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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Saturday at the Space Center. Space and Science News. The Imaginarium.

Our Newest Club Member
 MacKenzie is the newest member of our Farpoint Space EdVentures Club.  Megan Warner interviewed her on Friday and gave her an official thumbs up to volunteer.

MacKenzie is a student at Provo High School and a long time Space Center and DSC fan. She got extra points from me for mentioning how much she enjoyed reading my two ongoing Troubadour stories:  "Enemy From the Dark" and "Vanguard".  
MacKenzie's membership takes the Farpoint SpaceEdVentures Club over the 130 members mark.       

Welcome MacKenzie to our SpaceEdVentures Club
 Farpoint's Space Exploration Class Launches Rockets
   Several model rockets were seen rocketing through the air in Lehi yesterday morning.  I heard the FAA wasn't too happy about it.  Several jets had to be diverted from their normal approach into Salt Lake Airport.  Mark Daymont, complete unaware of the problems he and his students were causing, kept launching away :)
     This was the culminating activity for the space exploration merit badge class.  Each boy got to launch his rocket twice.  Most rockets were considerate enough to land in the road or lawn.  A few gave the boys a good run, landing in a semi-fenced off field overgrown with brush and weeds.  
     The rocket launch officially ended this year's round of Farpoint education classes.  A new series of classes will start in October.  I want to thank our three teachers; Mark Daymont, Aleta Clegg, and Bill Schuler, for their hard work and willingness to drive the extra miles to keep our community education program going during our transition from Central School to Renaissance Academy.            

My expert photographic skills captured the moment of launch

Some boys prepped their rockets while others launched.
Farpoint Cadet Affan launches his rocket.   His classmate waits in the cul-de-sac to catch it on descent.

The Farpoint Imgineering Team Welcomes Emily Perry

      Farpoint's Imagineering team meets at our world headquarters (my classroom at Renaissance Academy) most Saturday mornings to imagineer the universe and simulators which will make up the new space education center at Renaissance Academy.  Our imagineering team consists of the old Space Center's best and brightest.  Some are already on the team, while others from my old Space Center staff are unaware that their reactivation clause is about to be 'activated'.  Get ready for a phone call, you Space Center old timers. We've a lot to do as we design the Vanguard, set to open sometime in the fall.  
     Emily Perry was reactivated two weeks ago.  While rockets launched outside the window, Emily showed off her latest computer designs to Alex Anderson.  Alex and Brent Anderson are programming Farpoint's new simulator controls. Emily provides much of the artwork. Emily's designs are sleek and elegant, a testimony to her training in Paris's finest fashion houses.
     "Look at those lines, and the colors........ simply to die for," Alex said as Emily scrolled through several new logos and control elements.  

Farpoint's SpaceEdVenture Cadets at Work in the Ships.   

     Saturday's are big volunteering days at the Space Center for our Farpoint Cadets.  Lissa, Rich, Brandon, and Scott are costumed and ready to make their stage appearance during the Magellan's Saturday telling of my mission Greenpeace.   Lissa and Scott played radical Greenpeace environmentalists and devoted followers of licensed Tree Hugger, John Talbot. Rich played the Romulan saboteur.  Brandon played the part of a man in a trenchcoat - heavily armed.  


     Of course they were quickly arrested and imprisoned  by the Magellan's finest eleven year old security team.  Rich and Lissa did their best to outwit security into taking them to the bridge to "talk" to the admiral.  Security, backed by the courage generated by two Magellan phaser rifles,  would have nothing to do with it.  Both cadets were stunned repeatedly.  

     Blue shirt Andrew is teaching Rich the ropes when it comes to working the Magellan's second chair station.  Rich was having trouble focusing, having been stunned so many times while in the brig.  

     I found Megan Warner working on a repair behind the Odyssey II.  That's duct tape you see in her hands - proving once and for all that duct tape is still the handyman's first repair solution, even in the 23rd century.  Megan was fixing the ductwork connecting the Odyssey's smoke machine to the simulator's front vent.  

Space and Science News

Expedition 39 Prepares for Transition

In a recent crew picture, the current Expedition 39 crew poses "Encircling the Earth." At bottom is Expedition Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Clockwise from him is Alexander Skvortsov, Mikhail Tyurin, Steve Swanson, Rick Mastracchio, and Oleg Artemyev.

Crew members of the 39th expedition to the International Space Station are preparing for a week of station departures. On May 13th, Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata, Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin, and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio will depart from the ISS in Soyuz spacecraft TMA-11M and land Tuesday night in Kazakhstan. On Sunday May 18, astronauts will undock the Dragon cargo spacecraft so that ground controllers can direct it to a re-entry and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Rick Mastracchio operates experiments on the Harmony module. He's working inside the Micro 7 BioCell experiment chamber.

Around and between the departures, astronauts and cosmonauts work on maintenance of the station and  operation of the science experiments. On Thursday a power channel connected to one of the Solar Panel arrays blew and ceased transmitting power. According to procedures, a backup power channel kicked in and the station had no interruption of operations.

Astronaut Steve Swanson works with experiments on the BioRack inside the Japanese Space Agency Kibo module. Swanson is designated to become the next expedition commander when Expedition 39 departs Tuesday.

Astronauts also completed transferring important used equipment, experiments, and science samples into the Dragon spacecraft. Normally, waste and garbage is packed into the cargo ships for disposal when the craft burns up in re-entry. However, the Dragon is the only cargo spacecraft that returns to Earth for a safe Splashdown and Recovery. Astronaut Steve Swanson spent Saturday training with the Canadian-built RoboticArm which he will use to move the undocked ship away from the station.  Astronauts also worked to complete storage of personal and important items in the cramped Soyuz capsule.

Picture through a station window of the Soyuz capsule command section. The green extension device is the Periscope which allows Soyuz occupants a direct forward view. As the Soyuz command section (which completes the trip back to Earth) is in-between the science/payload section and the service section (both of which burn up on re-entry) the occupants cannot have a direct view forward and must use the periscope.

One of the station astronauts took this picture from one of the station's windows. We see a half-lit Moon
above the Earth on May 6th. Currently, the ISS is mankind's manned outpost in space, albeit in Earth orbit and totally dependent on re-supply from the planet below. Looking to the Moon, I think of the days when we were so hopeful and forward thinking that we completely expected to have a permanent base on that body by now. The fact that we don't is an indictment of our wishy-washy politics and failed leadership to provide a sustained vision of space exploration.  

by Mark Daymont
Farpoint Educator

The Imaginarium

What a Beard and Makeup can Do

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