Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Houston we have a problem" -- My efforts to help the space program: found, a tool box lost from space; helped in training astronauts

"Honey I had a little problem while I was doing powder puff work on the vehicle."

"O my gosh [OMG], what now? You cause more problems than you fix. I wished I'd never have encouraged you to take those courses."

"Nothing's bad with the it. Some other guys got it back in order."


"I lost our tool box, that's all."

"How could loose that tool box, it's big and heavy?"

"It just floated away. I had it tied on to me but it got away anyway. Gone into space."

"Oh boy, do you know what that cost us? A hundred thousand bucks. I can't earn that in several years!"

"That part is alright, the Government is going to bail us out on this one."

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Some comments now.

First, Adi and I found that toolbox out in our driveway this morning, it must have landed here. I am hoping to get it autographed.

Secondly, that woman loves those granny knots. We learned in Boy Scouts to tie square knots. For added security I always do another on top making it a double square knot. Those never give way.

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What does this photo have do with the post today? That jar sits in a prominent place in our home, it was made by an astronaut's wife and astronaut's mother. She was an artist, we like her Moon Jars--this one, the lid has the earth, the jar is the Moon, both are sculpted in relief.

[The cougar behind is a print by Charles Fracé, a nature painting artist. Mine is autographed by him, "To: Jim", and represents my college, The University of Houston, and its athletes, the Houston Cougars. Mrs. Jim gave me the picture after having it so nicely framed.]

How can that be? She is Mrs. Garriott, mother of
Richard Garriott who is son of NASA Skylab veteran astronaut Owen Garriott.

And? I was active at the beginning Owen's flight training. I gave the senior Garriott his first indoctrination lesson to the Skylab vehicle in the Skylab mock-up simulator for which I was on the design team and helped to build.

That was back when I was a senior aerospace engineer with Ford Aerospace at NASA. I did a lot of other work with him while I was a flight control simulation and training person there. Note also that during Skylab missions (training was completed) I monitored and advised on either the Electrical Power Console or the Environmental Control Console.

And? I know that Dr. Garriott would have trained his son Richard better than that as to not lose a toolbox. Unfortunately Richard Garriott returned to safely to earth earlier last month in the Soyuz capsule along with two cosmonauts landing in north-central Kazakhstan (link). Or he could have done the job without losing the toolbox, I am sure of that.

One more item here, I was fortunate enough to have the Garriott's daughter as a student in my Introduction to Business class at San Jacinto College. At that time she was concerned for her brother who had quit college and was just 'playing with' his computer closed in the closet. He has come a long way and is one of the biggest producers of computer games now (
read about his game career here).

More space things later

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Dear Jim,
You sure have had a grand carrier.
Are you one of the superbrains USA had to grow real fast after Sputnik 1 was successfully launched in 1957?

I remember standing with the crowd on the hilltop outside our home, looking for the Sputnik to pass over our house, one cold wintery night.

I also remmember being with my brother July -69 when Neill Armstrong was the first man on the moon.
(Is it true that he sneaked out in front of Aldrin?)

Since then, I have stopped wondering.

It must have been huge beyond words to be a part of it,though.

PS. We, the girl scouts, called it a sailor's knot We had to master tie the knot behind our backs to achieve third grad. (Being the lowest grade.)
I made it to the second grade before I became a boy scout.DS
Jim, I still don't understand why she couldn't have gone and "space walked" to get that tool box. How fast do they move away from you that she couldn't go get it?
Lucy, I think she was blonde.

Felisol, yes I surely did have some interesting assignments at NASA. I never was a Boy Scout but I did learn knots with them.
All interesting stuff Jim. I like the new painting. You're not going to hang Adi up there are you?
The space program is probably not happy to have lost the box.
I really like that moon-jar, Jim.
Yes, I could see you were in Guatemala - that's really impressive! A friend of mine, Amy, was in Honduras past summer. I'd really like to do something like that, as well...
Jim, I forgot to ask you how I can get an "earth or moon" jar. You know that Bonnie wants to work for NASA one day and I think she would love one of those jars....She got accepted at A & M just yesterday for the Spring semester.... Yea!

BTW: Too many bailouts, the country is already printing "funny" money. How many are they going to bailout before it stops? TF and I have been reading about the auto companies for the last several years and they have been in debt far too long...The unions have driven the auto companies into the floor with their demands and have helped send them over the edge.... Sorry, didn't mean to rant.
I'm sure NASA wasn't happy about losing the toolbox. I did notice we haven't heard any radio transmissions of what she said when she saw it drifting off.
I'm a noose man myself.
The Moon Jars and the Sun Jar were purchased in the mid 70's for around $45. They were limited in production, Mrs. Garriot had her own pottery shop. I haven't seen any for sale other than when we got ours and those for the family.
Ray here.

Impressive accomplishments from Richard Garriot, the son.

I noticed he took a self-directed learning approach.

It's amazing what diligent effort will accomplish. What's more amazing is that his parents, highly educated, indulged his offbeat computer game habit.

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