... Finally the sun disappears altogether
and then the moon,
shining still more brightly,
proudly ascend the throne of the sun.
I greet you, Madam,
the stars seem to say.
California Science Center
After visiting my grandma, in Whittier, and doing our night out in Hollywood at the El Capitan Theater, we got up the next morning and headed to the California Science Center.
There is so much to see at the Science Center, but our main objective was to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour!
But first a little history and context ...
Ben in front of the Apollo-Soyuz Command Module.
Click here for more info on Apollo and its 1975 mission.
Not much room in there for 3 astronauts! These modules carried those guys from the Earth to lunar orbit ...
Just a few days after visiting the Science Center there was a story on the radio about NASA's Space Shuttle wake up calls. It was interesting and moving hearing how songs are decided on, to start their day. The first ever wake up call was apparently "Hello Dolly."
Often, the songs are picked by the family members of the astronauts. I started getting weepy hearing about a song picked for Columbia's last mission, when the crew members were killed on re-entry. One of their songs was Amazing Grace, on the bagpipes.
Some songs have been used more than once, like Elton John's "Rocket Man" and Louis Armstrong's
"What a Wonderful World."
Here is the radio podcast of the great interview about NASA Wake up calls I listened to on PRI ...
Another song used for a NASA wake up call, was from Michael Stipe of R.E.M. ...
Above and below is the Mercury Redstone 2 capsule. This is the actual capsule in which they sent up the four year old chimp, Ham! Not very much room in there, but apparently it was a short flight. 16 minutes, 39 seconds. Click here for more about the mission.
How cool is this 1960 space suit?! I think Michael Jackson must have taken notes! It's on loan from the Smithsonian.
Now, this is the astronaut of my childhood! (Also on loan from the Smithsonian!)
Penny and Ben, below, checking out the spacecrafts ...
Pioneer 10 is the big blue one, at the bottom of the following photo. (A model)
It was launched in March of 1972, and was the first to cross the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. At the time, no one was sure a spacecraft could survive the trip. It took the first close-up data and images Jupiter and it was the first spacecraft to leave our solar system! In 2001 it was more than 7 billion miles from the sun!
My brain just won't wrap it's way around those numbers!
To read more about Pioneer 10, which sent it's last signal to NASA in January of 2003, click here.
The little round silver one, in the right of the photo below is a full scale model of Sputnik. 22 inches in diameter. Little huh? The 22 inches that launched the space race! For more on that, click here.
I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the stars
make me dream.
~Vincent van Gogh
Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhitibiton
Ever wonder where astronauts "do their business?"
Endeavour was built to replace the challenger and first launched in 1992. It made 25 successful missions and below Penny and Ben are checking out the wall of missions, with photos of the astronauts who took them.
Samuel Oshin Pavillion
From underneath the shuttle ... each individual tile has information!
I remember when they brought the space shuttle back to LA, piggy backed on a 747. I was pulling out of my garage and looked up. Let me tell you, it was a sight to behold!
I didn't think I would see it because I'd heard about the flight path on the news, but what do you know? ... a perfect and seemingly close up view from my driver's side window, my mouth hanging open. It was flying low and the whole thing looked enormous!
The shots in the following video get more interesting at about 3:50, going by Dodger's Stadium, then downtown and the Coliseum. After 7:15 minutes Univeral Studios then the Hollywood Hills.
My friend who teaches at an elementary school, said all the kids were out on the field waiting and so exited when they saw it go over!
Getting it from LAX and through town, to the Science Center, was no small feet and was all over the news! Here is a time lapse of the its journey through town, past shops, apartments and throngs of onlookers!
Some concept models of how it could be eventually be displayed.
This Chamber in the science center blows hurricane force winds. I think it went up to 80!
The Science Center is next to U.S.C., and not far from Downtown Los Angeles, so we decided to do lunch in Little Tokyo!
For more on the Endeavour, click here.
If you want to see the Space Shuttle in action, this is an edited piece from NASA, of shots from Endeavour's last mission.
One more musical gem, played for many an astronaut on many a mission ...
Live in 1972
I loved the stars too fondly
to be fearful of the night.
Blessings and light!