Tag Archives: NASA

Huntsville breaks ground on 2 new schools named for NASA astronauts

(Bob Gathany/bgathany@al.com)

(Bob Gathany/bgathany@al.com)

Two new public schools named for NASA astronauts will soon begin to rise along Pulaski Pike in northwest Huntsville.

The city school system held a standing-room-only groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the $65 million Jemison High School as well as McNair Junior High, which will share the same campus.

Decatur-born astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison flew in from Chicago for the ceremony and challenged the schools’ future students to make a difference in their city, their state, their world. Jemison became the first black woman in space when she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1992.

Children are born with an “innate energy and drive,” she said, but it can be dampened by adults.

“Adults started telling you what you couldn’t do,” Jemison told a group of students from the four schools that will feed into the new campuses: Johnson High, Butler High, Davis Hills Middle and Ed White Middle. “We started lowering your expectations of this world that was around you. Ignore them.

“Know that you can achieve so many things.”

Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski said architectural drawings for Jemison High and McNair Junior High are about 15 percent complete, meaning construction is still several months away. The plan is to open both schools in August 2016.

“This is the prologue in what will be many, many pages and many, many chapters of exceptional history which will be written by the students of Jemison High School,” said Wardynski.

McNair Junior High is named for Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space and one of seven astronauts killed in the January 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.

via We have lift-off: Huntsville breaks ground on 2 new schools named for NASA astronauts | AL.com.

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Huntsville’s Visitor’s Channel


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25 Best Places to Retire – Huntsville, AL (16)

Best if you’re looking for: College town

Median home price: $174,000

Top state income tax: 5%

Space buffs know Huntsville as “The Rocket City” because the Marshall Space Flight Center was the original NASA, and it still plays a major role in civilian and government spacecraft and rocketry.

Architecture aficionados know it for its 19th-century buildings; nature lovers know this northern Alabama city for its parks, botanical gardens, and nature preserves. While this Southern city seems to have something for everyone, so too does the University of Alabama.

Founded in 1993, the school’s lifelong learning program offers dozens of courses each term on topics as diverse as the volunteers who teach them.

via 25 Best Places to Retire – Huntsville, AL (16) – Money Magazine.

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UAHuntsville laboratory “one of America’s best”

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – UAHuntsville’s Propulsion Research Center has been featured as one of the top laboratories in the nation by Popular Science magazine.

The magazine’s September issue, in a feature entitled “Labs that Go Boom,” credits the PRC’s rocket building prowess and lauds it for being a home base to some of tomorrow’s great rocket scientists. It featured the PRC as one of 10 laboratories across the U.S. where students do serious research and career training by “blowing stuff up.”

It cited the PRC’s strategic location, just a few miles from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and said “the Propulsion Research Center has been a proving ground for some of the world’s top rocket scientists since its inception in 1991.”

In 2011 Popular Science also named the PRC as the third “Most Awesome Lab” as part of its “Best Places to Pursue Science” feature.

PRC Interim Director Robert Frederick said students will soon begin work on new nuclear propulsion systems that could reach Mars in weeks instead of months.

It listed possible careers for graduates in rocket science, aircraft design and missile systems.

via UAHuntsville laboratory “one of America’s best” by Popular Science | al.com.

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Curiosity rover replica roams to U.S. Space & Rocket Center

(U.S. Space & Rocket Center)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — While Curiosity is roaming on Mars millions of miles away, a replica of the rover roamed its way into to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. The scale model was moved in early Tuesday morning as a result of President Barack Obama calling the Curiosity team in California to congratulate them on their successful mission.

“We got this from headquarters and we don’t know how long it’s going to stay, but we’re glad to have it,” spokesman  Tim Hall said. “Everybody’s talking about Curiosity, the pictures, the look, the feel. Kids love it.”

The rover, officially called Mars Science Laboratory, landed on Mars last Monday without incident after an eight-month trip through space spanning 85 million miles. Curiosity carries the most advanced suite of instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the martian surface. While on Mars, the rover will analyze dozens of soil samples and explore the role of water, atmospheric evolution and climate.

via Curiosity rover replica roams to U.S. Space & Rocket Center | al.com.

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Filming for “Space Warriors” movie starts at Space & Rocket Center

€œSpace Warriors€ Director Sean McNamera (center in black) talks with a crew member during a break in shooting (The Huntsville Times/Dave Dieter) Dave Dieter

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Filming started for the movie “Space Warriors” early today at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and some big names are in the cast.

The official cast announced for the movie includes veteran actor and activist Danny Glover, well known for his roles in “The Color Purple” and the “Lethal Weapon” films;

Josh Lucas, who was in the Academy Award-winner “A Beautiful Mind,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “American Psycho” and recently in the TV drama, “The Firm;”

Mira Sorvino, winner of an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Mighty Aphrodite” who starred in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion;”

“Space Warriors” actor Thomas Horn reads a book between takes. (The Huntsville Times/Dave Dieter)

Dermot Mulroney, who was in “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “The Wedding Date” and “The Grey;” and Thomas Horn, who made his acting debut in the Oscar-nominated movie “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”

“Space Warriors” is about a teenage boy named Jimmy Hawkins, played by Horn, who gets a chance to fulfill his dream of going to Space Camp, along with five other talented youth from around the world. Former astronaut Col. Roy Manley, portrayed by Josh Lucas, guides the team called Space Warriors through all the Space Camp challenges.

Jason Netter, the producer of the movie and owner of Kickstart Entertainment, said the Space Warriors is an underdog team that competes for a trip to the International Space Station and loses to a more seasoned group of Space Campers called the Titans.

The members of the Space Warriors team use their skills to solve a problem on the space station, Netter said, and “end up saving the day.”

In the movie, Jimmy’s father, a former astronaut, is played by Mulroney, and his mother is portrayed by Sorvino.

The movie is being directed by Sean McNamara, the director of “Soul Surfer.” The movie’s executive producers are Spencer Proffer, CEO of Meteor 17, and Trevor Dinkwater, CEO of Arc Entertainment.

via Filming for “Space Warriors” movie starts at U.S. Space & Rocket Center | al.com.

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NASA tours resume in Huntsville Friday

A group of designers and engineers who worked on the Redstone rocket and their family members stand in front of the test stand at Marshall Space Flight Center in 2003. The stand was added to the National Historic Landmarks in 1985 and will be on new NASA tours starting Friday. (Huntsville Times/Dave Dieter)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — It’s one small step off a bus for men, women and children and one giant leap for space history in Huntsville. Forty-three years after men stepped foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, visitors to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will be able to walk on the ground at the Marshall Space Flight Center beginning Friday.

Bus tours of Marshall, where Wernher von Braun built the rockets that carried man into space and to the moon, were routine until the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011. That’s when commanders at Redstone Arsenal, where Marshall is located, stopped tours to secure the base.

Marshall and the space center museum have wanted to bring the tours back ever since. Marshall is home to several National Historic Landmarks and a key NASA center of today.

The most historic site – and a tour stop – is the Redstone test stand, a primitive structure and underground bunker where von Braun turned the German V-2 rocket into an American spaceship. The tour will also pass the giant Dynamic Test Stand where the Saturn V was shaken to test its strength.

The modern stop is NASA’s International Space Station Payload Operations Center, which manages the science experiments aboard the space station.

Passengers will leave the bus here and walk into a viewing room where they can see Marshall technicians in the Ops Center monitoring state-of-the-art computers and talking to the astronauts. Giant wall screens show the station’s interior at all times.

“We want to showcase the work that Marshall is doing,” Deborah Barnhart, the space center’s CEO and executive director, said when the tours were announced.

The Army gets some of the tour spotlight, too. On the drive-by portion are the Sparkman Center and the Von Braun Center, two of the giant post-BRAC complexes that have earned Redstone the nickname “Pentagon of the South.”

The tours take about an hour and cost $12 per person. Cameras and cell phones are allowed, but no large bags can be brought on the buses.

The tour is open to U.S. citizens, and a photo ID for those 16 years and older is required to buy a ticket. The ID will be checked before a bus pulls away from the center, and during the tour there may be spontaneous ID checks and inspections.

Tour hours for the first weekend are 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Call the center’s guest services number, 256-721-7114, for times next week and beyond.

Times staff writer Marian Accardi contributed to this report.

via NASA tours resume in Huntsville Friday after 11 years | al.com.

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