Past News


Third Fleet Headquarters News

Monroe Lee King Jr. 12-07-10: Had to take a day job to make it through Dec. and Jan. This year first time I had to work another job in three years! I'm determined to get NSE 5.1-2-3 and NSE 6 fling though!

William Foster 12-07-10: Viper Flight emblem is now official. Gary Horlacher is the 76th Flight Director from the four member Class of 2008. he worked his first sift on console as a certified Flight Director on July 16, 2009 and chose "Viper" as his team name. Since attributes of the character "Viper" from Top Gun were part of the reason he chose the name, I used some elements of the Top Gun titles in forming the text. Gary wanted seventeen stars added for the astronauts who died in spaceflight related activities, with three grouped around Florida representing the Apollo 1 crew who died during a pad test, and the rest in space for the Challenger and Columbia crews who lost their lives in missions.

William Foster 12-05-10: Running another entry sim with STS-133 crew with landing video of previous landing to add a bit of reality to sim. Our Capcom, Charles "Scorch" Hobaugh, commented that the video was from the best shuttle landing ever. It was STS-129, and of course, Scorch was the Commander!

Geoffrey Notkin 12-05-10: NEW INTERVIEW: Geoff of "MM" rejoins his favorite extra-cool science fiction experts at Slice of SciFi for an in-depth interview about NASA, the space program, life on other worlds . . . oh, and zombies and Harry Potter lingerie too, of course. FREE podcast!

Slice of SciFi #293: A Conversation with Geoffrey Notkin of "Meteorite Men" : Slice of SciFi

Louis Varricchio 12-03-10: I am recovering from eye surgery (a semi-detached retina). It is very serious business. The surgery went well. But time will be important. I will be on the mend for a month or longer at home with very limited Internet-computer use. Thanks to those friends who send good wishes and prayers. It is seriously appreciated.

Don Davis 12-03-10: Taking a crash course (no pun intended) in asteroid deflection, ways to nudge or shove a space rock from crossing paths with Earth. The earlier such an asteroid with our name on it is detected and dealt with the better!

William Foster 12-02-10: Ascent sims today, INCO & EECOM MPSR certs, plenty of cabin leaks and instrumentation failures. Meeting on tanking test for STS-133 immediately after the sim, test may happen as early as next Wednesday. Still a small chance of launching in the December window, but smart money now is on late February. Should know more next week.

Aldo Spadoni 12-02-10: The mystery spaceplane is returning soon! The USAF X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is scheduled to land as soon as Friday morning at Vandenberg AFB.

Robert Brand 11-30-10: I was just discussing these lines on Nov 28th with my 15yr old daughter as the Sydney sky was filled with them on that evening. By a lovely co-incidence it was here in APOD on the same day!

Don Davis 11-29-10: Starting a new show, a 3D fulldome feature. 3D in a dome is an interesting thing to compose for, requiring rendering the scene twice by carefully displaced 'cameras'. Several spacecraft models will be required.

Geoffrey Notkin 11-28-10: (Meteorite Men posted by Steve Arnold) Meteorite Men is on hiatus this Tuesday, but on Dec. 7th we go to Wisconsin, then a week later to Sweden. I am not sure, but if it makes the cut, I will encounter eating putrid fish in Sweden. Then we go to the opposite side of the globe a week later. Good times. We have saved the best for last.

John Christopher Butler 11-24-10: Me at age 6. Fewer keys on my key ring, but less worries. Otherwise, still the same guy! Also, photo of me at age 25.

Aldo Spadoni 11-22-10: Pretty cool - the first ever commercial license to RE-enter spacecraft from orbit! I guess if you're coming to Earth for the first time, you don't need a license to enter the atmosphere. Visiting Extraterrestrials take note; you don't have to go to the DMV.

Aldo Spadoni 11-21-10: Pearl Harbor illustration I did in pencil when I was 16.

Don Davis 11-20-10: Now would be a good time for trains to step up to the occasion and offer upgraded transportation options. Reliable, respectful travel to people who are not really in that much of a hurry to get somewhere. Tele conferencing should also get attention to provide an alternative to business travel when possible.

Geoffrey Notkin 11-19-10: So . . . it's employee appreciation week here at Aerolite Meteorites LLC. What do you think we're doing? Going out for dinner at a restaurant? Boooooring! Giving my team a bonus? Too expensive! : ) No, I'm taking them all to see Social Distortion! Don't you wish I was your boss? : )

Louis Varricchio 11-16-10: We now know the Moon has lots of water ice. But did the primordial Moon have lots of liquid water? Maybe even oceans? Here's my take on the topic.

Louis Varricchio 11-16-10: Can an airliner fly higher than 41,000 feet? Yes, but in most cases, not above 43,000 feet. The Boeing 747-SP (Special Performance), like NASA's SOFIA flying observatory shown here, was designed to be able to fly as high as 43,000 feet. The defunct Concorde was able to fly up to 60,000 feet and normally did so, because of its extremely small windows and its structure.

David A. Hardy 11-16-10: Moonbase by Earthlight. This was painted, in gouache in 1970 for the magazine 'Visions of Tomorrow'. Although this was for a factual series (which I also wrote), I also had my SF work first published on this magazine, and then on F&SF (1971).

Michael Carroll 11-16-10: Hey gang, I'm giving a little talk on Saturday, November 20 at 9 am at the local Reasons to Believe meeting. The subject is "Weather on Other Worlds". Come hear about hurricanes the size of Earth, bizarre methane rainstorms, and how our own planet is uniquely designed for life! Saint John's Lutheran Church, 700 S. Franklin, Denver.

Geoffrey Notkin 11-15-10: All-new "Meteorite Men" premiere tomorrow night on Science Channel at 9 pm e/p. We bask in the wonders of the incredible 100,000 year-old Monturaqui Crater, visit the amazing European Southern Observatory at Paranal, and explore the mystery of the San Juan strewnfield! How can you stand to miss it? : )

Geoffrey Notkin 11-15-10: Geoff visited KPNX TV 12 News in Phoenix this morning, for a live interview with the lovely Sarah Walters, who turned out to be a space program enthusiast and loved our show-and-tell meteorites! Great interview Sarah—thank you!

William Foster 11-15-10: Running a refresher entry sim with 133 crew while shuttle managers and engineers continue to assess repairs on the Discovery stack and launch options. Currently working to maintain options for a tanking test on 11/26 with launch on 11/30, but this could easily slip several days, especially as they try to better understand cracks on the External Tank stringers.

Pat Rawlings 11-14-10: Linda and I just watched Dennis Quaid and Marcia Ball play pianos together and Quaid sang on 6th St in Austin. He's pretty good! We were about 10 feet away on the first row.

Aldo Spadoni 11-13-10: My good friend Kurt Gugisberg is a Master rocket builder & flyer. I'm standing next to his impressive collection of V-2s. He's got one for every occasion!

Aldo Spadoni 11-12-10: Attending ROCstock XXXII on Saturday. Rocket launching out in the California high desert.

William Foster 11-09-10: On console in WFCR getting ready for ascent sim and watching repair work on the GUCP at pad 39A. Big issue is whether they can fix the crack in ET foam on the pad, expect to know by Friday.

Monroe Lee King Jr. 11-08-10: (Team Prometheus) NSE-6 is nearly complete we only nee the FPV/OSD equipment so we can watch the launch LIVE! at 100kft! This is so we can manually control the launch and watch the rocket leave the platform!

Louis Varricchio 11-08-10: Enjoyed a fabulous concert Nov. 7 in Vermont performed by the U.S. Air Force Band of Liberty, a top-notch big band with highly skilled, dedicated musicians.

The band that Glenn Miller directed in World War Ii is now based at an air base outside Boston, Mass. and still performs favorites from Goodman and Miller swing to 1950s cool jazz. And they do it all in uniform!

The band also performed some daring new jazz compositions based on music from the 1939 classic film"The Wizard of Oz". The band's recording of this will appear early next year. CDs are free to local libraries, so you can request CDs from your local librarian. No cost to the library. Uncle Sam (the taxpayer) foots the bill. Good work that's good for airmen morale!

Andrew ChaiKin 11-05-10: Last night I had the honor of giving the banquet speech at the 2010 astronaut reunion in Houston. Very cool ....

Aldo Spadoni 11-05-10: Recently attended an all-day company research & development program review. Best comment of the day: "Nothing beats a big missile".

John Christopher Butler 11-05-10: I will just say that, no matter how you feel about the US elections, the IMPORTANT thing is that the Hobbit films have been green lighted. I even like the top of the ticket casting choice, and I know Sir Peter will lead us to victory.

William Foster 11-05-10: Room busy working launch scrub turnaround actions. Next launch attempt no earlier than Monday at 11:53 am. Scrub due to leak at GUCP interface to external tank.

STS-133 postponed until 11/30 at the earliest. Guess I can take the mission plaques back to the office for a few weeks, just put them there a few minutes before the initial scrub this morning.

William Foster 11-04-10: Not the way I wanted the room to be when I got on console today! More rescheduling and will try and launch tomorrow at 2:04 PM CDT, if the winds are not too strong.

Weather brief with 133 crew in progress. Today would have been NoGo, but tomorrow looks better. May have some problems with wind, but we have a decent chance.

Don Davis 11-03-10: Took an early morning bike ride, noticed Sirius was near its maximum height so I decided to look for Canopus, a bright star in the Southern skies. A mile or so farther from the hills to my south made the difference, there it was, brightly but barely and briefly looming over the horizon. On the way back a thin yellow orange crescent Moon rose over the distant Eastern mountains.

Louis Varricchio 11-03-10: The rocky, rocky road to private spaceflight: this U.S. Armadillo suborbital two-person 360-degree vista "bubble" spacecraft was supposed to be flying this year. What happened? Excessive optimism runs smack into reality (aka funding).

William Foster 11-03-10: Different view of the room, still empty as Flight Directors and Flight Controllers meet on the technical issues. GC's and OST will continue support around the clock as long as our command link is active to Discovery!

Another quiet morning in the MCC as engineers & management work through the main engine controller issue. There is some optimism about clearing it for a launch attempt tomorrow, but weather will be a major challenge. MCC will be ready to support when technical and weather factors converge!

And here is the right hand corner with lamps lighting up NASA Flag and memorial plaques. The original two lamps were connected to torchiere bases and a clamp on goose neck used to illuminate the plaques. The bright spot in bottom center is the clamp on lamp. Black foil is used to minimize light spillage and somewhat focus the light on target.

Left front corner of MCC. Large US Flag used to be on a pole in the corner, hard to see in person, invisible on TV view. It was hung on wall after 9/11 attacks, still hard to see. A few hours before STS-108 launched, I went to a nearby hardware store and bought a couple of goose neck lamps, which made it, and the NASA Flag in the other corner, much easier to see. Added more lamps later for other artifacts.

Display for the band built on very short notice, so not as lined up and color coordinated as I would have preferred.

Finally some activity in the room. Members of the Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies stopped by for a quick tour of the MCC. Meanwhile, still waiting on word about launch dates. Good chance Discovery will be cleared for tomorrow, even better chance weather will not cooperate then.

William Foster 11-02-10: I was asked to talk to 500 Taiwanese high school students last week via videoconference from Space Center Houston. They emailed me photos from their side today. It was a lot of fun and very interesting to field some of their questions.

Geoffrey Notkin 11-01-10: (Meteorite Men) Heavy metal dude! We guest star on "American Chopper" tonight. Special screening on Discovery (not the usual TLC) at 10 pm. Showtimes vary, please check your local listings.

Picture by Suzanne Morrison

William Foster 11-01-10: Shuttle control room in quiescent mode as KSC countdown continues smoothly. We will pick up here tomorrow morning to interface the MCC with Discovery. Weather for Wednesday's launch attempt will be a challenge with chances of broken cloud decks and thunderstorms, but not unusual for a Florida space coast afternoon.

Geoffrey Notkin 10-31-10: Halloween fun last night with my wonderful Libby (and Foxy)

Aldo Spadoni 10-29-10: I cut a pattern of round holes in my pirate eye patch so I don't trip all over myself while, you know, engaging in pirate mayhem. Yeah, I know, it's cheating. But hey, I kinda look like the cockpit of Spaceship One!

Geoffrey Notkin 10-29-10: There is fun, and then there is extra-fun. Extra-fun is defined as spending the evening with the Slice of SciFi team, and doing a video interview showing off my favorite "Star Wars" and "Hitchhiker's" props, and a few meteorites. An absolute blast it was.

William Foster 10-29-10: Hot air balloons preparing to launch from a parking lot across the street from the MCC as we rework schedules due to a one day slip in the STS-133 launch. Now set for Election Day, Tuesday Nov 2nd at 3:17:57 pm.

Hot Air Balloons over the MCC as we work once more to replan pre-mission timelines. New launch date is Wed, 11/03 at 2:52:13 pm CDT.

MCC has been mostly empty today waiting for word on the next launch attempt. Shuttle managers should be meeting at KSC soon to decide if leak repairs can be completed in time to support a Tuesday launch. They are working schedules to meet both a Tuesday and Wednesday launch, hoping for a decision soon!

Geoffrey Notkin 10-27-10: Extra-fun mission: I am taping a show with my super-cool friends at Slice of Sci Fi. I suppose we'll have to spend *some* time talking about "Meteorite Men" Season Two, but I wanna hear what they have to say about the new "Dr. Who" and "Caprica." New PKD film anyone? TANSTAAFL!

"Meteorite Men" co-host based in Tucson: New interview with Geoff Notkin of MM in the "Arizona Daily Star"

Kim Poor 10-26-10: (Novaspace) Spacefest 2009, Apollo 9 Reception at the San Diego Air and Space Museum--a very extravagant affair.

William Foster 10-26-10: Abort Landing to Moron on run 3 of the final ascent sim with the STS-133 crew. One more run left then all training for the mission will be complete. Launch set for next Monday, 11/01/10 at 3:40:17 CDT. Time may shift slightly due to debris avoidance maneuver by ISS earlier today, dodging a piece of the UARS debris.

William Foster 10-25-10: USAF Thunderbirds (sans jets) visited the MCC this morning before heading to their next venue. This is the display I pulled together to welcome them. Next weekend they will be performing in the Cocoa Beach air show, just prior to STS-133 launching. NASA set the launch date a day or two later than they wanted to deconflict with the airshow.

John Christopher Butler 10-24-10: Ah, back in the US, ironically under clouds when it was sunny in Britain! Sure had a good time and can vouch for Southampton as a destination - although I missed the family!

William Foster 10-24-10: Great pass of ISS over La Porte, TX Sunday evening as we were celebrating my mother & father in-laws birthdays. Both were among the first arrivals at the Manned Spacecraft Center in the early 60's. ISS looked brighter than Jupiter as it flew within a degree or so of it. Such a great reminder of what we are working for as we get ready to launch the final flight of Discovery in a bit over a week from now!

Geoffrey Notkin & Steve Arnold 10-23-10: (Meteorite Men) Today is the big day! The Meteorite Men are at the USA Science and Engineering Fest in person. We're in the Discovery tent, close to the Capitol Building. If you're in or around D.C., come on down and meet a meteorite. Recommended by President Obama, no less! It's free and it's gonna be great.

Geoffrey Notkin & Steve Arnold 10-22-10: My latest interview—along with the mighty Steve Arnold—for science writer Elizabeth Howell of "High 5" on PARS3C

William Foster 10-21-10: Most of STS-133 crew stopped by the White FCR a few minutes ago to say hi to their entry team. They are heading over to the simulator now for the final entry sim before flight. One more ascent sim next Tuesday, then they head to KSC for launch on 11/01.

John Christopher Butler 10-17-10: Hello all, one day from England on Queen Mary 2, had a smooth crossing from New York. Weather has been kind and this is ending too soon. My first Facebook post while wearing a tux, that's for sure!

Kim Poor 10-17-10: We'll announce the website, schedule and guests for Spacefest early November.

Geoffrey Notkin 10-17-10: New article about our recent visit to NASA's Johnson Space Center by "Houston Chronicle" science writer Eric Berger. It's a good one, thank you Eric! And special thanks to our friend Raul for the great photo.

William Foster 10-16-10: The remains of The Outpost Tavern after a fire overnight. Tragic end to a major landmark of the space age, home to lots of irreplaceable space memorabilia and featured in movies "Space Cowboys" and "Rocketman". After it was forced to close last January there was hope it would be preserved as a museum, but that is now dashed. Thanks to Robert Pearlman of "" for posting this photo, I am sure he will be posting details of what happened there as they become available.

Pat Rawlings 10-15-10: Linda's watching an Oprah on DVR (while on treadmill) about people's behavior with Dr Phil. Says that men lie 9 times a day and women 3 times a day. I think the women were just lying on the survey.

Louis Varricchio 10-14-10: The Wejua Files: Does "Bigfoot" exist? There are several dedicated researchers who stalk the forests of northern New York and Vermont to follow its trail. Here's my current multi-part newspaper series about the legendary apelike thing of the North Woods. Up here the native Abenaki people call it Wejua.

Aldo Spadoni 10-12-10: This is my kind of race! The Canadians, the South Africans, and the Americans lead the three drilling teams attempting to reach the trapped Chilean miners. The Americans won and our system is now bringing the Miners up safely. American engineering ingenuity at its finest! Step aside, all you Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other associated global morons. Witness what it means to be REAL can-do Citizens of this world!!

Louis Varricchio 10-11-10: Toured the construction site of the largest solar-power array north of New Jersey, located near Vergennes, Vt. along U.S. Route 7. It's a 15-acre site. My news story and photographs appear this week in New Market Press newspapers.

Aldo Spadoni 10-09-10: In the 1990's, I worked on a great "swords to plowshares" program. Northrop Grumman applied its expertise in military systems integration to improve the world of medical devices. The result was a series of products that combined all the elements of a medical intensive care unit into a single device that could be carried directly to patients on the battlefield or disaster area. We successfully spun off a separate company called Integrated Medical Systems (IMS).

Monroe Lee King Jr. 10-04-10: (Team Prometheus) We have been getting help with reduced prices! But we still have more components to buy! I took a job restoring a 56 Ford to make up some of the difference! We need some ESC controllers so Chip-in and get your name on this historic flight! I'm still looking for more sponsors but time is a factor too!

The humble new home of Team Prometheus! Lot's of work to do! Nice high ceiling and very long!

William Foster 10-04-10: In the MCC getting ready to run our 4th ascent sim with the STS-133 Crew. Astronaut Mike Massamino is in the room filming more of his "Behind the Scenes" videos. He has documented several missions now with episodes available on You Tube.

Geoffrey Notkin 10-03-10: (The Meteorite Men) The Meteorite Men are appearing live and in person at the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. October 23 and 24!

NEW! Detailed photos of the Meteorite Men's amazing Orange County Chopper in the OCC bike gallery. The Meteorite Bike will be seen in several upcoming Season Two of MM episodes:

David Archer 10-03-10: Shane and Amy Bugbee were on the road today and stopped by with Lonnie D. Wages to introduce me to a fellow artist and songwriter. Here's a photo of Lonnie and me taken by Amy (I think) as the three of them were leaving Roseburg for Long Beach, Washington. Hell of a drive, but hey, Lonnie's driving and used to be Willy Nelson's roadie and Shane and Amy did 365 Days At The Wheel not that long ago. Lonnie's GREAT! We had roasted garlic chicken feta pizza and coffee and talked about chupacabras and sang songs for each other.

Louis Varricchio 10-01-10: As close as you can get to the edge of space without a rocket, the venerable, modified two-seat U2. NASA still flies the civilian version for high altitude atmospheric research. Crew must wear a Project Gemini-like spacesuit. You don't want to bail out at altitude! Heck, I wanna go!

Aldo Spadoni 10-01-10: It's my pleasure to be currently working with UCLA Professor Moshe F. Rubinstein, a very interesting and dynamic fellow. Corporations call this guy in to solve problems and help them infuse a spirit of creativity and innovation into their organization. He's also gracious enough to reach down the corporate ladder and personally help me with my own organizational challenges.

I've recently discovered that a number of people consider the team I've built to be a "shadow organization" within the large corporation I work for. I kinda like the sound of that.

Louis Varricchio 09-30-10: Each day passes and I question my intellect, my heart, and my soul. Who am I? Where am I going? What do I believe in? What is beyond me... and why? Faith is my flashlight in the eternal dark. Yet doubt and skepticism are constant companions inside my life's penumbra. My existence is a mystery lived between sunlight and abyssal shadow. (Lou Varricchio ;-)

William Foster 09-28-10: Scott Stover became the 79th NASA Flight Director on March 29, 2010. He was selected as part of the three member class of 2009. At the beginning of his first shift, he picked "Keystone Flight" as his team name and approved my artwork for his team yesterday. This is the 37th emblem I have designed for Flight Directors and the 19th one to be assigned NASA Photo I'D numbers.

Louis Varricchio 09-27-10: Went fossil collecting at an ancient reef outcrop on Rickard Hill in the beautiful Mohawk Valley of New York on Sept. 25.

Photo shows me (wearing spiffy pork-pie hat), retired mining chemist Bill Dudley, and Dana on a field trip with the Rutland , Vt. Rock & Mineral Club. Fellow fossil hunter Sharon Gage took the took the photo.

Mr. Sponge Bill Blue Pants (center) is holding an excellent specimen of a rare, extinct tiny Devonian reef sponge, called “Hindia”. Over 300 million years old.


Monroe Lee King Jr. 09-27-10: (Team Prometheus) Early this morning the flight computer for Prometheus III became functional and passed some simulated flight test! So the basic hardware for NSE-6, the rocket flight computer and the platform control unit passed their first test!





Pat Rawlings 09-26-10: Went to Carmina Burana at Austin 's Long Center today-it was very impressive. 100 voice choir, symphony, and original ballet. Oh Fortuna was mind blowing with the sonic blast you hear used in many movie trailers. John William's Duel of the Fates from the Phantom Menace Star Wars soundtrack is derived from it.

John Christopher Butler 09-25-10: I'm getting close to my first sailing across the north Atlantic , figuring out what clothes I need, and considering seasick meds...and hoping that Getting There Is Half the Fun, as the Cunard Line once said!

William Foster 09-23-10: View of cockpit activities on NASA 946 today as pilot Steve Nagel, right, (a former space shuttle commander) configures the G2 to act as a shuttle on final approach for STS-133 Commander Steve Lindsey, left. Nagel can be seen turning on shuttle mode near the beginning of the video, after which the ride gets a bit bumpier. Near the end of the video Nagel switches back to G2 mode and you can hear a whine as he powers the aircraft into a climbing turn from about 20 feet above the runway. The whole process takes the plane from 18-20 Kft to 20 ft in about 2 minutes.

Before the STA session, I was taken to the 255 ft level of launch pad 39A to see the Discovery stack. She was wrapped up securely by the Rotating Service Structure so not much visible, but great view of her External Tank.

The scene this afternoon at the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility getting ready to train the STS-133 Commander, Steve Lindsey, and Pilot, Eric Boe, in shuttle landing procedures. The two jets closest to the camera are the G2 Shuttle Training Aircraft while the two smaller T-38 jets in the background are what they used to fly from Houston to Florida for the training session.

Monroe Lee King Jr. 09-23-10: (Team Prometheus) The components for the CPU and the IMU for NSE-6 arrived today! I will be assy. them over the next few days! We still need the radio! Photos soon!

Richard Bizley 09-22-10: A little painting I've just done. It is a Globular Star Cluster nearby a hypothetical world.

William Foster 09-21-10: Did not get cabin pressure issue resolved today, maintenance continues to work the problem as the pilots confer on tomorrow's plans.

William Foster 09-21-10: Waiting in NASA Base Ops at Ellington for word on NASA 946. The cabin would not pressurize during pre-flight, they are working on it now.

William Foster 09-21-10: Getting ready to head to KSC on NASA 946, one of the four modified Gulfstream II jets used as Shuttle Training Aircraft. Will Land at Shuttle Landing Facility and participate in several days of testing with the MILA tracking station.

Aldo Spadoni 09-21-10: Just witnessed an Atlas 5 rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB carrying a classified payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Beautiful! News blackout following jettison of the rocket's payload shroud, but it looked good to me.

Aldo Spadoni 09-18-10: I'm very pleased to announce that I've accepted an invitation to be the Artist Guest of Honor at the annual Loscon Science Fiction convention to be held in November 2011. Loscon is Southern California 's primary regional Science Fiction literary convention, produced by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS). I've never done anything quite like this before. I’m honored and looking forward to this interesting adventure.

Kim Poor 09-18-10: LOS QUATROS Close buds since HS. L-R: Gary Gifford. Kim Poor, Bo Wixted, Steve Rocky Point , Mexico .

Aldo Spadoni 09-17-10: People have been asking me when "my" Hitler's Stealth Fighter documentary will be on TV again. Tune in Sunday, Sept 19 at 4:00 PM on the National Geographic channel. Wow, based on that day's programming, it appears to be "Nazi Day" on NatGeo!

Kim Poor 09-17-10:  Art

Monroe Lee King Jr. 09-16-10:  The spirit of Team Prometheus is to try innovative means to accomplish our mission and we will not be deterred by mediocrity. NSE-6 will be the most innovative and boldest attempt to date by amateurs to claim space as the new frontier.

Addrew Chaikin 09-15-10:  Having a really great time teaching my space history course at Johnson Space Center in Houston this week!

William Foster 09-12-10:  Odd behavior for a jet over La Porte. It made at least three race track passes, apparently gaining altitude. Currently beginning another curve much further to the north. Could not see it clearly enough to identify what type, but appeared to have very wide wings like the two NASA WB-57 high altitude research jets based nearby at Ellington Field.

David Hardy 09-12-10:  I've just added two paintings to my Photos. One is 'Gateway', from my 1981 book with Bob Shaw, GALACTIC TOURS, and the other is a very recent commission for a large (76 x 122cm) acrylic painting based on this, but with 5 'portals' to other worlds, on a deserted and ruined planet. Why is it this way? That's for your imagination to supply the answer!

Most of these are images that were shown at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Glasgow in October 2008. It's a representative sample of my astronomical, as opposed to SF, art. (See also and )

William Foster 09-10-10:  Back in the Space Shuttle MCC today for second ascent sim with the STS-133 crew. Discovery was mated to her External Tank and SRB stack earlier today. Two more STS-133 sims next week, along with several days of meetings with NASA network personnel who will be at JSC for semi-annual Network Support Group conference.

William Foster 09-09-10:  Working refresher shift on ISS as Discovery is rolling over to the VAB for her final mission in November.

Monroe Lee King Jr. 09-08-10:  (Team Prometheus) The NSE-5 rose to 106,400 max altitude. Here are some shots taken from the flight.

William Foster 09-08-10:  Running first entry simulation with the STS-133 crew this morning. Just started our fourth sub-run, probably two or three more to go. Although Discovery's roll over to the VAB was delayed due to a water main break at KSC, this should not threaten the 11/01/10 final launch of Discovery.

Don Davis 09-07-10: I am imagining a future Lunar rover that could show wide views of the scenery in near real time to audiences in tilted dome Planetariums. That would be a great way to share space exploration with interested people! The wide angle view would allow many interesting things to be noticed and 'zoomed in' on with another camera, as opposed to current rovers whose narrow angle preplanned views undoubtedly miss much.

Andrew Chaikin 09-06-10:  Apollo 13th / 40th Anniversary / Cosmosphere on April 17, 2010.

Photo 1 - In this photo: Fred Haise, Jr., Joe Kerwin, Gene Kranz, Gerry Griffin, Sy Liebergot, Milton Windler, Jack Lousma, Chris Orwoll, Guenter Wendt, Ed Fendell, Andrew Chaikin  
Photo 2 -  In this photo: Fred Haise, Jr., Joe Kerwin, Gene Kranz, Gerry Griffin, Sy Liebergot, Milton Windler  
Photo 3 -  In this photo: Fred Haise, Jr., Joe Kerwin, Gene Kranz, Gerry Griffin, Sy Liebergot, Milton Windler, Chris Orwoll, Guenter Wendt, Wayne Koons  
Photos by Deb Koons

Andrew Chaikin 09-05-10:  Saw CSN at Tanglewood a few days ago. Most fun was hearing them do covers in 3-part harmony: Norwegian Wood (Beatles), Ruby Tuesday (Stones), Midnight Rider (Allman Bros), and even Behind Blue Eyes (The Who).

Monroe Lee King Jr. 09-04-10: ‎ (Team Prometheus) NSE-5 Rocket - 106,400 Max altitude! On it's way back to us! From Near space!

William Foster 09-04-10:  Because our new Prince is so small, his Vet recommended we get a cat collar with a bell so we don't step on him by mistake. He is trying to find where that blasted ringing is coming from now!

Geoffrey Notkin 09-02-10:  (Meteorite Men TV Series) Coming to the Great White North! Good news for our many friends in Canada: "Meteorite Men" premieres on the new Discovery Science Canada on September 27. Be sure to check with your cable provider and make sure you get it!

William Foster 09-02-10:  Not the normal pose, and attire, for the Father of our Country! This sculpture was originally created for the Capital Rotunda, but not well accepted by the public. Currently resides in the National Museum of American History.

William Foster 08-29-10:  Newest member of the Foster family came to join us this morning, found him at a dog expo in the Galleria are for a very reasonable price. He will help fill the void after we had to put our previous poodle, Luna Ray Moon, down last month after sudden kidney failure. We named him Prince Charming which seems appropriate as he will most certainly quickly come to rule his new domain!

William Foster 08-25-10:  Mercury Flight became the 63rd certified Flight Director for US Human Spaceflight on January 16, 2006. Dana Weigel was part of the nine member class selected in February of 2005 and named her team "Mercury". Most of her classmates are still active duty Flight Directors but Mike Moses, "Apex Flight", has moved on and has run Launch Integration for Shuttle at KSC for the last 2-3 years.

Kim Poor 08-25-10:  Looking back.

Geoffrey Notkin 08-25-10:  (Meteorite Men TV Series) A short piece (desperately in need of fact checking!) about us in Spotlight-Online from Germany. Funny, we just flew over Germany quite recently and Geoff had the song "Snoopy Versus the Red Baron" stuck in his head, of all things. Quote: "Hundreds of professional [meteorite] hunters in the US"? Really! Do you have a list of their names and addresses? We'd like to send them all a fridge magnet : ) Anyway, we already "found the big one" (several times), so what does he know : ) At least they posed our fab "Crater Spot" promo, so really we shouldn't be overly nitpicky.

Louis Varricchio 08-24-10:  Included in the NASA-DARPA joint projects area: power-beam propulsion R&D funding! Wow! My M.Sc. thesis team at the University of North Dakota in 2002 worked on the design and marketing of a portable power-beam launching system for small comsats. We assumed it would be at least a century away. Well, maybe a lot closer now than anyone ever thought. Very cool.

NASA Jump starts Space Technology Program |

Don Davis 08-23-10:  A blog post has come to my attention about the Apollo 17 Launch Cruise. It has vanished without a trace in space history, yet it may have been a pivotal stage in the networking that blossomed into the 'space movement', in the wake of the end of the Apollo program. Perhaps those still living on the guest list should pool their stories...

William Foster 08-23-10:  After two weeks away from the MCC, strapped back on console and started off with an RTLS abort coupled with a fire at the MILA tracking station. Spent 5 days there week before last, hated to see it burn down (in a simulated kind of way, of course!). Now it's time for the second ascent case!  

Dina Contella became the 80th Flight Director on 5/10/2010 when she worked her first certified shift on console supporting ISS. In accordance with tradition, she chose a name for team, becoming "Steel Flight". She has just approved my artwork for her team.

William Foster 08-25-10: Great demonstration of lunar lander prototype after initial aborted attempt. Ground crews resolved problem and were ready for second attempt in less than 10 minutes. Amazing! And much louder in person.

Andrew Chaikin 08-19-10: JSC / KSC / Marshall folks: I'm giving my course on the history of NASA missions, entitled "Engineering Exploration," at JSC next month. Enrollment is open to civil servants here:
Hope to see you!

NASA Goddard folks, past and present: If anyone has interesting pictures they would like to share of activities at Goddard on past missions, especially 1960s-1980s, please let me know. I'm giving a presentation the history of Goddard missions at the center next month and looking for good visuals.

Pat Rawlings 08-17-10: Linda and I rafting down about 8 miles of the Nantahala River.

Photos of rides. I'm not the fastest rider, but I ride several days a week.

Geoffrey Notkin 08-17-10: Fly, shoot, drive, get rained on, mud, OTF, pack, move, fly, drive, shoot, sunscreen? Remember to hydrate, fly, new PA, drive, return rental truck, pack, fly, drive, OTF, sandwiches, salt flats, OTF, broken motorcycle, grump out, OTF, hydrate, wait at airport. Sleep? Ha, that's very funny.

Robert Brand 08-17-10: This one is doing the rounds again and it is very interesting. It seems the full moon is affected by being a full moon! It charges up for 6 days each month - shocking!

Monroe Lee King Jr. 08-17-10: (Team Prometheus) The TV Show we did airs tomorrow 7/8pm "Eiffin Science" Cable Channel G4! Check out the Near Space photography!

William Foster 08-17-10: Suddenly, they were there, first one, then more showed up. They looked so innocent, but soon it their real intent became obvious. Only food in massive quantities could quench this ravenous mob. But what will happen when the corn runs out? Will they turn on their benefactors, rendering the very flesh from their bones in a mad frenzy of bloodlust? Nah, not a chance, they're just deer, not birds!

Don Davis 08-17-10: I am beginning to wish I could find a good home for some of my art. I still own about 70 percent of all the paintings I have ever done. Once in awhile some of my oil paintings have to be retouched because their black skies are marred by physical contact with other paintings. I won't be around to do this forever. Perhaps some collector or a museum will be interested some day.

William Foster 08-14-10: View of launch this morning from one of the Coast Guard boats stationed off shore to keep the launch danger zone clear. Seas were calm and the Atlas seemed to come right over us. It took about 30 seconds for the sounds of launch to reach us.

William Foster 08-13-10: Was able to drive up to the pad perimeter this afternoon at SLC 41 to see Atlas V on pad ready for launch tomorrow with an Air Force payload. All still looks good to watch it from a 45 ft Coast Guard jet boat running about 3-4 miles offshore to keep boat traffic out of the launch danger area. Then time to head back home to my family. Should be a great day!

Kim Poor 08-13-10: OK, OK. We were trying to keep a lid on this for awhile longer, but SPACEFEST III will be held in June 2-5 in Tucson at the Starr Pass resort.  ...There! We're withholding programming, guests, the website and other details till November.

William Foster 08-12-10: Grill's Tiki Bar at Port Canaveral earlier this evening. Approaching mid point of training classes at MILA, all going well so far. If everything stays on schedule, I should be on a 45 foot Coast Guard jet boat about 2 miles offshore to watch an Atlas V launch Saturday morning. Hope to have some neat pictures RO post by then!

On this small patch of dirt and grass, located on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, once stood America's original Mission Control. It supported all six Mercury missions and the first Gemini mission before the new Mission Control in Houston became operational. It was still standing when I was here in October 2009, but hardly a trace remains now. Very sad, it was a unique and essential part of our heritage as a fledgling space faring nation and deserved to have been preserved!

MILA 9-meter antenna pointed at rack of test equipment in a small shack half mile north. First launch case aborted just before liftoff when a lightning alert forced the operators in the shack to return to main building. Alert cancelled a few minutes later, they are heading back out we hope to get a couple of runs in during the time remaining.

Operations floor at MILA Tracking Station during interface checks with Goddard. JSC checks next, followed by 3 or 4 ascent sims as part of week long training class for new station personnel. Very productive week so far, finish up tomorrow.

Monroe Lee King Jr. 08-12-10: (Team Prometheus) We are scrubbing the 14th launch and using the scrub date. So we will be launching NSE-5 on the 21st. We just are not ready yet. We have to test the APRS tracking further and decide on a better camera.

William Foster 08-09-10: View from hotel in Cocoa Beach. A bit overcast and hazy day dawning over the Atlantic Ocean. Getting ready to head up to MILA Tracking Station at KSC to help with five days of training for some of their new operators.

Louis Varricchio 08-09-10: Discounting unmanned U.S. and USSR rockets and probes to the Moon between 1959-62, NASA's Mariner II spacecraft to the planet Venus was the first successful interplanetary flyby mission ever. Until the December 1962 flyby, astronomers were divided between three theories about the Venusian surface under the mysterious cloud cover: 1. a planetwide hot ocean, 2. planetwide swamps, and 3. a planetwide desert. (The No. 3 theory was closest to the real McCoy but Venus turned out to be hotter than astronomers imagined.) Trivia: Mariner II served as the basic design "block" for the lunar Ranger spacecraft series. They are nearly identical.

Aldo Spadoni 08-09-10: New book coming out! I'm part of the writing team for "The Beauty of Space", to be published by Apogee Books in 2011. This book will showcase the amazing artwork of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA, I wrote the chapter on, you guessed it, Spacecraft and Space Hardware Art: Our Contraptions and How We Get There (into space). More info to come.

Currently writing a paper with a colleague for the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). The paper is titled "Aviation Archeology of the Horton 229 v3 Aircraft", and describes how we built and tested a full-scale replica of a WW II top-secret Nazi aircraft to determine if it was the world's first stealth fighter. Paper to be presented at an upcoming AIAA conference.

John Christopher Butler 08-09-10: I guess the biggest thing recently was completing the animated planetarium show Light of the Valkyries for Griffith Observatory. The First Lady and First Children actually came to see it, although the president wasn't with them. I am told they liked it. I'm working on some new astronomy lectures to deliver on board Queen Mary 2 this October, my ninth sailing on that ship, but my first across the infamous North Atlantic...let's hope the sea doesn't throw 80 foot waves at us (it can). I am also starting some exhibit concept work for the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey California, on the site where the Apollos and Shuttles were built (and where I once worked, and my father before me).

Andrew Chaikin 08-09-10: I'm doing quite a bit of teaching these days, mostly for NASA HQ. I'm giving a course to NASA engineers on the history of NASA missions, both robotic and piloted. So far I've given the course at JPL, Goddard, and Ames, and I will be at JSC next month. Really fun, and I'm learning a lot.

William Foster 08-04-10: Stopped by the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility today to say goodbye to Robonaut 2. He is heading to KSC on Sunday to get ready for his ride to ISS on STS-133 in November. Coincidentally, I am heading to KSC on Sunday as well, but not for so lofty a purpose. Going to Caddo Mills, TX tomorrow to watch a flight test of a prototype lunar lander that may put a next generation Robonaut on the moon in the next three years.

Geoffrey Notkin 08-04-10: It's a wrap! We've completed field location filming of two major new episodes for Season Two of Meteorite Men. Really, I can't wait to see them : High adventure indeed.

Louis Varricchio 08-02-10: As we learned in November 2009, the Moon is far wetter than once believed. Also, I believe the Moon will be found to be more geologically active, too. Rare hydrogen-volcanic outbursts may explain, in part, most LTP (Lunar Transient Phenomena) events seen by amateur astronomers as well as by several Apollo astronauts. Actually, more likely to be volcanism than meteor flashes. The Aristarchus Plateau appears to be the Moon's greatest source for recent volcanism. I discuss this in my first book, "Inconstant Moon".

William Foster 07-31-10: Recently got involved with "Project M", developed by JSC Engineering to put a Robonaut on the moon in 1000 days after turn on (M is Roman numeral for 1000). The technologies required have been funded, including tests of lander prototypes at Caddo Mills (near Dallas) and Ellington Field (near JSC). I am going to Caddo Mills next week to see one of the test flights, Ellington tests later this year. Check it out on You Tube.

William Foster: 07-29-10: This Sunday is NASA Day at Reliant Stadium where the Houston Astros take on the Milwaukee Brewers. They will play a Space Shuttle tribute video before the game, and I was one of eight people asked to throw out the "first pitch". Should be interesting!

David A. Hardy 07-29-10: OK, here's the photo you've all been waiting for -- proof that I actually was on Easter Island! (Of course, I could have done this in Photoshop, but actually it was taken by my astronomer friend Martin Mobberley. . .)

Louis Varricchio 07-26-10: A Voyage to Pluto: A forbidding world that has always fascinated me! NASA's New Horizon probe is more than halfway to Pluto now. When it arrives humans will get their first up close look at this most distant of planetary bodies in our solar system. I had the honor and thrill of meeting Pluto's discoverer, the late astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, back in 1977; he was guest at the Lehigh Valley Astronomical Society in Allentown, Pa. I remember (and paraphrase) his comment when I asked if he believed there was any meaning to the cosmos: "I think there's a supreme intelligence. Look at instincts in animals; we have ingenious ways to survive. And if I cut myself, I don't have to think about it."

Pat Rawlings 07-26-10: This is where I grew up, learned to ride a bicycle, buit treehouses, played football, watered down the evaporative coolers, had a chemistry lab, drew my first pictures, and celebrated many Christmases and Thankgivings. Mom moved out June 24, 2010. I moved in when I was 3.

David A. Hardy 07-25-10: On 11 July 2010 I saw a wonderful total solar eclipse from the Hao atoll in the South Pacific. A few days later I visited Easter Island for several days, and saw the legendary moai, or stone heads. In the 1980s I had painted a scene there with a lunar eclipse, which I later updated to a solar eclipse. Here it is. A dream realised (with a little imagination!)

William Foster 07-23-10: The latest finalized Flight Director emblem. Royce Renfrew was the 74th Flight Director selected to lead US Human Spaceflight operations, one of four people in the class of 2008. He was the first to certify in his class and chose "Tungsten Fight" for his team name at the beginning of his first shift as a certified ISS Flight Director on October 31, 2008.

W is the chemical symbol for tungsten, and 74 is it's atomic number. Both are formed using a filament. I originally had glowing filaments in the border surrounding the emblem, which was initially blue, but last minute changes deleted them and changed the border to match the text.

William Foster 07-22-10: Working a rendezvous sim in shuttle control room, lots of uncertified flight controllers getting mauled by the Sim Supv. Not many failures in the network though since everyone else needs comm to work their issues. Still 4.5 hours until docking with ISS, I will be relieved well before then. Kodiak Flight (Mike Sarafin) is leading the team today.

William Foster 07-20-10: Quite an honor to meet Nicelle Nichols! Her escort, Bob Castle, is in background. My shirt was perfectly ironed when I left home, amazing what a day on console can do! Bob Castle in background.

Antares Flight, our 29th Flight Director from class of 1988, is retiring from NASA this month. Obviously a Star Trek fan, only fitting that Bob Castle escorted Lt. Uhura around the MCC before retiring!

Members of the Houston Texans are visiting JSC today. Threw together a display for the front screens to welcome them to the MCC.

Don Davis 07-20-10: Images from my recent three week adventure to Egypt, culled from over 2500 photographs.

William Foster 07-19-10: I received the mission plaques for STS-133 this morning and hung the mission plaque by the door. It will stay there until a couple of weeks after landing, then moved to the other wall by the mission MVP during the plaque hanging ceremony.

Running a simulation with the Santiago, Chile tracking station from the back of the space shuttle control room. On the screen is a live view of KSC technicians working in the payload bay of Discovery, getting her ready for the STS-133 mission in November. The room is empty now, but will be filling up shortly for an ascent sim this afternoon.

In a back corner of JSC an incomplete boilerplate version of a Gemini-Titan rocket lays on it's side waiting renovation. KSC gave it to JSC after they acquired a more complete version. Sometime over the next several months (or years), this will be restored and on display in Rocket Park next to the Mercury- Redstone and Little Joe rockets.

William Foster 07-07-10: Launch sim with the ground network (GN) wrapping up. Eight ascent cases with various equipment failures inserted help keep the GN personnel ready to support the next shuttle launch in November. The MILA station at KSC, PDL station 40 miles north at the Ponce de Leon Inlet, and Wallops station on Wallops Island, VA participated. Power Amps, blockers, muxes, data switches and TDRS were failing left and right, but the operators in the network performed admirably! Goddard Test Conductor Carl Cramer was at his best putting the Ground Network to the test! Several more to go before STS-133 launches, I will be at the MILA station for the next one in August. (BTW, the antenna shown is similar to the 9 meter XY mounted one at MILA, but is actually at the Santiago Tracking Station in Chile, which supports Shuttle orbit ops).

William Foster 07-07-10: Supporting network launch simulation from super-secret GC-X room. Unfortunately too many people now know the location of the room and even worse, the 6-digit combo to the cypher-lock. No peace anywhere for a hard working GC!

Richard Bizley 07-07-10: Tomorrow (Thursday) a lady from BBC Radio 4 is coming from London to interview me about my cochlear implant. So I will do my bit to explain everything about deafness. They want to know 'before' and 'after' the implant sounds experiences. Wish me luck!

Louis Varricchio 07-05-10: In June 2006, while hiking on stat elands in the Nebraska badlands, I discovered an outcrop of mass bone remains, most likely of Miocene age rhinos and early horses, the victims of a supervolcanic eruption thought to have occurred in New Mexico, more than 600 miles away. I am still awaiting word on my discovery. I have not made a return trip there and plan to collect there; apparently there are no funds available to do much fossil excavation in today's bleak economic environment. Who knows if I will receive credit for the discovery?

Geoffrey Notkin 07-04-10: It's a wrap! The Meteorite Men are back home after completing location filming for Episode One of Season Two. Believe me, it's going to be an amazing episode. Thanks to our crew for all their hard work. Tentative air date is October 15, and you are not going to want to miss this one!

photo by Suzanne Morrison

David Hardy 07-04-10: I'm off travelling again. On Tuesday (6th) I'm off to Tahiti and Easter Island, hoping to see the total solar eclipse on 11th. Please wish me clear skies for that day (early morning)! But even if we don't see it, I've always wanted to go to Easter Island. . .

Dave Archer 07-02-10: This happened to me yesterday, and crap, I was driving ...

Pat Rawlings 07-02-10: Here are a couple of pics of me riding the "Dragon" in western North Carolina. The Tail of the Dragon is the internationally famous bike and sports car road between Deals Gap NC and Tennessee.

William Foster 07-01-10: Running first ascent sim with STS-133 crew. First of 4 or 5 ascent cases underway, looks like we will make orbit. New launch dates announced today for next two missions. STS-133 now on 11/01/10 with 3:33 pm CDT launch time, STS-124 now on 2/26/10 with 3:19 pm CDT launch time. Banker's hour for the ascent team! Expect word on whether STS-135 becomes official in late August.

William Foster 06-29-10: Group photo of MCC Ground Control Officers was taken this afternoon in the shuttle control room. Lot's of retired GC's were there, great seeing a lot of old friends and mentors!

Dave Archer 06-26-10: My studio is in Roseburg, Oregon where I'm painting every day, and trying to survive this downturn in the economy. As you know, when the economy goes south, we go with it. Art is the first thing people stop buying, and the last thing they start buying again when things improve. Galleries got belly up all over America. I just go on, and try not to worry. What good would that do?

Aldo Spadoni 06-26-10: My Engineering Visualization crew. I'm privileged to lead this team of talented and creative professionals. From left to right: Yours truly, production supervisor Michael J. Addabbo, visualization consultant Robert A. Small, lead systems and software engineer Azad Kupelian, lead animator Christine D. Smith, animator Anne Beamon, and industrial designer/engineer Peter A. Barnett. We are ready to take on any challenge!

Aldo Spadoni 06-26-10: And here's another illustration I created more recently for the aerospace/defense industry. Nuthin changes, 'cept maybe the color of the death rays.

William Foster 06-25-10: The entrance to the MCC is getting a facelift. Seems they forgot something after laying new wallpaper!

John Christopher Butler 06-25-10: Been playing at where you can help scientists by viewing images of the moon from Lunar Recon Orbiter and count craters, note oddities, etc. I found dark curving lines and blobs today, really odd, noted as weird...and found out later the image was of the valley of Taurus Littrow. Those were footprints and rover tracks. Oops. BIG discovery I made, right? Bit embarrassing.

Aldo Spadoni 06-24-10: Rocket destruction at the Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships event - LDRS 29. Here's what happens when you push a rocket airframe beyond its limits under the thrust of a large motor. The rocket blows apart as it approaches sonic speed . . . what we call a shred.

Richard Bizley 06-24-10: I have just completed a fairly large 30" x 20" Early Cretaceous scene in the Isle of Wight. Took me weeks to do!

Geoff Notkin 06-24-10: Geoff of "MM" will be appearing at this weekend's ALCON astronomy expo in Tucson, with a great meteorite display, and will be giving out signed photos, identifying suspected meteorites, showing excerpts from the show and generally carrying on the way he does : ) David Levy will be there too, no less! Please note, Geoff is only there on Friday and Saturday.

William Foster 06-23-10: Fourth console support in as many days tomorrow, each day seems to get progressively earlier. Bad news, tomorrow is the earliest yet, 5:30 CDT and I'm still awake. Good news, it is not a simulation but a White Sands Missile Range radar pass with ISS. That means no white shirt & tie required! Always the possibility of sleeping in and letting DFE handle it! :-)

Dave Archer 06-20-10: Great Oregon day today ... the Mill road is bursting with life, the pond is flourishing, green thistles growing tall, milk weed blooms ready to fly off, a bird chorus serenading the scene, garter snakes on the road, their orange bellies flashing, balmy, soft air, sun, thunder clouds in the distance, Canadian geese, wood ducks, a family of nutria, great friends, played monkey organ for bar-b-qued burger feast, and Osama bin Scruffy, the Terrierist loves it, although this picture was taken last year. It's Spring in Oregon, in Summer ... weird ...

Walter Myers 06-20-10: "Flying at this low altitude will mark the first time Cassini will be below the moon’s ionosphere...As a result, the spacecraft will find itself in a region almost entirely shielded from Saturn’s magnetic field and will be able to detect any magnetic signature originating from within Titan." (Cassini to swing low into Titan’s atmosphere. NASA blog)

Aldo Spadoni 06-19-10: Visiting SpaceX was fantastic! It restores my faith in the future to see that innovative companies like SpaceX are still forming and thriving, in the Los Angeles basin no less! It's obvious that the SpaceX team has a high level of esprit de corps. The Merlin rocket engine is a thing of beauty and it was so cool to see them being built on the shop floor like hot rod engines. Thanks to Roger Gilbertson and Brian Bjelde of SpaceX for giving us a great briefing and tour, and thanks to Steve Bartlett of OASIS for herding the cats.

Don Davis 06-18-10: Finishing my animation of the double star Algol, working late and in the early morning going outside and looking at that very star in the North Eastern sky. Getting things wrapped up before my trip to Egypt next week!

Monroe Lee King Jr 06-15-10: Got an advisory position on a science TV show about high altitude balloon launches! The launch and final shoot for the TV show is set for the 22nd at 3am. Right after that I plan on heading for Texas! For the 4th and spending some time with my family and friends!

Louis Varricchio 06-14-10: I just got the good news: I have been promoted from 2Lt. to First Lieutenant in the U.S. Civil Air Patrol! Lots of study and many exams ahead: CAP, USAF and FEMA courses I must complete! But I feel good to voluntarily offer my personal service back to the nation that has provided my family with freedom and oh, so many, many blessings.

Louis Varricchio 06-14-10: Wow, a long, amazing weekend just past. Completed a U.S. Air Force evaluated mission with the Vermont Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. I functioned as mission public information officer for a simulated missing aircraft followed by "pop up", unrelated emergencies. It was like whack-a-mole! But the team was superb. Had several comm and human factor problems thrown my way including a rogue "widow" played by an Air Force officer. Happy to say I kept my cool (grace under fire, as Hemingway called it). As a result, I got an "excellent" rating by the USAF officer assigned to monitor me. Just glad it's over.

Monroe Lee King Jr 06-13-10: I've decided to take on a job as Exec. Producer for a Movie! After receiving an interesting offer. It was in line with current events so I said "sure" Now I'm contributing my skills at fund raising to the project manager for the film. So many interesting people I have meet lately! I'm really enjoying my life! Who is this guy? LOL!

Monroe Lee King Jr. 06-13-10: Aldo Spadoni of Northrop Grumman and I meet at LDRS in the California Desert. I got to speak with Ky Michaelson after 20 years and remember some old rocket dragster days. LDRS was a good thing! I meet a fella from Space-X and just had a bang up time all around.

Pat Rawlings 06-10-10: Speaking to UHCL Art Camp today. Wonder if their tents are made out of canvas and they paint them?

William Foster 06-10-10: STS-132 Ascent Team photo taken immediately after plaque hanging on Tuesday. Ladder is still up next to freshly hung (but slightly skewed) plaque. Ascent Flight Director Richard Jones (Sigma Flight) is holding an STS-132 plaque with mission Commander Ken Ham (Hock), with the rest of the crew in their mission Land's End polo shirts. I am in the back under the launching shuttle with lead Flight Director Mike Sarafin (Kodiak Flight) in the doorway. Entry Flight Director Tony Ceccacci (Intrepind Flight) is furthest to the right in second row. He served as Weather Flight on the Ascent team.

Pat Rawlings 06-09-10: Just finished the MyMoon webcast for the Lunar and Planetary Institute and it went pretty well. I had some good questions and the technology all seemed to work well. Thanks to those who participated.

Pat Rawlings 06-06-10: I will be doing a webcast with the Lunar and Planetary Institute's MyMoon website. I better shave:

Michael Carroll 06-06-10: Taking a break from planets and moons tonight to paint cows, campfires and cowboys for VBS!

Louis Varricchio 06-03-10: Starting work on the ms. of my second book, titled "Seeing Stars: Dispatches from an Armchair Astronaut" set for early 2011 (publisher Xlibris, a Random House Partner). Its a collection of my weekly newspaper column "Seeing Stars" with additional narrative and info sidebars about a variety of astronomical, earth-science and space-science related topics [from the Big Bang to mass extinctions and dark-matter stars to the secret lives of outer space-loving tardigrades]. More later. I am planning a Facebook page for my books so don't be surprised if you get an "invite" to check it out.

Aldo Spadoni 05-30-10: Nick and I had a great weekend of skiing and hiking up in Mammoth Lakes, California. Mammoth was awesome with spectacular weather and plenty of snow. It's been a while since I've been up here and I'd forgotten how huge this place is. Snow conditions were impressive considering it's almost June. They still have 6.5 to 10 feet of snowbase!


Robert Brand 05-29-10: A lot of rain today. Had fun last night. Y10 science is studying Newton's laws and how spacecraft orbit. It took a while for it to sync in to my daughter's head. It finally clicked! There were a lot of questions relating to fuel use and the way his second law comes into play with staging, burning fuel. I love it. It is great when you see the light come on when it is something you personally love!

William Foster 05-29-10: My granddaughter, Madeline Penny Darby, "Maddie", now 3 1/2 months. Great to meet her today!

John Christopher Butler 05-23-10: Good news: finally got invited to lecture on Queen Mary 2 on the transatlantic run. Bad news: in October...rough weather? I am turning green already...mustn't barf on the tux!!

Louis Varricchio 5-21-10: Well, here it is after three years in the making! The first ever Vermont State Historical Roadside Marker to commemorate the almost forgotten Vermont Gold Rush of 1855! The effort to erect the marker was coordinated by the Rutland Rock & Mineral Club. I wrote the text on the plaque. (tough to research a history that didn't leave many records). You can see the marker at the entrance of Camp Plymouth State Park (near President Cal Coolidge’s birthplace) .5 miles from the ruins of the Rooks Gold Mine on Buffalo Brook. Even today you can still find gold in the brook.

William Foster 05-21-10: Busy night in MCC, nose to the grindstone all shift. Testing on voice loops needed for landing support and a very mysterious problem with one of our TDRS Comm passes have been the highlight while the crew sleeps. Continue to work TDRS anomaly, trying to get better understanding before EVA3 in a few hours.

Peridot Flight, Emily Nelson, was the 70th Flight Director, part of the class of 2007. Her first shift as a certified Flight Director was on 12/03/2007 and she is the Lead ISS FD for the current STS-132/ULF4 mission. After several revisions, her emblem was finalized this week.

Aldo Spadoni 05-19-10: Gave a talk today at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers' RAPID 2010/3D Imaging Rapid Prototyping conference at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA. Also had a chance to walk the trade show exhibition. I'm astounded by the many advances in Additive Manufacturing technology. I think we're on the verge of a manufacturing revolution!

William Foster 05-18-10: Working on newest Flight Director team name graphic for Scott Stover, Keystone Flight. Still not complete, but converging on final version. Hope to have it ready before we start taking Team photos for STS-132/ULF4 on Thursday.

Monroe Lee King Jr. 05-10-10: Prometheus II Maiden Flight. (Photo of lift off)

Dave Archer 05-10-10: My new computer ... I feel like I'm at the control panel of Starship Enterprise ... also feel like a kid at Christmas with a new red bike ... just can't stay off the sucker and am staying up way too late at night watching documentaries. Anybody out there know of any new doc's or websites I should try. I LOVE DOC'S!!!

Monroe Lee King Jr. 05-08-10: Team Prometheus is recruiting! We are seeking members with business and marketing skills as well as engineering. We need legal assistance with the FAA and related space authorities! We are making our move on the N-Prize attempt! Be a part of something historical and join our team! "Today's the Day! We go into Space!" Now is the time to join we have the ground work laid out for you! Let's do this!

Aldo Spadoni 05-08-10: I Attended last weekend's charity event for military families in Torrance, CA. The great MotoArt venue & people, WW II Warbirds in flying condition, Pin-up girls. What's not to like? My buddy Chuck Slezak gave me a personal tour of the North American "Mitchell" B-25J bomber, "Executive Sweet". Chuck is former Manager of Quality Assurance for American Airlines and part of the B-25's maintenance crew. Crawling around inside this cramped aircraft was fascinating. It's great to see this magnificent piece of flying history and American aerospace industry legacy being preserved!


I was on the set of IRON MAN 2 last summer. I worked on this film as a technical consultant. Though I had nothing to do with it, they gave me a sneak peek of Tony Stark's legendary garage. Very cool stuff in here. Though you can't see it in the photo, I had to wear clean room booties to get on the set!

Don Davis 05-07-10: Just had a look through binoculars at Epsilon Aurigae glimmering in the late twilight, then went indoors to finish my animation of this amazing star.

Andrew Chaikin 05-07-10: I will be teaching my history of NASA missions course at NASA Goddard on June 24 and at NASA Ames July 7-9. I just finished teaching the course at JPL this week -- great time! More info here:

Andrew Chaikin 03-12-10: Andrew had an appreciation of space artist Robert McCall, who died earlier this month, on NPR Morning Edition.

Go to: to listen to Andrew's speech and read article on Robert McCall.

David A. Hardy 03-12-10: Just a reminder to anyone who can get in, that the open exhibition at Birmingham's Gas Hall (just around the corner from the Art Gallery, is now open until May 2nd). there were over 1200 entries, of which 142 were accepted, and this is one. No doubt the first space art ever seen there!

Pat Rawlings 03-06-10: Going to art show at Wehmohs Ranch on Old Spicewood Road today. The ranch is a working ranch that hosts workshops by nationally recognized painters. I've been thinking about starting to do some hill country landscapes. I'll just have to remember not to put in any craters!

Pat Rawlings 01-31-10: About 90 of us crazies dealt with subfreezing temps yesterday to meet in Hico TX at the Koffee Kup for the best pie in Texas. The 140 mile ride up yesterday was 31 when we left Austin dropped to 27 when we were halfway there, Brrrr...




Aldo Spadoni 01-30-10: My engineering visualization team and a few other colleagues were invited to visit Digital Domain, one of the world’s premier feature film visual effects companies, located in Venice, CA. We were treated to a tour of their facilities and were briefed on some of their latest projects and cutting edge techniques. Man, these guys are good.

David A. Hardy 01-28-10: I’m delighted to say that I’ve just heard that my painting, ‘Snow On Enceladus’, has been accepted for the City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s open Exhibition. There were over 1200 entries, of which 146 will be included in the exhibition. Since I’m quite sure that this will be the first space art ever seen here, it will be interesting to see the reaction! It’s on at the Gas Hall from 6 March – 2 May.

Andrew Chaikin: I'm giving a public lecture at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, January 22, at 7 p.m. Admission is free; a 42 donation is suggested.

Chris Butler: 01-19-10: Snuck into work on holiday, almost the only human in the observatory. Not a problem until the power failed when I was three stories underground making a potty stop. Pitch black, no one around. managed to feel my way back up stairs and drive home through the rainstorm. Next time, I will stay home on holidays.

David A Hardy: Please take a look at this video on YouTube: We'd like to get more people to contribute to this, which is all about sending a message to aliens. . . Take part in a world-wide message video to be placed on a future deep space mission! (Check out Mosaic Earth, too.)

Don Davis: Appeared on 'The Space Show'; an hour and a half of talking about space art, with forays into space colonization, Mars, and modern planetarium. "I was lucid and didn't say anything that would make me want to commit suicide...covered a lot of ground. Looks like I'll be back."

Richard Bizley: I am in the middle of doing another painting of alien floating life-forms.

Michael Carroll 12-14-09:  My new book is out and apparently doing well. It's called The Seventh Landing: Going back to the Moon, this time to stay. The publisher is Springer, and it's in bookstores and on Amazon. I had a blast chatting with various Apollo astronauts, scientists, and engineers about the world's plans to return humans to deep space. Enjoy!

Richard Bizley 11-22-09:  I have just been painting a Triceratops in full gallop towards a T-Rex. A rather overused theme I know, but children and adults love this sort of thing! It was hard working out the leg position of the Triceratops, so I used Rhinos for reference.

David A. Hardy 11-08-09: I'm looking forward to Novacon (SF con, 13-15 November), which this year is moving to the Park Inn, Nottingham. I shall have lots of stuff in the Art Show as usual, of course. Hope to see you there. Then on 19th I'm giving my Keynote ('Apple Powerpoint') presentation to the Astronomical Society of Haringey (ASH).

Visit David A. Hardy on Facebook and at his Official Website



Kim Poor 10-14-09: We've spun off Astronaut and put all our astronaut items there. The Novaspace site is getting too large and cumbersome, and we need to turn it back into a (smaller) space art site.

The new Astronaut Central website is a live 'beta-test'. We need your input: complaints and plaudits; ideas and suggestions; reports of bad links, bad grammar, misspellings, etc. Some things we're aware of, and are working on, but we need your help to run smoothly by this Christmas season. Be sure to update bookmarks!

Any orders from the new site are LIVE and will be processed. We share the Novaspace shopping cart to some extent. so registered users can use the same login.

An autograph signing by 4-time Shuttle icon Robert Crippen is being held by our friends at the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF, founded by Alan Shepard in the 1980s.) Info at:

WE will host our own John Young autograph signing in January. He and Bob Crippen were the daring crew of STS-1, the first space shuttle flight. STS-1 crew-signed photos are rare and valuable. This is your opportunity. We'll have NO multi-signed or completion fees. Info on our John Young signing available later. (Dec. or so.)

New HUBBLE photos! from the recently-upgraded space telescope. We've already got giclee posters at INTRODUCTORY PRICES until 10/1:

Thanks for your time Kim & Saly Poor

Lynette Cook 10-14-09:: Today the 2009 PaintAmerica Top100 exhibit opens at the Kolb Studio Gallery in the Grand Canyon. My painting "Archway to the Sky" is included. It is an acrylic painting of the La Ventana Arch at El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico. The exhibit is up through September 15, then travels to the Old Courthouse Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri.

Frank Hettick 10-14-09: We have done a few exciting things since we last chatted!

Just finished a new home (right in front of the the old one which we tore down) and trying to now find everything from all the boxes of stuff we had to store during the tear-down and construction - so not too much new art happened during the construction phase!

But we did have a 2-month long one-man show at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff AZ (April through May) which went very well (nice reception, slide show along with a Q & A presentation, plus met a lot of 'friends n' fans as well as made some new ones). Also sold three-or-four pieces there during the show!

We now have our middle daughter's two oldest (11 and 12) from Holland on an educational exchange program for two years so I suspect our lifestyle is going to change dramatically for a while!

Another ripe piece of news! Two or three of my pieces will appear in "Out of This World" art exhibition at Hearst Art Gallery at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA (near Walnut Creek in the East Bay Area) for a two-month run opening Oct 10, 2009. - I get to share in the limelight with 11 other distinguished space and astronomical artists including Chesley Bonestell.

Kim Poor 09-10-06: Novaspace invites you to the VIP reception of our Harrison Schmitt
book signing, Saturday evening November 18, 2006 from 5-10:00 PM at our NEW Tucson workshop. (720 W. Prince) Admission to the event is $20 ea, or $30/couple, children under 12 free.

We'll have catered food, wine, desserts, telescope viewing, free photo, police security...our usual extras. Dress is high casual. See our last VIP booksignng report, pix, & video at:

Kim Poor 09-07-06: Novaspace is sponsoring a major event – SpaceFest 2007 (next year) August 17-19 in Phoenix (Mesa). We will feature an astronaut autograph show, space art show, live auction, exhibits, vendors, speakers and banquet.

Please see the website for details. Check back for we update daily.
It seems early to announce the show, but we will be in China for a month of stem cell treatments for Kim.

Dr. Mark A. Garlick 07-26-06: My latest book has just been published. It's called the Illustrated Atlas of the Universe, and is published (in the UK) by Fog City Press. I don't know who is publishing it in America. I wrote it and did over 70 of the illustrations.

Michael Carroll 07-19-06: The most time-consuming recent project is a book I am coauthoring with volcano expert Rosaly Lopes of JPL. The book will be called Alien Volcanoes, and comes out through Johns Hopkins University Press late this year. I am doing 15 paintings for the book, which covers volcanism on the Moon, terrestrial planets, and Io, then proceeds to the outer system to explore the bizarre cryovolcanoes of Enceladus, Triton, and possibly Titan.

Lynette R. Cook 07-19-06: Regarding new news, I have created eleven illustrations for Dava Sobel to visually express the individual chapters in her new book The Planets.
These images will be featured in the paperback version of The Planets, available in November 2006.

I don't recall if I mentioned my book Infinite Worlds when I sent you material before. "Infinite Worlds: An Illustrated Voyage to Planets Beyond Our Sun," co-authored with Ray Villard is available via, and other major booksellers. It is about planets and life in the universe and includes nearly 70 of my illustrations. The Foreword is by Geoffrey W. Marcy, the after word by Frank Drake, and the Publisher is The University of California Press.

Frank Hettick 07-18-06: Only real excitement on our end is the move-in now underway with our new private studio/gallery building.  About 4,000 sq. ft. total with over half devoted to gallery exhibits (which includes some Bonestell pieces, Alan Bean prints, plus a couple of dozen of my own canvas pieces.

Looking forward to some personal gatherings off and on over the next couple of years - and hope you might make it up this way for a quick stop/lookey thing (let us know a few days in advance if you do ever plan anything up our way and we will dust everything off and throw open the doors for you).

No new pieces recently that I can talk about since almost all my time has been devoted to overseeing the finishing of the gallery - plus completing 12 very unusual and different pieces for a 2008 calendar (the deadline is this November for the set to be completed - and I have finished seven pieces so far).  I haven't even had time to post anything new on our Selection of the Month page since April!

After the calendar is published (and if it is successful) the publisher wants to start on a coffee table book of my art to be printed a year or two later (retirement just seems to be slipping further and further from my grasp these days).

Had an art-showing at a coastal gallery for three days (last weekend) and have been so busy trying to catch up from that I haven't had time to post the up-to-date pics and notes on my news link page (will probably accomplish that later next week - in the meantime here is the link to the overall News page -

Joe Tucciarone 07-17-06: Let's see, I've been creating computer-generated astronomical video clips.  For example, in one video we travel through the early solar system and see Jupiter as a molten ball while in another we descend into the bowels of a black hole.  Several of my newest clips appeared in the History Channel's "Asteroid Apocalypse" show in May.  These clips depicted the Tunguska Impact event of 1908. 

My current "work-in-progress" involves the violent impact of a proto-planet with the proto-Earth which is thought to have formed our moon.

David A. Hardy 07-17-06: Until 10 September I have some very early (1950s) work in an exhibition called 'Starry Messenger: Visions of the Universe' at Compton Verney -- see:

Last March I saw the total solar eclipse from the Sahara, which was great -- I've put some pictures up on my website. In October the paperback, revised edition of FUTURES, re-titled '50 YEARS IN SPACE: What We Thought Then . .  . What We
Know Now' is due out.   I'm giving my Keynote video talk to the British Interplanetary Society at the British Space Centre in Leicester on 28 October.   And _next_ September (21-23)  I am Artist Guest of Honour at Eurocon, the SF convention, in Copenhagen.

Chris Butler 07-02-06: I guess the biggest things for me these days are finishing up the new planetarium film for Griffith Observatory (after 3 years).  We'll be opening in the fall or winter, so it has been a huge project.  I can't talk about what’s IN the film, but as art director, I have been responsible for the "look and feel" of everything, and doing a lot of research to assure any historic locations that appear are right.

Also, I have been continuing to perform my own planetarium shows aboard the Queen Mary 2, most recently in February 2006 when she sailed from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back.  I'll be aboard again this December in the Caribbean, and then again in February 2007 when she sails from San Francisco to Sydney.

Other than that, life is proceeding pretty uneventfully!