We left our Cocoa Beach hotel in the pre-dawn hours of February 6, 2018 with our tickets in hand for the first launch of Space X’s “Falcon Heavy, our reward for arriving early was a spot on the third bus to the Apollo-Saturn V center. At 4 miles from Launch Complex 39a this is the prime location for “VIP” viewing.
The Columbia Disaster
We were privileged to visit the Shuttle Landing Facility on the way, this hangar on the SLF access road was pointed out by the guide. Here was where the remains of Space Shuttle Columbia were collected after the disaster.
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STS-107 was the 113th flight of the Space Shuttle program, and the 28th and final flight of Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on January 16, 2003 and during its 15 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes, 32 seconds in orbit conducted a multitude of international scientific experiments. It was also the 88th post-Challenger disaster mission. An in-flight break up during reentry into the atmosphere on February 1 killed all seven crew members and disintegrated Columbia. — wikipedia
Immediately after the disaster, NASA convened the Columbia accident Investigation Board to determine the cause of the disintegration. The source of the failure was determined to have been caused by a piece of foam that broke off during launch and damaged the thermal protection system (reinforced carbon-carbon panels and thermal protection tiles) on the leading edge of the orbiter’s left wing. During re-entry the damaged wing slowly overheated and came apart, eventually leading to loss of control and disintegration of the vehicle. The cockpit window frame is now exhibited in a memorial inside the Space Shuttle Atlantis Pavilion at the Kennedy Space Center. — wikipedia
The damage to the thermal protection system on the wing was similar to that Atlantis had sustained in 1988 during STS-27, the second mission after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. However, the damage on STS-27 occurred at a spot that had more robust metal (a thin steel plate near the landing gear), and that mission survived the re-entry. — wikipedia
Sources of information for this post: I used information from the Wikipedia site for the key words “STS-107.”
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The existing dry stone wall was interrupted by the shrine. In the distance are dry stone walls around fields, a stone shed, feeding horses and the sea, being Galway Bay, storm clouds with distant rain.
Sunday, January 13th, 2019 Pam and I met grandchildren Soraya and Taj at McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach for the day. Pam had found the gardens as a suitable “half-way point” meeting place between Cocoa Beach, our winter haven, and Jupiter were the grandchildren lived. The meeting turned out as an inflection point in for us and the featured Artist.
As you can infer from his “dates”, John Seward Johnson II (April 16, 1930 – March 10, 2020) passed away the next year. Best known as “Seward Johnson”, he was a grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I, the co-founder of Johnson & Johnson, and of Colonel Thomas Melville Dill of Bermuda, Mr Johnson was an American artist who created trompe-l’œil painted bronze statues. He designed life-size bronze statues that were castings of living people, depicting them engaged in day-to-day activities.
A large staff of technicians did the fabrication of the works he designed. Computers and digital technology often were used in the manufacturing process.
Sometimes the manufacture was contracted in China. He was the founder of “Grounds For Sculpture”, a 42-acre sculpture park and museum located in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey.
After this both Soraya and Taj’s moved on in their lives, branching out from their Jupiter, Florida roots. Both stay in touch.