Category Archives: Machines

Our Return

Space Shuttle Atlantis Abstract
Kennedy Space Center Museum, Florida

We have finally returned to launching Americans on a US launch vehicle from US soil. The SpaceX launch vehicle with the Crew Dragon onboard provided this signifiant milestone in our revitalized Space Program on 30 May. We have a new horizon of Space exploration ahead of us with defined programs to return to the moon and send Americans to Mars. This will happen in my life time!

I remember the launch of the Sputnik when I was in grade school. This was followed by our country’s aggressive program to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. I remember the Gemini Program highlighted by Shepard’s first flight into space and John Glenn’s record orbit around the earth. I remember the failures and successes of the Apollo program, culminating in Armstrong’s first step on the Moon in the summer of 1969. I also remember the miracle of Apollo 13.

While at Boeing, I had the opportunity to work with several of the engineers and leaders who were an integral part of the Apollo Saturn V rocket program, the Lunar Rover program and the Space Shuttle program. I moved to Washington, DC and was Boeing’s technical liaison between our Seattle staff and NASA. I met Michael Collins, the astronaut who stayed in the command module while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. I worked with General Abramson, the ex-Shuttle Program Manager, on Strategic Defense Initiative programs. I watched the Challenger disaster with several of my Boeing associates in our Washington, DC Control Room. One of my bosses became the leader of the Space Station Integration program. I was part of our National Space Program.

When we exited from space launch programs with the last Shuttle flight in 2011, I felt a deep loss of US leadership in Space. Now after 9 years, we have made our first significant step toward the World’s New Horizon. We have returned … How proud it makes me feel.

For Sale …?

“Well-Used Tractor Lot”, The Palouse

“Experienced tractors for sale – Cheap!” Here’s a little more history of the Palouse. Scattered across the Palouse next to old barns and fields are old farm equipment. Here was an anomaly. This enterprising individual had collected a variety of old tractors of the 40’s and early 50’s vintage (I think) and put them on display.

The site brought back early memories of my childhood growing up on an apple orchard in the upper Yakima Valley. I can remember riding on my grandpa’s John Deere crawler working in the orchard. It was hard to start with the hand crank in the front. But when it did, what a roar it made. I remember sitting on my grandpa’s lap pulling the turning handles to to make the machine turn. It took all I had, pulling with two hands and my whole body. What a thrill! I was heart broke when he traded it in for a wheeled tractor.