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Waspie_Dwarf

In Memoriam

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Scott Crossfield: 1921-2006

147292main_crossfield_516.jpg

04.20.06

Legendary test pilot Scott Crossfield died on April 20, 2006, when his single-engine plane crashed in Georgia. He was 84.Crossfield made aviation history on November 20, 1953, becoming the first person to fly at more than twice the speed of sound, or Mach 2. The photos above of Crossfield and his D-558-II Skyrocket were taken immediately after that flight.Born in California in 1921, Crossfield went to the University of Washington and served in the Navy during World War II before joining NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics -- NACA, in 1950.As part of the elite test pilot cadre at the NACA High-Speed Flight Research Station -- now NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Mojave, California -- Crossfield flew a series of test planes from the X-1 to the Skyrocket, logging 87 rocket flights and 12 jet flights in the early 1950s.After five years with NACA, Crossfield left to work for North American Aviation on the design and building of the revolutionary X-15 rocket plane.Crossfield guided the X-15 on its first free flight in 1959. He went on to fly the first two X-15s a total of 14 times, eventually flying higher than 88,000 feet and reaching 1,960 miles an hour -- nearly three times the speed of sound.In 1993, NASA awarded him the Distinguished Public Service Medal for his contributions to aeronautics and aviation over a period spanning half a century.

Source:NASA - Life on Earth - Improving Flight

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

April 20, 2006
David Mould/Bob Jacobs

Headquarters, Washington

(202) 358-1400/1600

RELEASE: 06-191

NASA Administrator Statement Regarding the Tragic Loss of Aviation Pioneer A. Scott Crossfield

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin on the tragic death of famed test pilot Albert Scott Crossfield.

"Scott Crossfield was a true pioneer whose daring X-15 flights helped pave the way for the space shuttle. NASA remembers Scott not only as one of the greatest pilots who ever flew, but as an expert aeronautical engineer, aerodynamicist, and designer who made significant contributions to the design and development of the X-15 research aircraft and to systems test, reliability engineering, and quality assurance for the Apollo command and service modules and Saturn V second stage. Today, those of us in the aeronautics and space communities extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to Scott's family."

Crossfield made aeronautical history in 1953 when he reached a speed of more than 1,320 mph, or Mach 2, in a Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket. He played an important role in the agency's highly successful X-15 research aircraft program in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He flew most of the early experimental X-series research aircraft for NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

In 1993, Crossfield was honored with the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his contributions to aeronautics research and development over his historic 50 year career.

For additional information about Crossfield and his contributions to aeronautics visit,

http://www.nasa.gov/home

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Source: NASA Press Release 06-191

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What a great Pilot...

Scott Corssfield: 1921-2006

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The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

April 20, 2006
David Mould/Bob Jacobs

Headquarters, Washington

(202) 358-1400/1600

RELEASE: 06-191

NASA Administrator Statement Regarding the Tragic Loss of Aviation Pioneer A. Scott Crossfield

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin on the tragic death of famed test pilot Albert Scott Crossfield.

"Scott Crossfield was a true pioneer whose daring X-15 flights helped pave the way for the space shuttle. NASA remembers Scott not only as one of the greatest pilots who ever flew, but as an expert aeronautical engineer, aerodynamicist, and designer who made significant contributions to the design and development of the X-15 research aircraft and to systems test, reliability engineering, and quality assurance for the Apollo command and service modules and Saturn V second stage. Today, those of us in the aeronautics and space communities extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to Scott's family."

Crossfield made aeronautical history in 1953 when he reached a speed of more than 1,320 mph, or Mach 2, in a Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket. He played an important role in the agency's highly successful X-15 research aircraft program in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He flew most of the early experimental X-series research aircraft for NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

In 1993, Crossfield was honored with the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his contributions to aeronautics research and development over his historic 50 year career.

For additional information about Crossfield and his contributions to aeronautics visit,

http://www.nasa.gov/home

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Source: NASA Press Release 06-191

Ditto that.

God bless him, still flying an aircraft at age 84. A pure pilot and engineer.

Despite the tragedy of his death, I think that Mr. Crossfield leaving this life at the controls of an airplane is something that he would not have considered a bad deal.

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I think that Mr. Crossfield leaving this life at the controls of an airplane is something that he would not have considered a bad deal.

For a test pilot of his era it is the death he would have expected, the fact that it was 6 decades later than he would have expected I think would have delighted him.

The test pilots of the post war era (of all nationalities) were truly heroic people.

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For a test pilot of his era it is the death he would have expected, the fact that it was 6 decades later than he would have expected I think would have delighted him.

The test pilots of the post war era (of all nationalities) were truly heroic people.

Roger that, Waspie.

I imagine he's smiling somewhere right about now. :tu:

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Bruce Peterson: 1933-2006


The NASA / Dryden Flight Research Center press release is reproduced below:

May 2, 2006
Dryden Flight Research Center
P.O. Box 273
Edwards, California 93523
Phone 661/276-3449
FAX 661/276-3566

Alan Brown
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
Phone: 661/276-2665
Alan.Brown@dfrc.nasa.gov


RELEASE: 06-15

Former NASA Dryden Research Pilot Bruce Peterson Dies


Former NASA Dryden Flight Research Center pilot and engineer Bruce A. Peterson died May 1 in Laguna Niguel following a lengthy illness. He was 72.

Peterson retired in 1981 after a 21-year career at Dryden, much of it dedicated to work with the center's legendary research aircraft. He is best known for his pioneering work with the wingless lifting body vehicles that helped pave the way for a reusable space shuttle.

Peterson joined NASA in August 1960 as an engineer at the Flight Research Center (now Dryden). After transferring to flight operations in 1962, he was assigned as one of the project pilots on the Rogallo paraglider research vehicle (Paresev) program. The Paresev resembled a tricycle beneath a hang glider and was used to evaluate the use of an inflatable and non-inflatable, flexible wing for the recovery of manned space vehicles.

Peterson made his first Paresev research flight on March 14, 1962. He was injured when the craft crashed from an height of about 10 feet during a ground tow flight. Always the consummate engineer, his first question after impact was, "What happened to the lateral stick forces?"

As a NASA research pilot he flew a wide variety of airplanes including the F5D-1, F-100, F-104, F-111A, B-52, NT-33A Variable Stability Trainer, the wingless lifting bodies and numerous general aviation aircraft as well as several types of helicopters and sailplanes.

As project pilot on the swing-wing F-111A, he performed tests related to stability and control, performance and structural loads, including engine inlet and exhaust studies, internal flow investigations and aerodynamics research.

Peterson's lifting body work included 42 glide flights in the M2-F1 lightweight lifting body and numerous research missions in the heavier rocket-powered M2-F2 and HL-10 lifting bodies.

Peterson piloted the maiden flight of the HL-10 lifting body on Dec. 22, 1966. During the three-minute descent to landing, airflow separation across the control surfaces rendered the HL-10 virtually unflyable but he managed to land the vehicle safely, a tribute to his considerable piloting skills. As a result of the data collected during the near disastrous flight, the HL-10 was modified to fix the problem and went on to become one of the most successful lifting body concepts.

Peterson was probably best known for surviving the crash of the M2-F2 on May 10, 1967. Although he regained control of the craft after it entered a violent "Dutch roll" motion, the M2-F2 struck the surface of the dry lakebed at an estimated 250 mph before the landing gear was fully down. It bounced, tumbled and rolled across the lakebed in a cloud of dust, eventually coming to rest on its back. Rescue crews extricated the badly injured Peterson. After an extensive hospitalization, he recovered from his injuries but lost sight in one eye due to a secondary infection while in the hospital.

Peterson gained a small measure of fame when his accident and subsequent recovery inspired a 1970s television series called The Six-Million Dollar Man. The storyline featured a test pilot who, having been injured in the crash of a lifting body vehicle, is rebuilt with advanced "bionic" technology. Film footage of the M2-F2 accident was used in the show's opening credits.

Despite his injuries, Peterson continued to fly NASA support missions, occasional research flights and continued his Marine Reserve flying duties until 1971. During his flying career, Peterson logged more than 6,000 flight hours in nearly 70 types of aircraft.

Peterson continued at Dryden as research project engineer on the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire program of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and later assumed responsibility for safety and quality assurance for Dryden until his retirement in 1981.

He then joined the Northrop Corporation, where he assumed responsibility for safety and quality assurance for testing of the B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber. From 1982 until 1994 Peterson worked in Northrop's B-2 division at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., and at Edwards, becoming manager of system safety and human factors.

A native of Washburn, N.D., Peterson was born May 23, 1933. After attending the University of California at Los Angeles from 1950 to 1953, he enlisted as a Naval Aviation Cadet that year and was commissioned a Marine Corps second lieutenant in November 1954. He earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo in 1958, and was a 1962 graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School.

Peterson was a fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and 2002 recipient of the Tony LeVier Flight Safety Award. He was honored by NASA with an exceptional leadership award for his work on preparations for the first space shuttle landing at NASA Dryden in April 1981. In 2003 he was inducted into the Lancaster Aerospace Walk of Honor.

A memorial observance in the Lancaster area for Peterson is pending.

Source: NASA/Dryden Press Release 06-15

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Bruce Peterson: 1933-2006

user posted image
Former NASA Dryden Flight Research Center pilot and engineer Bruce A. Peterson died May 1 in Laguna Niguel following a lengthy illness. He was 72.

Photo credit: NASA

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Nobel Laureate Raymond Davis Dies


The Brookhaven National Laboratory press release is reproduced below:

June 1, 2006

UPTON, NY -- Raymond Davis Jr., Nobel Laureate and retired chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, passed away at his home in Blue Point, New York, on May 31, 2006, at the age of 91. He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

user posted image
Raymond Davis Jr. in a 1984 photograph

Davis won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics for detecting solar neutrinos, ghostlike particles produced in the nuclear reactions that power the sun. He shared the prize with Masatoshi Koshiba of Japan, and Riccardo Giacconi of the U.S.

“Neutrinos are fascinating particles, so tiny and fast that they can pass straight through everything, even the earth itself, without even slowing down,” said Davis at the time of his Nobel award. “When I began my work, I was intrigued by the idea of learning something new. The interesting thing about doing new experiments is that you never know what the answer is going to be!”

Davis was the first scientist to detect solar neutrinos, the signature of nuclear fusion reactions occurring in the core of the sun. Devising a method to detect solar neutrinos based on the theory that the elusive particles produce radioactive argon when they interact with a chlorine nucleus, Davis constructed his first solar neutrino detector in 1961, 2,300 feet below ground in a limestone mine in Ohio. Building on this experience, he mounted a full-scale experiment 4,800 feet underground, in the Homestake Gold Mine in South Dakota. In research that spanned from 1967-1985, Davis consistently found only one-third of the neutrinos that standard theories predicted. His results threw the field of astrophysics into an uproar, and, for nearly three decades, physicists tried to resolve the so-called “solar neutrino puzzle.”

Experiments in the 1990s using different detectors around the world eventually confirmed the solar neutrino discrepancy. Davis’s lower-than-expected neutrino detection rate is now accepted by the international science community as evidence that neutrinos have the ability to change from one of the three known neutrino forms into another. This characteristic, called neutrino oscillation, implies that the neutrino has mass, a property that is not included in the current standard model of elementary particles (in contrast, particles of light, called photons, have zero mass). Davis’s detector was sensitive to only one form of the neutrino, so he observed less than the expected number of solar neutrinos.

Brookhaven Lab’s solar neutrino research at the Homestake Gold Mine was funded, in succession, by the chemistry office of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Energy Research and Development Administration, and then by the Department of Energy’s Division of Nuclear Physics.

Davis earned a B.S. and an M.S. from the University of Maryland in 1937 and 1940, respectively, and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Yale University in 1942. After his 1942-1946 service in the U.S. Army Air Force and two years at Monsanto Chemical Company, he joined Brookhaven Lab’s Chemistry Department in 1948. He received tenure in 1956 and was named senior chemist in 1964.

Davis retired from Brookhaven in 1984, but maintained an appointment in Brookhaven’s Chemistry Department as a research collaborator. In 1985, he joined the University of Pennsylvania to continue experiments at the Homestake Gold Mine with Professor Kenneth Lande. Davis had an affiliation with the university as a research professor.

From 1971-73, Davis was on the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s Lunar Sample Review Board and was involved in the analysis of lunar dust and rocks collected by the crew of Apollo 11 on NASA’s historic first flight to the moon.

Davis was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He won numerous scientific awards, including the 1978 Cyrus B. Comstock Prize from the National Academy of Sciences; the 1988 Tom W. Bonner Prize from the American Physical Society; the 1992 W.K.H. Panofsky Prize, also from APS; the 1999 Bruno Pontecorvo Prize from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; the 2000 Wolf Prize in Physics, which he shared with Masatoshi Koshiba, University of Tokyo, Japan; and the 2002 National Medal of Science.

Davis was born in Washington, D.C., on October 14, 1914. He is survived by his wife Anna; his sons Andrew, Roger, and Alan; his daughters Martha Kumler and Nancy Klemm; and 11 grandchildren.

Related Links


Source: Brookhaven National Laboratory press release

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Professor James A. Van Allen 1914 - 2006


The University of Iowa News Release is reproduced below:

Aug. 9, 2006

U.S. Space Pioneer, UI Professor James A. Van Allen Dies

user posted image

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Updated Wednesday, August 9, 2006 4:49 PM ) -- Dr. James A. Van Allen, U.S. space pioneer and Regent Distinguished Professor of Physics in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, died Wednesday morning, Aug. 9, 2006, of heart failure at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He was 91.

Arrangements are pending with Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service of Iowa City. Thoughts and memories may be shared with the Van Allen family through a special Webpage created by Gay & Ciha.

Though he retired from active teaching in 1985, he continued to monitor data from Pioneer 10 throughout the spacecraft's 1972-2003 operational lifetime and serve as an interdisciplinary scientist for the Galileo spacecraft, which reached Jupiter on Dec. 7, 1995.

The highlight of Van Allen's long and distinguished career was his use of UI-built instruments carried aboard the first successful U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958 to discover bands of intense radiation -- later known as the Van Allen radiation belts -- surrounding the Earth. It came at the height of the U.S.-Soviet space race and literally put the United States on the map in the field of space exploration.

Among the other accomplishments of which he was most proud was his 1973 first-ever survey of the radiation belts of Jupiter using the Pioneer 10 spacecraft and his 1979 discovery and survey of Saturn's radiation belts using data from the Pioneer 11 spacecraft. Ever a critic of manned space flight, Van Allen the scientist described himself as "a member of the loyal opposition" when it came to discussions of big-budget space programs, declaring that space science could be done better and more cheaply when left to remote-controlled, unmanned spacecraft. NASA's move toward cheaper, more focused unmanned spacecraft during the 1990s was, at least in part, a result of Van Allen's advocacy.

“Jim Van Allen was my friend and role model,” said UI Interim President Gary Fethke. “He represented the very image of a superb faculty member. His teaching prowess was legendary, his research was defining, and his collegiality and service were unmatched. I will always be grateful for his kindness to my family and to me, and I will always be inspired and motivated by his complete dedication to the University of Iowa. I will miss him greatly. On behalf of the entire University community, I extend our sympathies to the Van Allen family.”

UI Provost Michael Hogan said, "James Van Allen was one of the university’s most influential and best-regarded scholars of all time. Yet he remained the most unassuming and caring man. We will all miss him deeply."

Tom Boggess, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said his entire department was saddened by the news of Van Allen’s death.

“We offer our deepest sympathies to his family,” Boggess said. “For decades, Dr. Van Allen has been an inspiration and a role model to our faculty, staff, and students. His dedication to science and discovery, as well as to teaching and public service were unmatched. In so many ways, Dr. Van Allen defined our department. He will be sorely missed.”

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack also remembered Van Allen’s contributions as a scientist and as a human being.

“Jim Van Allen was a good friend of our family,” Vilsack said. “His loss saddens Christie and me. His passing is a sad day for science in America and the world. He was a great teacher and mentor. His love for the University was as limitless as the universe he explored with such passion and energy. He will be missed.”

Born in Mount Pleasant on Sept. 7, 1914, Van Allen was valedictorian of his high school class in 1931, and received his bachelor's degree in physics, summa cum laude, from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1935. While an undergraduate at Iowa Wesleyan, he assisted the senior scientist of the second Byrd Expedition (1934-35) to Antarctica in preparing seismic and magnetic experimental equipment. (In 2004, the American Polar Society commemorated his work by presenting Van Allen with its Honors of the Society award.) He earned his master's and doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1936 and 1939, respectively.

From 1940 through 1942, he helped develop radio proximity fuzes -- detonators to increase the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire -- for the defense of ships. Sponsored by the National Defense Research Council, his work was conducted at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. In November 1942, he was commissioned as a naval officer, and he served 16 months on various ships in the South Pacific Fleet as assistant staff gunnery officer.

In 1946, Van Allen returned to the Applied Physics Laboratory where he organized and directed a team to conduct high-altitude experimental work using V2 and Aerobee rockets, and, in 1951, he accepted a Guggenheim research fellowship at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Later in 1951, Van Allen became professor and head of the University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy, a position he held until he retired from teaching in 1985. During the 1950s, he and his graduate students used the UI football practice field to launch rockets and "rockoons" -- rockets carried aloft by balloons -- to conduct cosmic ray experiments above the atmosphere. A highlight of that work was the 1953 discovery of electrons believed to be the driving force behind the aurora. In 1956, he proposed the use of U.S. satellites for cosmic-ray investigations and through "preparedness and good fortune," he later wrote, the experiment was selected as the principal payload for the first flight of a four-stage Jupiter C rocket.

Van Allen played an important role in planning the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year (IGY) and carried out shipboard expeditions to Greenland and southward to the Ross Sea off the coast of Antarctica in 1957. IGY culminated in the Jan. 31, 1958 launch of Explorer 1 and its scientific payload. Van Allen's instruments included a Geiger counter, which provided information that regions of intense radiation surround the Earth. The discovery marked the birth of the research field of magnetospheric physics, an enterprise that grew to involve more than 1,000 investigators in more than 20 countries.

In 1974 People Magazine listed Van Allen as one of the top 10 teaching college professors in the country. His former graduate students list among their accomplishments experiments on NASA's Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo and Cassini spacecraft.

Van Allen joined the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in 1948 and served as the organization's president from 1982 until 1984. He has received the AGU's highest honors, including the John A. Fleming Award in 1963 for eminence in geophysics and the William Bowie Medal in 1977 for outstanding contributions to fundamental geophysics and for unselfish cooperation in research.

In 1994, Van Allen received the 1994 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize from the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society "in recognition of his many contributions to the field of planetary science, both through his investigations of planetary magnetospheres and through his advocacy of planetary exploration." Also in 1994, he was presented with a lifetime achievement award by NASA on the occasion of his 80th birthday and the American Geophysical Union's 75th anniversary.

Van Allen's many other awards and honors include membership in the National Academy of Sciences since 1959 and the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for scientific achievement, presented in 1987 by President Reagan in ceremonies at the White House. In 1989, he received the Crafoord Prize, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm and presented by the King of Sweden. The Crafoord Prize is the highest award the Academy can bestow for research in a number of scientific fields and, for space exploration, is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Perhaps his proudest achievement as an educator was leaving his mark on 34 doctoral students, 47 master's degree students and, especially, the numerous undergraduates who enjoyed his classes. In a February 2004 interview he said, "I taught 'General Astronomy' for 17 years, and it was my favorite course. I spent one or two hours preparing for each lecture because I had a genuine enthusiasm for the course. Today, I run into people all the time who say, 'You don't remember me, but I took your course in 1985.' Many former students tell me how much they enjoyed the course."

Van Allen is survived by his wife, Abigail Fithian Halsey II Van Allen, his five children -- Cynthia Van Allen Schaffner of New York City; Dr. Margot Van Allen Cairns of Vancouver, British Columbia; Sarah Van Allen Trimble of Washington, D.C.; Thomas Van Allen of Aspen, Colo.; and Peter Van Allen of Philadelphia -- and seven grandchildren.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 301, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen J. Pradarelli, University News Services Director, 319-384-0007, 319-621-5263 (cell), or stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu. Writer: Gary Galluzzo.

TRIBUTE PAGE: http://www.uiowa.edu/~ournews/van-allen/


Source: University of Iowa News Release

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Pioneering Astrophysicist James Van Allen Dies

NASA is remembering pioneering astrophysicist James Van Allen, who died today at the age of 91.

"James Van Allen was one of the greatest and most accomplished American space scientists of our time and few researchers had such wide range of expertise in so many scientific disciplines," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. "NASA's path of space exploration is far more advanced today because of Dr. Van Allen's ground breaking work."

user posted image

Image above: The three men responsible for the success of Explorer 1, America's first satellite, launched Jan. 31, 1958. From left, William H. Pickering, James Van Allen and Wernher von Braun. Click image for high resolution.

Photo Credit: NASA.

Van Allen's most widely known contribution was the 1958 discovery of radiation belts, now called Van Allen belts, encircling the Earth. He also is credited with discovery of a new moon of Saturn in 1979, as well as radiation belts around that planet.

Van Allen was at the forefront of physics. During his career, he was the principal investigator for scientific investigations on 24 Earth satellites and planetary missions, beginning with the first successful American satellite, Explorer I, and continuing with Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11. He also helped develop the first plans for an International Geophysical Year.

user posted image

Image above: Simulated Van Allen Belts generated by plasma thruster in tank #5 Electric Propulsion Laboratory at the Lewis Research Center, Cleveland Ohio, now John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field. Click image for high resolution image.

Photo Credit: NASA.

In recognition of his contribution to U.S. space research, Van Allen received 13 honorary doctorates, NASA's Medal of Exceptional Achievement, the Commander of the Order du Merite pour la Recherche et L'Invention and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

REFERENCES

+ James Van Allen's NASA biography

+ University of Iowa's Tribute to Dr. Van Allen

+ More information on the Explorer Program

+ NASA's Pioneer Program

+ Dr. Van Allen's biography at P.O.E.T.R.Y

Source: NASA - Exploring the Universe

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Rocco Petrone, 1926-2006


Rocco Petrone, a pioneer of America’s space program, passed away on August 24. He was 80. Petrone was instrumental in the achievement of the first voyages to the moon, serving as Director of Launch Operations at NASA's Kennedy Space Center from July 1966 until September 1969 and subsequently as NASA's Apollo Program Director. From 1973 to 1974, Petrone also was director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

user posted image
Image above: Marshall's third Center Director Rocco A. Petrone stands
in front of a Saturn V rocket. Petrone personally supervised the Apollo
11 Mission and then became Director of the Apollo program in 1969
before coming to Marshall. At Marshall he continued to direct the
manned space flight programs.
Click on image for high resolution image.
Image credit: NASA.


The son of Italian immigrants, Petrone graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1946 and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He also earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951 and received an honorary doctorate from Rollins College. During two decades with the U.S. Army, Petrone took part in developing the Redstone rocket, the first U.S. ballistic missile and the vehicle used to propel America's first astronauts, Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom on their suborbital missions.

At NASA, Petrone presided over the development of the Saturn 5 lunar launch vehicle and launch operations, what he dubbed the "five-month marathons," leading up to each launch. In a Washington Post feature, shortly before the first moon landing, Petrone was described as "a broad-shouldered tree of a man who in his line of work is treated with the same mixture of awe and respect football players give Vince Lombardi."


Source: NASA - Humans In Space

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I've read many a book on the space program that featured Petrone. He was a person to admire. Rest In Peace.

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Posted (edited)

Veteran Astronaut Walter Schirra Dies


The linked-image press release is reproduced below:


May 3, 2007
David Mould
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1898

RELEASE: 07-100

Veteran Astronaut Walter Schirra Dies


LA JOLLA, Calif. - Pioneering astronaut Walter "Wally" Schirra, the only man who flew in all three of America's first human space projects - Mercury, Gemini and Apollo - died Wednesday. He was 84. Schirra's family reported he died of natural causes.

Schirra was one of America's original seven astronauts, selected in 1959, and was commander of the first crew to fly into space aboard an Apollo capsule, Apollo 7, following the tragic launchpad fire that claimed the lives of the crew of Apollo 1.

"With the passing of Wally Schirra, we at NASA note with sorrow the loss of yet another of the pioneers of human spaceflight," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said. "As a Mercury astronaut, Wally was a member of the first group of astronauts to be selected, often referred to as the Original Seven."

Schirra's first space flight was piloting the fifth Mercury mission on Oct. 3, 1962, orbiting Earth six times in 9 hours and 13 minutes. During the flight he took hundreds of photos of Earth and space phenomena. Schirra's capsule, Sigma 7, splashed down only 5 miles from the recovery carrier.

As commander of Gemini 6-A, which launched on Dec. 15, 1965, Schirra flew with astronaut Tom Stafford on a mission that included the first rendezvous of two manned, maneuverable spacecraft. Gemini 6-A and Gemini 7 flew in formation for five hours, as close as one foot to one another.

During his 11-day Apollo 7 flight, which began Oct. 11, 1968, he and fellow crewmembers Walt Cunningham and Donn Eisele tested the Apollo systems and proved Apollo was ready to take astronauts to the moon.

"We shared a common dream to test the limits of man's imagination and daring," Schirra wrote of America's early astronauts. "Those early pioneering flights of Mercury, the performances of Gemini and the trips to the moon established us once and for all as what I like to call a spacefaring nation. Like England, Spain and Portugal crossing the seas in search of their nations' greatness, so we reached for the skies and ennobled our nation."

Schirra retired from the Navy as a captain and from NASA in 1969 and became a commentator with CBS News. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the space program coupled with his charismatic on-the-air presence made him an even more widely known national and international figure.

He complemented CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite and the two became a powerful space-coverage team. Schirra worked for CBS from 1969 to 1975. He also engaged in a range of business activities and in 1979 formed his own consultant company, Schirra Enterprises.

Walter M. Schirra, Jr., was born in Hackensack, N.J., on March 12, 1923. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1945, and from Naval Flight Training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla., in 1947. After service as a carrier-based fighter pilot and operations officer, he attended the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md. During the Korean War he flew F-86 Sabres under an exchange program with the Air Force.

Schirra was chosen as one of the original "Mercury Seven" from among 110 selected test pilots from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps after exhaustive physical and psychological examinations.

Known for lively storytelling and practical jokes, one of his best-known anecdotes from astronaut training came when he and the others were continually being examined and subjected to demands for samples of body fluids. When one nurse insisted he provide a urine sample, Schirra reportedly filled a 5-gallon jug with warm water, detergent and iodine and left it on her desk.

"Levity makes life a lot easier," he once told a Houston reporter.

Griffin noted that "It was impossible to know Wally, even to meet him, without realizing at once that he was a man who relished the lighter side of life, the puns and jokes and pranks that can enliven a gathering. But this was a distraction from the true nature of the man. His record as a pioneering space pilot shows the real stuff of which he was made. We who have inherited today's space program will always be in his debt."

The Mercury Seven trained initially at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. In 1961 they moved to the newly established Manned Spacecraft Center (now the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center) near Houston.

Schirra's Sigma 7 mission was called "the perfect flight" by space reporter and author Howard Benedict. After Schirra's splashdown near the carrier USS Kearsarge near Midway Island in the Pacific, he pronounced himself "healthy as a bear" and "happy as a lark."

Schirra's Gemini flight with Stafford was something of an improvisation. They had been scheduled to rendezvous in orbit with an unmanned Agena to be launched 90 minutes before the Gemini liftoff. But six minutes after the Atlas-Agena left the pad it exploded, and the Gemini 6-A launch was postponed.

Eventually it was decided to use Gemini 7 as a rendezvous target for Gemini 6-A. Both were to be launched from Pad 19 at Cape Canaveral, so a record turnaround of the launch pad was necessary. Working around the clock, crews got the pad ready in just eight days after the Gemini 7 liftoff.

The Gemini 6-A countdown reached zero on Dec. 12, 1965, and the rocket engines ignited - then shut down. The two astronauts had to wait almost half an hour atop the fueled rocket before getting out of the capsule. The problem turned out to be minor, the failure of an electrical connection.

Three days later, Gemini 6-A was launched without a hitch. The mission proved the spacecraft could be readily maneuvered. It was an encouraging development in the race to reach the moon.

By the launch of Apollo 7 in October 1968, the moon landing seemed to be coming within reach. The success of the flight proved that it was. Accomplishments of the mission commanded by Schirra resulted in the next flight, Apollo 8, being sent around the moon.

Apollo 7 had not been all smooth sailing. All three astronauts had colds. Schirra was occasionally firm in rejecting requests from the ground to insert additional events in the already-crowded flight plan.

"Television will be delayed, without any further discussion, until after the rendezvous" (with a spent rocket stage), he said. He subsequently was even more critical of efforts to add events to the flight plan. Eventually the almost daily television transmissions from Apollo 7 became popular mainstays of the mission coverage. Schirra subsequently apologized for the tone of some of his criticisms, though not for their content.

After leaving NASA, he participated in a number of television presentations and films, and served as national spokesman for several organizations and companies. He also held numerous directorships for a variety of businesses, in addition to his consulting work. He also wrote two books, "We Seven" published in 1960 and "Schirra's Space" published in 1988.

Schirra's military awards included the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Air Medals, two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the Philippines Legion of Honor.

He was awarded honorary doctorates by several institutions of higher learning.

He was active in a number of organizations. He was on the Advisory Committee of the Oceans Foundations, the Advisory Board/Council of U.S. National Parks, the Advisory Board of International "Up With People" and was a founding member and director of the Mercury Seven Foundation.

He also was a director of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, a trustee of the Scripps Aquarium, and a member of the International Council of the Salk Institute.

Schirra lived in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Survivors include his wife Josephine, his daughter Suzanne and son Walter Schirra III.

Images and video from Schirra's years with NASA can be seen at:
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/features/walter_schirra.html

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 07-100 Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
corrected link.
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Walter Schirra, 1923-2007
05.03.07

linked-image

Image above: NASA astronaut Walter Schirra in his Mercury flight suit. Photo credit: NASA.

Wally Schirra, the only astronaut to fly in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, has died. He was 84 years old.

Schirra's NASA career began with his selection as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts in 1959 and spans the period from Americas first tentative steps into space to the missions to the moon.

Schirra flew on the fifth Mercury flight in 1962, orbiting the Earth six times. He commanded Gemini 6A in 1965, a flight with Tom Stafford that had the historic distinction of being the first rendezvous of two manned, maneuverable spacecraft. Gemini 6A and Gemini 7 flew in formation for five hours, as close as one foot to one another.

Schirra also commanded Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo flight. During that 11-day flight in Earth orbit in 1968, he and fellow crewmembers Walt Cunningham and Donn Eisele tested the Apollo systems and proved it was ready to take astronauts to the moon.

In what was a precursor of things to come, Apollo 7 transmitted the first television feed live into commercial networks from space during its 260-hour flight.

"With the passing of Wally Schirra, we at NASA note with sorrow the loss of yet another of the pioneers of human spaceflight," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said. "As a Mercury astronaut, Wally was of a member of the first group of astronauts to be selected, often referred to as the Original Seven."

Schirra retired from the Navy as a captain and from NASA in 1969 and became a commentator with CBS Television. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the space program made him a widely known national and international figure.

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Image above: Schirra stands beside his T-38 aircraft.

Photo credit: NASA.

He complemented Walter Cronkite and the two became a powerful space-coverage team. Schirra worked for CBS from 1969 to 1975. He also engaged in a range of business activities and in 1979 formed his own consultant company, Schirra Enterprises.

Walter M. Schirra was born in Hackensack, N.J., on March 12, 1923. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1945, and from Naval Flight Training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla., in 1947. After service as a carrier-based fighter pilot and operations officer, he attended the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md. During the Korean War he flew F-86 Sabres under an exchange program with the Air Force.

Schirra was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts introduced to the public on April 1959. The seven were chosen from among 110 selected test pilots from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, after exhaustive physical and psychological examinations.

In 1961, the program moved to the newly established Manned Spacecraft Center (now the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center) near Houston. Schirra was enthusiastic and outgoing and like others among the Mercury astronauts, he was not above an occasional practical joke. "Levity makes life a lot easier," he once told a Houston reporter.

Schirra's Gemini flight with Stafford was something of an improvisation. They had been scheduled to rendezvous in orbit with an unmanned Agena to be launched 90 minutes before the Gemini liftoff. But six minutes after the Atlas-Agena left the pad it exploded, and the Gemini 6A launch was postponed.

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Image above: Walter Schirra, his wife and family visit with President

John F. Kennedy.

Photo credit: NASA.

Eventually it was decided to use Gemini 7 as a rendezvous target for Gemini 6A. Both were to be launched from Pad 19 at Cape Canaveral, so a record turnaround of the pad was necessary. Working around the clock, crews got the pad ready in just eight days after the Gemini 7 liftoff.

The Gemini 6A countdown reached zero on Dec. 12, 1965, and the rocket engines ignited – then shut down. The two astronauts had to wait almost half an hour atop the fueled rocket before getting out of the capsule. The problem turned out to be minor, the failure of an electrical connection.

Three days later, Gemini 6A was launched without a hitch. The mission proved the spacecraft could be readily maneuvered. It was an encouraging development in the race to reach the moon.

By the launch of Apollo 7 in October 1968 -- the first human flight in an Apollo spacecraft that had been much improved after the tragic Apollo 1 fire on the launch pad almost two years before -- the moon landing seemed to be coming within reach. The success of the flight proved that it was.

Accomplishments of the mission commanded by Schirra resulted in the next flight, Apollo 8, becoming the first to orbit the moon.

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Image above: The Apollo 7 crew: NASA astronauts Donn Eisele, mission commander Walter Schirra and Walter Cunningham.

Photo credit: NASA.

Schirras military awards included the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Air Medals, two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the Philippines Legion of Honor.

He was awarded honorary doctorates by several institutions of higher learning.

He was active in a number of organizations and was a founding member and director of the Mercury Seven Foundation. He also was a director of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, a trustee of the Scripps Aquarium, and a member of the International Council of the Salk Institute.

Source: NASA - Humans In Space

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Message from Administrator Griffin

05.03.07
The Passing of Wally Schirra

Today is a sad day for NASA and our country, as we mourn the passing yesterday in California of astronaut Walter "Wally" Schirra. With Wally's passing, we at NASA note with sorrow the loss of yet another of the pioneers of human spaceflight. As a Mercury astronaut, Wally was a member of the first group of astronauts to be selected, often referred to as the "Original Seven." Wally is remembered in the close circle of the space community as the pilot who flew a "textbook flight" on his Mercury mission in October 1962.

But Wally's spaceflight career went well beyond Mercury; on his next flight, in December 1965, he commanded the Gemini 6 mission with Tom Stafford as pilot. Wally and Tom carried out the first rendezvous in space, flying for hours in formation with Frank Borman and Jim Lovell in their Gemini 7 spacecraft, and completing one of the key steps along the path to the moon.

The fact that this mission flew at all will always be known as a testimony to Wally's cool precision under stress, for Gemini 6 experienced the first on-pad engine shutdown in human spaceflight history. Worse, the crew had a liftoff indication triggered by a faulty umbilical connection; according to mission rules, they should have ejected from the spacecraft. But Wally did not feel what he thought he should have felt had the booster really begun to take flight, and so the crew stayed aboard, saving the mission and quite possibly the program.

Wally's last flight was Apollo 7, the first to be conducted in the aftermath of the disastrous Apollo 1 fire. This flight was another enormous success, accomplishing "101% of its objectives," according to the post-flight debrief. It also made Wally the first man to command three different spacecraft, and the only one to fly Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

It was impossible to know Wally, even to meet him, without realizing at once that he was a man who relished the lighter side of life, the puns and jokes and pranks that can enliven a gathering. But this was a distraction from the true nature of the man. His record as a pioneering space pilot shows the real stuff of which he was made. We who have inherited today's space program will always be in his debt.

Mike Griffin

Administrator

Source: NASA - About NASA

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Wally now joins Deke, Gus, Al, and Gordo...

There are only two left of the "Original 7": John Glenn and Scott Carpenter.

Wally was a character. He was also an impeccable research pilot, whose three flights were not only perfect, but set standards of performance that were tough to match. He flew the perfect Mercury orbital mission; he executed the first rendezvous in space,...(man, that was something...see?---

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...which placed the U.S. ahead for good in the space race of the 1960s, and of course, brought the Apollo program out of the ashes of AS-204 with the 100% successful test flight of the Block 2 Apollo CSM in October 1968.

He was a rare combination of perfectionist and clown...who could also be downright rammy if he had a head cold on orbit (and of course, Sudafed benefited greatly from his endorsement of the product!).

I say, "Godspeed Wally. May you always have good tail winds..."

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...yea, that's the way he was...(Apollo 7 crew).

It is indeed a sad day...

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It is indeed a sad day...

I couldn't agree more.

The Stranglers sang that there are, "No more heroes any more." I don't agree with them. However, as far as I an concerned, there is one less.

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Walter Schirra

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Pictured is astronaut Walter M. Schirra, one of the original seven astronauts for Mercury Project selected by NASA on April 27, 1959. Schirra's Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, during which he piloted his Sigma 7 spacecraft, was the third marned orbital flight by the United States.

Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

+ Full Resolution (4.55 Mb)


Source: NASA - Multimedia - Image of the Day Gallery

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I couldn't agree more.

The Stranglers sang that there are, "No more heroes any more." I don't agree with them. However, as far as I an concerned, there is one less.

You're absolutely correct.

There is indeed one less....

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Posted (edited)

The BBC is reporting that the British born science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died in Sri Lanka at the age of 90. In 1945 Clarke proposed the use of satellites in geosynchronous orbit for telecommunications relays and thus is credited with inventing the concept of the communication satellite.

RIP Sir Arthur.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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RIP.

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Posted (edited)

"Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal."

Maelstrom II (1965) - Arthur C Clarke.

Rest In Peace, Sir Arthur. You will be missed.

Edited by Tiggs
Added reference to the quote

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A link to the BBC News article about the death of Sir Arthur C. Clarke can be found HERE.

The BBC's obituary of this colossus amongst science fiction authors can be found HERE.

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Clarke will be remembered by sci-fi fans everywhere.

RIP one of the greatest scifi authors of all time.

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