that will get the job done — Wicked Lasers‘ S3 Krypton. The Guinness Record-pending pointer produces about 86 million lux and can be seen from up to 85 miles away, well beyond the edge of our atmosphere. Of course, at roughly 8,000-times the brightness of the Sun, serious safety precautions are needed when operating the S3. Goggles are a must (and bundled with the handheld laser), while sensors and a microprocessor regulate current to keep the tube of aluminum from overheating in your hands. The top end model is available now for $ 1,000 but, if blinding astronauts isn’t on your agenda, lower-powered versions can be had starting at $ 300. Check out the video after the break.
Day job just too darn terrestrial? Maybe you should score a gig at Boeing, which’ll apparently sling two of its very own into space come 2015. What’ll be their chariot? The company’s CST-100 — you know that spiffy capsule that can hurtle a lucky seven humans 100km into the dark abyss. Strapped to ULA’s Atlas V, the crew will follow two unmanned missions, eventually reaching the International Space Station. If that all goes to plan, commercial service will start in 2016. Now about those extra five seats…
This Sunday is, of course, Independence Day in the United States of America, so it’s time to show your patriotic side. There’s no reason, though, why you have to hide your geeky side â€” why not celebrate both at the same time?
Especially since today, July 2, really should be Independence Day instead of the Fourth, we at GeekDad would like to present our list of ten things you can watch with your family and friends that are both geeky and patriotic. We should note that we are deliberately excluding Independence Day, because it’s really a pretty lousy film when you get down to it, and because it goes out of its way to be patriotic, which makes it seem desperate.
10. Airplane! - What’s patriotic about this movie? Well, aside from it being the original goofball, groaner-a-minute film (and what’s more American than that?), it also came out exactly 30 years ago today! To celebrate, watch it again, but first take Mental Floss’s awesome quiz about it to see how much you remember.
9. Die Hard – So it’s not particularly geeky, but it’s such an awesome film it doesn’t much matter. Yes, it takes place at Christmastime, but it’s quintessentially American: the hero is a New York cop, the villains are foreign, and pretty much everything that can blow up does.
8. Field of Dreams – Seeing as how it’s about dead ballplayers coming back to play again, it qualifies as fantasy, and therefore has enough geek cred to fit on this list. As for whether it’s patriotic, that’s easy: it’s about baseball, it has that great speech about censorship that Annie gives at the school board meeting, and it ends with a father and son playing catch. What could possibly be more American?
7. National Treasure - Sure it’s historically and scientifically preposterous, and it stars the mediocre action movie star that took over Nicolas Cage’s body, but it’s fun and it’s plenty patriotic. I mean, the main character steals the Declaration of Independence in order to save it! As for the geeky aspect, it has to be fantasy that a chamber that size could have existed under Wall Street for over 200 years without anyone noticing.
6. The Muppet Movie – The whole point of the movie is that anyone can fulfill their dreams if they keep trying hard enough, which is a very American notion. And it has Fozzie singing “America the Beautiful,” with the great line at the end: “Patriotism swells in the heart of the American bear.” It’s also just a great movie, period.
5. Apollo 13 – It’s all about the response to a very real American catastrophe that could very easily have ended with the death of three astronauts. The ingenuity and tenacity of all those involved help them find a way to keep the astronauts alive and get them back to Earth safely, and the movie does a great job of making the viewer feel the tension involved even though we know how it turns out.
4. Superman II – Superman is, of course, an alien. And we should consider ourselves lucky that his rocket cradle landed in Kansas instead of, say, Siberia or the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But no, he landed here in the U.S.A. and grew up to become the ultimate champion of Truth, Justice, and the American Way (has anyone ever pointed out that that phrasing implies that truth and justice aren’t part of the American way?). We picked Superman II in particular partly because it’s widely considered the best Superman movie ever made, but mostly because, at the end, Superman restores the American flag to the top of the White House. What could possibly be more patriotic than that?
3. Star Trek: The Original Series, “The Omega Glory” – It’s not the greatest episode of ST:TOS by a long shot, but it’s easily the most patriotic. It has the typical unsubtle message (the opposing factions are the “Yangs” and the “Kohms”) for the series, but it earns its place on this list because of the scene near the end where Captain Kirk reads the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. You will likely never hear a more overdramatic reading of the Preamble, and even if you do, it will likely not be read by a Canadian actor.
2. 1776 - It would be impossible to find a more patriotic movie, but how is it geeky? Well, consider the scene where John Adams sings an explanation of the recipe for gunpowder to Abigail, to convince her to rally her friends to acquire saltpeter for the Continental Army. And everyone’s favorite former android, Brent Spiner, played Adams on Broadway for a while. Even if you don’t think it’s geeky, it’s a great film that teaches a lot about how independence was declared in a way accessible to just about anybody.
1. The Muppets: Stars and Stripes FOREVER! – Just watch it at the end of this article â€” it’s only two minutes long, so you have nothing to lose. And it is truly brilliant. It came out originally a few years ago, and instantly became an annual tradition in many geeks’ homes everywhere.
Special Bonus: Jaws – It’s still among the best films Steven Spielberg ever made, which is saying a lot. And it takes place during and around the Independence Day holiday, making it if not patriotic per se, at least timely. Given the content, this might not be the best movie to watch for young kids, or for anyone planning to go to a beach party. Note: This entry was added after the list was originally published. We figure going over the top is the American way, and besides, this way our list goes to eleven.
Anything we missed?
Top 10 Things to Watch for a Geeky Independence Day
Robot heading to ISS to help astronauts
Nasa and General Motors announced that they plan to send a robot to the International Space Station, with the eventual goal of having it help out the astronauts there.