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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pancake Eating Challenge at the Pleasant Grove Fireman's Breakfast. Lion's Gate Publishes a New Website. Space News. Theater Imaginarium.

The Challenge: which space center staff could down the most pancakes at the annual Pleasant Grove Fireman's Breakfast held yesterday morning. Would it be the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, Telos Discovery Space Center, or Farpoint.  For every pancake eaten, one dollar would be donated to HOPE4Utah.  
From the CMSEC's Facebook page:
This Saturday the Christa Mcauliffe Space Education Center is teaming up with Telos Discovery Space Center as we participate in the Pleasant Grove Fireman's Breakfast. A competition between friends to benefit an organization that we care about.For every pancake our staff eat, a donation will be made to the Hope4Utah organization to support their mission. We also hope to raise awareness within our community to help strengthen this important effort.HOPE4UTAH Mission: To reduce the number of youth suicides in the state of Utah by providing education, training, and expertise in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. 

Chowing Down
The CMSEC had six or seven staff on hand. TDSC had two (the rest were exhausted from staying up late into the night working on the Pathfinder refit). Farpoint had one, your's truly.  My assistant director, Isaac Ostler, is severely allergic to the morning sun. 

Megan Warner and James Porter engaged in a friendly trash-talking diatribe. Megan Warner, fighting for the honor of the TDSC, accused Mr. Porter of stacking the deck with people blessed with bottomless stomachs like Jordan Smith and Jon Parker. She insisted the victory go to the space center with the highest 'average' number of pancakes eaten. James Porter countered by demanding the win go to the center with the most pancakes eaten. He was not having any of this 'average' malarky. He further suggested that Megan not work her staff to death so they could show up for the event. I agreed with both of them knowing my one pancake wouldn't stack up to the rest (on a side note, I hate pancakes and liver with a passion, in that order). 

Jon Parker (center) asked both directors to kindly tone it down. He needed quiet so he could focus on finishing the last bite of his thirteenth (?) pancake.  The noise didn't seem to bother Jordan Smith (left). He was an eating machine. "It's for a great cause," Jordan said; his words muffled around a mouthful of hash browns and ham.  

In the end, the argument was settled with an arm wrestle between CMSEC Director James Porter and TDSC Program Manager Megan Warner.  The winner - HOPE4Utah.  One dollar was donated to the organization for every pancake eaten.  

Jordan Smith, the last at the trough, continued to consume after everyone else had their fill and moved on. Jordan is a gentleman, scholar, and a good man to have on your side in any eating competition.  I think the firemen had to bring him back to the Space Center in the ambulance.  He was too full to walk. 

A big thank you to Mr. James Porter of the CMSEC for arranging this new annual event.  It's fun to see the different space center staffs united in a great cause.  

Mr. Williamson 

Lakeview Academy's Lion's Gate Center in Saratoga Springs is Online with a New Website

Nathan King, Director of Lion's Gate at Lakeview Academy in Saratoga Springs, is pleased to announce the center's new website is LIVE and ready for camp and private mission bookings. Lion's Gate is offering several two-day camps and a slew of private mission offerings. 
Lion's Gate offers 90 minute, 2.5 hour, and 3.5-hour private missions.  The 1.5 and 3.5 hour missions are new to the private mission line up - not found at any other space center. 
Lion's Gate has three simulators: The Leo, Apollo, and Artemis. It looks like the center has several two-day camps to choose from as well.      

Space News
by Mark Daymont

ISS: Cargo and Crew Transfers Underway

Soyuz MS-03 undocks from the International Space Station. A Progress Supply ship is docked in the background. (Credit: NASA)

On June 2, Soyuz ship MS-03 departed for a return trip to Earth. Rather than the usual three crewmembers, this trip only included two: Oleg Novitskiy (Roscosmos) and Thomas Pesquet (ESA). Before the departure, a Change of Command ceremony took place.

Peggy Whitson turns over command of the station to Fyodor Yurchikhin. (Credit: NASA TV)

On June 1st, Expedition 51 officially ended when astronaut Peggy Whitson gave command to cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. With the ceremony completed, the Expedition 52 period did not officially begin until Novitskiy and Pesquet departed for Earth. The two had 196 days in space before leaving on Friday. Crew reinforcements for Expedition 52 will arrive in July.

From L-R: Novistkiy, Whitson, Pesquet. (NASA)

Computer simulation of Soyuz module separations during re-entry process. The crew is located in the center module, which has the heat shield. The service module and crew docking module burn up during re-entry.

Touchdown! Soyuz MS-03 safely lands after firing landing thrusters activate during the final few moments of descent. Landing took place in Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, there is a resupply mission ending and another one beginning. SpaceX was due to launch a special resupply mission on Friday, but had to postpone for a day because of lightning concerns at the launch site. This mission (CRS-11) would feature the first use of a reusable Dragon cargo ship. Ship number C-106 was last used on mission CRS-4 in September of 2014.

Falcon-9 rocket lifts off from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center, FL. (Credit: SpaceX)

The actual launch of mission CRS-11 took place Saturday, June 3. The Falcon 9 rocket took off flawlessly and after ten minutes separated from the Dragon spacecraft, which continued its flight into orbit. The rocket itself, however, descended by parachute and engine power to land vertically back at Kennedy on pad LC-13. With a safe landing, the rocket can be refurbished and prepared to be reused on another future flight.

Cygnus resupply spacecraft. (NASA)
While Dragon makes its way to the ISS, another ship is leaving. Early Sunday morning, astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson used the station's CanadArm robotic arm to pull the undocked Cygnus spacecraft OA-7 (Named John H. Glenn) from its berth and release it. This move comes a month earlier than scheduled, in an effort to reduce the future workload for the crew. The Cygnus will now move away from the station and spend a week doing experiments under control from ground flight engineers. The John H. Glenn will deploy several small satellites on Thursday, and after experiments are completed, the craft will de-orbit and burn up over the Pacific Ocean on June 11. 

Theater Imaginarium
The best gifs of the week edited for classroom and family use.

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