Friday, September 22, 2017

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month - Paco Balderrama, first Hispanic Major in OKC PD

Paco Balderrama made history in Oklahoma City Police Department, June 27, 2017 when he was promoted to Major, making him the highest ranking Hispanic in the 130-year history of the department.

He started the OKC PD eighteen years ago with his twin brother Beto.  During his tenure, he has been patrol officer, field training office and DARE Instructor.  He's been a supervisor as lieutenant over the Bricktown Bike Patrol, the Truancy Unit and the FACT Gang Prevention Program.

“The power of visualizing your dreams is very, very important,” said Paco. “I think young Hispanic kids can look at people who are doing well in the community and in city government and it gives them that idea, hey, I can do it, too.”

First tortoises in space: Zond 5 lands 1968

Launched September 14, 1968, the Soviet spacecraft Zond 5 carrying two tortoises, mealworms, wine flies, plants and a partridge in a pear tree (okay, I made that last one up), landed September 22, becoming the first time living creatures went to the moon and back safely.

Zond 5 was supposed to return to Kazakhstan but due to an error, it landed in the Indian Ocean.  It was recovered 4 days later.  The tortoises had lost about 10% of their  body weight but other than that, they were fine.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month - Capt. Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano, first Hispanic submarine CO

Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano is the first Hispanic submarine commanding officer who received two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star for his actions against the Japanese Imperial Navy during WWII.

He was born in Puerto Rico August 5, 1913 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy 1935.  He was commissioned as an ensign to the aircraft carrier USS Ranger.  After attending Submarine School at Groton, Connecticut he was assigned as Division Officer aboard the submarine USS Pickerel, which was in the Philippines and was attacked by the Japanese December 8, just 10 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Marion Frederic Ramirez de Arellano participated in war patrols throughout the Pacific.  In April 1944, he was named Commanding Officer of the submarine USS Balao. He led the rescue of three downed Navy pilots in the Palau region.  He engaged and sunk a Japanese cargo ship Daigo Maru January 8, 1945.

After the war, he was named CO of the Submarine base on Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  He retired from the Navy in 1961 and passed away in May 1980.

European Space Agency plans to return to the moon!

The European Space Agency is planning to return to the moon, after almost half of a century since Gene Cernan was the last man to walk on the lunar surface.  That was in 1972, only 3 years after Neil Armstrong was the first.  While NASA is concentrating on sending people to Mars, the ESA is inviting service providers to form partnerships to take part in a one year study to shape the In-Situ Resource Utilization Demonstrator Mission (IRUDM).  Their goal is to embark on an endeavour that is viable, competitive and sustainable.

To submit a proposal or apply, follow this link:

First steps: returning humanity to the Moon / Human Spaceflight / Our Activities / ESA:

"The Hobbit" published 1937

J. R. R. Tolkein's classic, children's fantasy novel The Hobbit was published September 21, 1937, to critical and financial acclaim.  His publishers were so impressed by its success they requested a sequel.  Tolkein complied and wrote the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a classic tale that is enjoyed today.  The Hobbit has never been out of print and has been adapted for stage, television, movies, radio and even video games.  It is estimated that The Hobbit might have sold up to 100 million copies since 1937.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month - Dr. Ellen Ochoa, first Hispanic Woman in space!

Dr. Ellen Ochoa is the first Hispanic woman in space, a veteran of four space shuttle mission and currently Director of Johnson Space Center, the first Hispanic woman and second woman to be director.

She made history on her first space shuttle mission (STS-56) on Discovery in April 1993, when she was a mission specialist.  Her second flight was on Atlantis (STS-66) in November 1994.   Her third trip into space was on Discovery again (STS-96) in May-June 1999.  Her final voyage (STS-110) was on Atlantis in April 2002.

She is in the 2017 class to be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.  And she's a classical flautist!

Happy birthday, shuttle astronaut James Pawelczyk!

James "Jim" Pawelczyk, born September 20, 1950 in Buffalo, New York, is an astronaut who flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-90) April 1998. He is the first American astronaut of full-blooded Polish descent to fly in space.  Cosmonaut Miroslaw Hermaszewski was the first Pole in space in 1978.

Pawelczyk got a MS in physiology in 1985 and PhD in biology from the University of North Texas (Go Eagles!) in 1989.  It was his education and background why he was selected for the STS-90 mission, which conducted research on the human neurological system.