Big Bird in space

big bird

It was announced today that the man who had played Big Bird from, 1969 to 2018 ,Caroll Spinney, sadly passed away aged 85.

However he had escaped death about 33 years earlier.

When NASA first had started planning for  the Challenger mission, the agency had approached and  invited Spinney to wear the Big Bird suit and take the bird  up into space. The aim of the project was to get young children more excited about the space program. Spinney was happy to go partake in the mission as Big Bird. However there were some practical problems when NASA realized, the actual size of Big Bird , he stood at  8’ 2’’ tall. Nasa then opted  for  teacher Christa McAuliffe instead  to become a member of the  1986 Challenger mission and to interact with  kids on the ground during the space flight.

Challenger

The launch was scheduled for January 28,1986. Unfortunately only a short time at approximately 11:39 EST. tragedy struck and the Challenger exploded. killing all 8 astronauts .

If the Big Bird suit had been smaller it would have been  Caroll Spinney who would have been aboard that Space Shuttle.

space

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Sources

NASA

BBC

 

Challenger 28 January 1986

Challenger-crew

It’s hard to believe that it has already been 33 years  ago since the Challenger disaster happened. I still remember it as if it was yesterday.

One thing that I hadn’t thought of was that there was a group of children watching while their Teacher died. Looking back it make sense of course that the pupils of Christa McAuliffe would watch the launch of the Space shuttle since their teacher was on board.

37-year-old Christa McAuliffe was a social studies teacher at Concord High School in New Hampshire. She was selected as a civilian and NASA’s first educator in space through the Teacher in Space Project, designed to generate publicity and inspire kids to reach for the stars. She was even going to teach a few lessons while in space.

Capture

At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Christa McAuliffe is on her way to becoming the first ordinary U.S. civilian to travel into space. McAuliffe, a 37-year-old high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire, won a competition that earned her a place among the seven-member crew of the Challenger. She underwent months of shuttle training but then, beginning January 23, was forced to wait six long days as the Challenger‘s launch countdown was repeatedly delayed because of weather and technical problems. Finally, on January 28, the shuttle lifted off.

challenger-disaster-hero-H

The mission, dubbed Challenger’s STS-51L, marked pilot Mike Smith’s first spaceflight. Just before NASA lost telemetric contact with the shuttle, the crew’s voice recorder captured Smith saying “Uh-oh,” which proves that at least one member of the crew was aware something was going wrong with the launch before the actual explosion.

PILOT

Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground, including Christa’s family, stared in disbelief as the shuttle broke up in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the wrenching tragedy unfold on live television. There were no survivors.

challenger-explosion

  • Francis R. Scobee, Commander
  • Michael J. Smith, Pilot
  • Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
  • Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
  • Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
  • Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist
  • Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Teacher

May they rest in peace and may their souls be like stars shining at night.Challenger_flight_51-l_crew

 

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The Space Shuttle-Well kind of

Building of the Soviet Buran spacecraft, 1982

During the Cold War, the USSR built a look-alike space shuttle to compete with the U.S. program.

The development of the “Buran” began in the early 1970s as a response to the U.S. Space Shuttle program. Soviet officials were concerned about a perceived military threat posed by the U.S. Space Shuttle.

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In their opinion, the Shuttle’s 30-ton payload-to-orbit capacity and, more significantly, its 15-ton payload return capacity, were a clear indication that one of its main objectives would be to place massive experimental laser weapons into orbit that could destroy enemy missiles from a distance of several thousands of kilometers. Their reasoning was that such weapons could only be effectively tested in actual space conditions and that to cut their development time and save costs it would be necessary to regularly bring them back to Earth for modifications and fine-tuning.[7] Soviet officials were also concerned that the U.S. Space Shuttle could make a sudden dive into the atmosphere to drop bombs on Moscow.

Moscow lead-xlarge

The construction of the Buran-class space shuttle orbiters began in 1980, and by 1984 the first full-scale orbiter was rolled out. Construction of a second orbiter (OK-1K2, informally known as Ptichka) started in 1988. The Buran programme ended in 1993.

landscape-1447770585-buran2

The first launch attempt on October 29, 1988, ended with a mechanical failure; a platform next to the rocket took so long to retract that the rocket’s computer cancelled the countdown.

The only orbital launch of a Buran-class orbiter occurred at 03:00:02 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad 110/37.Buran wasBuran lifted into space, on an unmanned mission, by the specially designed Energia rocket. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed. After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two orbits around the Earth, the ODU  engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere, return to the launch site, and horizontal landing on a runway.

After making an automated approach to Site 251 (known as Yubileyniy Airfield), Buran touched down under its own control at 06:24:42 UTC and came to a stop at 06:25:24, 206 minutes after launch.

In 1989, it was projected that OK-1K1 would have an unmanned second flight by 1993, with a duration of 15–20 days. Although the Buran programme was never officially cancelled, the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to funding drying up and this never took place.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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