To help crews escape from the Ares I, NASA is building the world's third tallest roller coaster at Pad 39B. Present Shuttle crews train on a trolley that slides down a long cable to a bunker on the ground. Follow the yellow-black deck markings leading to your ride. From a height of 116 meters, your car will drop straight down! NASA consulted roller coaster builders for construction tips. This Space technology could be adapted to one great amuement park ride!
STS-116 may have been the last Shuttle flight from this pad. 39B will be kept in reserve in case a rescue mission is needed for STS-125, the Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. The pad will be reconfigured for the first unmanned flight of Ares I sheduled for 2009. Servicing Hubble places additional risk because crews can not evacuate to ISS.
Central Florida has many great rides. Have you ever wondered why Disneyworld does not have a super-tall roller coaster? The answer lies in FAA regulations. The tallest structure at Disneyworld is Sleeping Beauty's castle, just shy of 200 feet. If the castle were taller than 200 feet it would need a red aircraft light.
As expected, NASA has issued a Request for Proposals for a next-generation spacesuit. Though the press release talks about seeking more flexible suits, reality may choose an outfit only slightly better than present suits. Most plans resemble the ILC Dover "I-Suit" with the addition of rear entry. You're Going Out in That? That won't stop something interesting coming from private industry! Below is a Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit along with a more advanced prototype.
A bounty of interesting articles are at the new Carnival of Space!