Lucky Tie

Even though I’m far from home and even farther from LC-39, I’ll be wearing my lucky shuttle tie tomorrow.  That is a particularly silly thing to do since the tie isn’t even very lucky.  We had plenty of launch scrubs when I wore that tie on launch day in either Mission Control or Launch Control.

But its what I can do to show my solidarity with the team these days.  NASA is one of the few organizations that puts it all on the line in public.  Most organizations have some kind of cover, but when the launch doesn’t go right, there is no cover.  The OCO boys sweated over a great spacecraft but some glitch in the fairing separation circuit got them.  That hurts. 

Tomorrow evening we’ll try to launch seven folks into low earth orbit.  That may not sound like much of an achievement, but it is far from a guaranteed success.  So cross your fingers, get out your four leaf clover, or whatever it takes, and lets hope for success.  One more time.

I’m out in Utah doing some management work for the agency, looking at the facilities which might be used for the next human carrying rocket.  It was particularly exciting because I got to walk right up to the first Orion Launch Escape rocket.  This beast will burn several thousand pounds of solid propellant in less than four seconds to get a crew out of trouble in a hurry.  Rocket serial number 00001 is out there on the factory floor ready to ship to White Sands Missile Range where it will be tested later this year. 

Overall, I saw lots of Ares 1 hardware.  The DM-1 (development motor) is a five segment giant that will be tested in late summer.  Everywhere I went we saw lots of new hardware coming together for the first time.  Progress is being made.

Sadly, I was in the refurbishment shop where they are working on the last set of shuttle booster hardware.  The old bird will be retired at the end of next year and any future refurbishments, if any, will be to make hardware available for the new Ares birds.

It has been particularly busy in space; a spacewalk today at the International Space Station was fully successful; the new Kepler telescope is being checked out after a successful delivery to space.   A few days ago there was a successful parachute test for the Constellation program.  Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is in final checkout on the ground.  Everywhere I go there is progress being made! 

But lets all watch tomorrow, because as we all know, its far from a sure thing.

3 thoughts on “Lucky Tie”

  1. You are quite correct. We should never take launching humans into space for granted. It’s a tough job that the pros at NASA make look so easy and routine. I wish more folks that question why we have a space program realize just how much our day-to-day lives and modern conveniences found their roots in the space program.

    We keep looking for alternative fuel sources. Hydrogen is often mentioned, yet folks don’t realize that NASA already uses the technology to take water and break it into Hydrogran and Oxygen. Currently the ISS uses the O2 and vents the Hydrogen for breathing O2.

    We could use the same process, only using the Hydrogen and venting O2 to run our vehicles. I’m sure that would be pretty expensive to do at this point, but maybe one day, folks will realize that NASA has already found us an answer to our dependence on fossil-fuels. (I won’t even go into the Space program’s use of Solar Energy for many years now.)

    Keep doing what you’re doing Mr. Hale. Keep wearing that tie too If I had one, I’d wear it too.

  2. So do you have a different lucky tie with a little more luck? I guess you can argue it brought good luck in finding the problem.

  3. Well Wayne – it looks like the tie gets to be worn on Sunday – or Monday….

    I myself before going to work at the MCC for a mission, would arrive a little early, take a walk around the ponds there between Bldg’s 4 and 30, sit and reflect on what I was about to do for the next 9 or so hours. I know I was only one person in a team of hundreds, but I always took the responsibilities and tasks I was about to perform in a most serious manner. Having access to the orbiter as I did through the commanding system all at once gave me the ‘willies’, and as well – made me awful proud that I was given the opportunity to be that close and be very involved every time I sent a command ‘upstairs’.

    I always carried and had on console my ‘Command’ cheater book – it had all the ‘technical secrets’ of the command system, from the ground to orbiter. On it’s cover, I would place the just launched mission sticker, on top of the last. In a way that was my good luck charm. Never – thankfully – needed that book very much, and thankfully every mission came home safe and sound.

    Today it sits on the book shelf in the home office as a reminder of good times, and of how lucky I was all those times…….

    Real glad to hear you are involved in Constellation!


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