Space roundup

This Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14th will be the 19th Great Moonbuggy Race at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Try this http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc for live coverage starting at 9 AM EDT.

Speaking of moonbuggies, have I told you the story about how the Apollo 17 astronauts had to repair the lunar rover with duct tape? Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt were on their EVA when a hammer sticking out of the shin pocket on Cernan’s spacesuit caught on the back right fender of the Lunar Roving Vehicle and ripped part of it off. You have to remember that weight was everything, and this was a lightweight fender designed to keep the tires from rooster-tailing dust, not protect anything in case of a collision. Without some kind of repair, whoever sat in the right seat and most of the equipment in the back would be showered with lunar dust. (Radiators do not take kindly to being layered with dust.)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqgHCN4A0b0&w=420&h=315]

Well, have you tried using duct tape on a dirty surface? The quickie repair fell off, so the astronauts ended up making another fender out of folders and more duct tape while they were back in the Lunar Module. This time, the tape stayed sticky enough to hold it together, and they were able to continue their explorations.

For the last part of the roundup, for those readers in the Washington, DC metro area, the space shuttle Discovery will be flying in on April 17th. From the press release:

the aircraft is expected to fly near a variety of landmarks in the metropolitan area, including the National Mall, Reagan National Airport, National Harbor and the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center. When the flyover is complete, the SCA [Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, the modified 747] will land at Dulles International Airport.

Hope you have good weather for welcoming Discovery to her new home at Udvar-Hazy.

UPDATE: Cool Twitpic this morning with the SCA history (click to embiggen).

8 thoughts on “Space roundup”

  1. Duct tape saves lives!

    Also, am I the only one who finds the SCA in action vaguely pornographic?

    1. I think you have the causal chain reversed. I think it’s more likely my preversions are responsible for my desire to catch zoomies.

      Anyway, I don’t see what the big deal is. They’re fizzy and they taste purple.

  2. Every time I see “SCA” written as an acronym, I keep thinking someone’s talking about the Society for Creative Anachronism.

    1. When I was sitting my ESWS board the Ops guy asked me “What’s a CG?” I started wondering why he was asking about coolant turbine generators, how he knew about them, and if I could talk about them. It took me a few seconds to realize he meant cruisers.

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