Thursday, March 19, 2009

STS-119 Proves Goddard Right

74 years ago this week Dr. Robert Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket from Aunt Effie's cabbage patch. It created such a reaction that the fire authorities asked that he cease and desist. After great difficulty with reviewers, Goddard published a paper innocuously titled "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes." This caused the New York Times to ridicule his ideas, saying that he didn't know the physics ladled out daily in schools. According to the Times, a rocket could not work in the vacuum of Space without something to push against. This week STS-119 finally lifted off, proving once more that Goddard was right.

With a crew in orbit, this has been an exciting week at Johnson Space Center. Monday night was a special screening of the new movie MOON. Today at lunch one could stop by Mission Control to watch EVA 1. Also this afternoon at Building 30 was a talk by none other than Flight Director Gene "Failure Is Not an Option" Kranz. He talked about his experiences from before Mercury to Apollo 13. He was very encouraging to us young people, and encouraged in turn by all the young faces working at JSC. Later this afternoon at the Lunar & Planetary Institute, Peter Smith gave a talk about the Phoenix mission to Mars. Among the people to talk with afterward was astronaut Tom Jones. This is an incredibly exciting place to work.

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