Last week the NASA EDGE team traveled to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD to shoot a segment on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).  LRO is the first mission in the US Space Exploration Policy, a plan to return to the moon and then to Mars and beyond.

Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) in the clean room at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
LRO in the clean room at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  Credit: Chris Giersch, NASA EDGE

You can learn more about LRO at   Special thanks goes to Stephanie Stockman, Education and Public Outreach Lead for the mission.  She handled all the logistics from her end and made our life very easy during the shoot. 

Stephanie Stockman and Chris Giersch discuss about LROs mission objectives.
Stephanie Stockman and Chris Giersch discuss LRO’s mission objectives. Credit: Ron Beard, NASA EDGE

Below are a couple of pics from the shoot.

The NASA EDGE team in action.
The Host interviewing Noah Petro, Planetary Geologist and Expert Lunar Guru (ELG). Credit: Franklin Fitzgerald, NASA EDGE

The NASA EDGE Team in front of LRO.
The NASA EDGE Team (Ron, Chris, Blair, and Franklin) in front of LRO.  Credit: Cindy Taylor

Finally, here’s a pic for the LRO team.  We found this in their conference room.  We need to look into getting one for NASA EDGE.

LRO Neon sign.
Even LRO has their own neon sign.  Pretty cool.  Credit: Chris Giersch, NASA EDGE

We look forward to now producing a segment on LCROSS because LRO and LCROSS are going up on the same spacecraft.  I guess we are off to Ames in the near future.  Thanks again to the LRO team for a great time up at NASA Goddard!


The Co-Host vs. The System

Dear Audience,

I need your assistance.  During the Daytona Vodcast, I was asked to name the model sitting in front of me on the set (see picture below.)  I answered confidently, “The Space Shuttle.”  My colleagues immediately corrected me.  It is, in fact, the Orbiter.

Something wasn’t right about the entire exchange in my mind.  Yes, the model displayed is the Orbiter – part of the overall “system.”  Yet, even the model base referred to the model as the Space Shuttle (see picture below.)  Chris said, “The base is wrong.”

The whole thing felt more like being asked our nation’s colors, answering red, white and blue, and being told that I am wrong.  Our colors in fact are scarlet red, cloud white, and navy blue.  

So, like a good outsider, I did some research.  It looks like NASA refers to the Orbiter as the Space Shuttle on occasion (see links below.)  In fact, they seem to use the terms interchangeably.

I presented this reality to Chris and Franklin on our most recent Vodcast.  It was not good enough for them.  They want your input on this matter.  So, please examine the evidence below and ask yourself the following question.  If NASA uses the terms Space Shuttle and Orbiter interchangeably, is it fair to castigate the Co-Host for doing the same thing?

Pics from recent Vodcasts:

Blair Practices his own EVA.  Credit: Blair Allen

The Base speaks for itself.  Credit: Blair Allen

in the landing section at the bottom of the page, “Learn where all the best vantage points for viewing shuttle launched in Brevard County, Fla. And get tips for viewing a shuttle landing.
Here again, the Discovery is referred to as the Shuttle when discussing landing.  Earlier in this post, it is mentions specifically as the Orbiter.  Again, the use seems to be interchangeable.
Again, the use seems to be interchangeable.

Not just landing…
Here the photograph description refers to the “Space Shuttle Discovery’s payload bay.”
The Space Shuttle Discovery eased into port…”
The ISS and Space Shuttle Discover have parted ways…”

Visual evidence:

Notice that the text says, “Space Shuttle” rather than “Orbiter.” Credit:

Outside Evidence:

I am not listing any sources here.  The overwhelming evidence for my case is on the outside.  Have you ever heard the regular news agencies refer to an “Orbiter Docking” or an “Orbiter Landing?”  I haven’t either.  

So, let me know if it is reasonable for me to follow NASA’s example or go with Chris and Franklin.  My fate is in your hands.

The Co-Host