Tag Archives: space

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.

Star Gazing

160714_Milky WayMilky Way in Central Oregon

The skies were clear and dark with a new moon.  We were out in a remote area in Central Oregon near the Prineville Reservoir. The skies were brilliant with stars shining everywhere.  I had not been in such a site since I was in Boy Scouts over 50 years ago.  I stared, stared, and stared, totally engrossed in the beauty and the enormity of the heavens above me.  I dreamed about all the possibilities out there for other forms of life.  It was a wonderful, amazing night that I will never forget.

 

Perspectives of Atlantis: 7

140215_Shuttle Rockets & Ext. Tank by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 7D, EF-S10-22mm @ 12mm, f/4.0, 1/8000 sec, ISO 800

These solid rocket boosters and external tank guard the entrance of the Kennedy Space Center Atlantis Shuttle exhibit.  The wide angle perspective of my 10-22mm lens reduces the impact of of just how huge these structures are.  I was in awe as I looked up.  The image below is the view looking straight up.  I got dizzy and almost fell over as I tried to balance this image in my viewfinder.

140215_Shuttle Rockets & Ext. Tank_2 by © 2013 Karl Graf.

This post ends my series on the Atlantis Space Shuttle.  I encourage all to take the time and visit our space heritage when in the Orlando area.

 

Perspectives of Atlantis: 4

140211_Atlantis 4 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 7D, EF-S10-22mm @ 10mm, f/4.0, 1/13 sec, ISO 1600

This image of the shuttle’s belly was a tough one for me to get.  Shooting directly up at my widest perspective and slow shutter speed made me dizzy.  I almost fell down.  It took me several tries to get a decent image with the shuttle balanced in the frame.

 

Perspectives of Atlantis: 2

140209_Atlantis 2 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 7D, EF-S10-22 @ 22mm, f4.5, 1/30 sec, ISO 800

This image is of the shuttle bay and hatch looking toward the tail.  Boeing provided the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) that propelled satellites into higher earth orbits from the shuttle bay.  Several of my close associates worked directly with NASA on these programs.

I used NIK Silver EFEX Pro’s selective color to preserve the blue and red of our Flag.

 

Perspectives of Atlantis: 1

140208_Atlantis 1 by © 2013 Karl Graf. Canon 7D, EF-S10-22mm@ 10mm, f/4, 1/200 sec, ISO 800

Chills ran through my body … the theater screen lifted and Atlantis was directly in front of me.  I cannot explain the sensation that passed though me as I saw the shuttle only a few feet away.  No image can replicate what I saw or felt.  Memories of working with NASA as a Boeing technical representative in Washington, DC during the Shuttle Program’s “hey days” ran through my mind.  Memories of watching the Challenger launch along with my Boeing associates brought tears to my eyes.  As I walked around Atlantis, my whole body was shaking.  It was almost impossible to hold my camera up for a steady image.  After about a half hour I had settled down enough to take a few images.  I will add more images In future posts.  Like I mentioned earlier, I will not be able to create the image in my mind or the feeling in my heart when I saw this beautiful Bird.