Farewell Flight of Endeavour ~ STS-134
Explore! ~ May 18, 2011 ~ #19
Endeavour ~ STS-134 ~ Launch Sequence ~ 28
(Shots from Banana River VIP Shuttle Launch Viewing Area - 3 miles from the launch pad!)
WE MADE IT!! WE caught it! We shot it!! Shuttle launch - STS-134 ~ Endeavour’s farewell flight - it was amazing! Beautiful! Breathe taking! Something so magical and majestic!! Something Ken & I have both dreamed of seeing, something we have struggled for, hoped for! Lucky to have been there! Anxious! Exciting, nerve-wracking! And then suddenly- GONE through the clouds after that magnificent roll she does so well! No do-overs! One shuttle mission left to fly- Atlantis STS-135, then no more. A bitter-sweet event . . .
What can I say about NASA and the US Space Program? Have you ever used a cell phone, a computer? Checked weather? Had an x-ray? Used anything plastic? And on and on- yes, trying hard not to do the “Kim lecture” thing, but SO many advancements in science, technology, and medicine ARE spinoffs of the space program and so few people seem to know! These developments and contributions benefit not only the U.S. of A. but the WORLD!!
Since 1976, about 1,400 documented NASA inventions have benefited U.S. industry, improved the quality of life and created jobs for not just Americans, but around the world as well. From the early days of space exploration, these developments have helped change the way of life, especially in health care.
•Dialysis A NASA developed chemical process was responsible for the development of kidney dialysis machines.
•CAT Scan/MRI The need to find imperfections in aerospace structures and components, such as castings, rocket motors and nozzles led to the development of a medical CAT scanner which searches the human body for tumors or other abnormalities. Digital signal-processing techniques, originally developed to enhance pictures of the Moon for the Apollo Program, are an indispensable part of Computer-Aided Tomography (CAT) scan & Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technologies used today worldwide.
•Physical Therapy Astronaut health has always been a concern. Weightless conditions could cause physical deterioration, so a cardiovascular conditioner was developed for astronauts in space. This led to the development of a physical therapy and athletic development machine used by football teams, sports clinics and medical rehabilitation centers.
• SystemTV Satellite Dishes NASA developed ways to correct errors in the signals coming from the spacecraft. This technology is used to reduce noise (that is, messed up picture or sound) in TV signals coming from satellites. NASA has put many many satellites in orbit that provide weather images, report changing environments on our planet, military intel as well as everyday TV signals.
•SystemMedical Imaging NASA developed ways to process signals from spacecraft to produce clearer images. (See more on digital information and how spacecraft send images from space.) This technology also makes possible these photo-like images of our insides.
•Bar Coding Originally developed to help NASA keep track of millions of spacecraft parts, bar-coding is now used by almost everybody who sells things to keep track of how much of what is sold and how much of what is left.
•Vision Screening System Uses techniques developed for processing space pictures to examine eyes of children and find out quickly if they have any vision problems. The child doesn't have to say a word!
•Ear Thermometer Instead of measuring temperature using a column of mercury (which expands as it heats up), this thermometer has a lens like a camera and detects infrared energy, which we feel as heat. The warmer something is (like your body), the more infrared energy it puts out. This technology was originally developed to detect the birth of stars.
•Fire Fighter Equipment Fire fighters wear suits made of fire resistant fabric developed for use in space suits.
•Sun Tiger Glasses From research done on materials to protect the eyes of welders working on spacecraft, protective lenses were developed that block almost all the wavelengths of radiation that might harm the eyes, while letting through all the useful wavelengths that let us see.
•Automobile Design Tools A computer program developed by NASA to analyze a spacecraft or airplane design and predict how parts will perform is now used to help design automobiles. This kind of software can save money by letting car makers see how well a design will work even before they build a prototype.
•Cordless Tools Portable, self-contained power tools were originally developed to help Apollo astronauts drill for moon samples. This technology has lead to development of such tools as the cordless vacuum cleaner, power drill, shrub trimmers, and grass shears.
•Aerodynamic Bicycle Wheel A special bike wheel uses NASA research in airfoils (wings) and design software developed for the space program. The three spokes on the wheel act like wings, making the bicycle very efficient for racing.
•Thermal Gloves and Boots These gloves and boots have heating elements that run on rechargeable batteries worn on the inside wrist of the gloves or embedded in the sole of the ski boot. This technology was adapted from a spacesuit design for the Apollo astronauts.
•Shock Absorbing Helmets These special football helmets use a padding of Temper Foam, a shock absorbing material first developed for use in aircraft seats. These helmets have three times the shock absorbing ability of previous types.
•Ski Boots These ski boots use accordion-like folds, similar to the design of space suits, to allow the boot to flex without distortion, yet still give support and control for precision skiing.
•Failsafe Flashlight This flashlight uses NASA's concept of system redundancy, which is always having a backup for the parts of the spacecraft with the most important jobs. This flashlight has an extra-bright primary bulb and an independent backup system that has its own separate lithium battery (also a NASA developed technology) and its own bulb.
•Invisible Braces These teeth-straightening braces use brackets that are made of a nearly invisible translucent (almost see-through) ceramic material. This material is a spinoff of NASA's advanced ceramic research to develop new, tough materials for spacecraft and aircraft.
•Edible Toothpaste This is a special foamless toothpaste developed for the astronauts to use in space (where spitting is not a very good idea!) Although this would be a great first toothpaste for small children, it is no longer available.
•Joystick Controllers Joystick controllers are used for lots of things now, including computer games and vehicles for people with disabilities. These devices evolved from research to develop a controller for the Apollo Lunar Rover, and from other NASA research into how humans actually operate (called "human factors").
•Food Services A hospital food service system employs a cook/chill concept for serving food. The system allows staff to prepare food well in advance, maintain heat, visual appeal and nutritional value while reducing operating costs. Freeze-dried food solved the problem of what to feed an astronaut on the long-duration Apollo missions. This technology is now in common use.
•Shoe Design Athletic shoe design and manufacture also benefited from Apollo. Space suit technology is incorporated into a shoe's external shell. A stress free "blow molding" process adapted from NASA space suit design is also used in the shoe's manufacture.
•Auto Industry Use Insulation barriers made of aluminum foil laid over a core of propylene or mylar, which protected astronauts and their spacecraft's delicate instruments from radiation, is used to protect cars and trucks and dampen engine and exhaust noise.
•Water Purification Water purification technology used on the Apollo spacecraft is now employed in several spinoff applications to kill bacteria, viruses and algae in community water supply systems and cooling towers. Filters mounted on faucets can reduce lead in water supplies.
•Coating for Metal Surfaces Process for bonding dry lubricant to space metals led to the development of surface enhancement coatings, which are used in applications from pizza making to laser manufacture. Each coating is designed to protect specific metal group or group of metals to solve problems encountered under operating conditions. Vacuum metallizing techniques led to an extensive line of commercial products, from insulated outer garments to packaging for foods & from reflective blankets to photographic reflectors.
•Cordless Tools Cordless power tools & appliances are one of the most successful commercial spin-offs of space-based technology.
•Thermal Technology Cool suits, which kept Apollo astronauts comfortable during moon walks, are today worn by race car drivers, hazardous area workers, & people with specific health problems.
•Hazardous Gas Detection A hollow retroreflector, a mirror-like instrument that reflects light & other radiation back to the source, is used as a sensor to detect the presence of hazardous gases in oil development, chemical plants, waste storage sites & locations where gases could be released into the environment.
Need another reason for how important our space program has been and where my passion lies??! Didn't think so! :)