Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ZZ Top releases their first album 1971

Super-rock group ZZ Top's first album, released January 16, 1971, was appropriately named ZZ Top's First Album

The only single released from the album was (Somebody Else Been) Shaking Your Tree and it didn't make it to the Billboard 200.  It's good to hear something from their early years and they have maintained their humor throughout the year, incorporating hard rock, Southern rock, and blues into their unique sound.

And of course, they seem to enjoy slipping in those sexual innuendoes. 

Columbia's final launch 2003

Rear (L-R): David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson, Ilan Ramon;
Front (L-R): Rick Husband, Kalpana Chawla, William McCool 

Mission patch

As with the Challenger disaster in 1986, I'm sure we all remember where we were when we heard the news about the Columbia disaster in February 2003.  It was Columbia's 28th mission (STS-107), launched January 16, 2003, when a piece of foam broke off during the launch and damaged part of the thermal protective system on the leading edge of the left wing.

During re-entry, overheated gases were allowed into the wing, which ultimately led to the shuttle breaking apart and the loss of everyone on board.  The people lost were Commander Rick Husband, Pilot William McCool, Mission Specialist David Brown, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist Michael Anderson, Mission Specialist Laurel Clark and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon (first Israeli astronaut).  This was the first flight for McCool, Brown, Clark and Ramon.

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board uncovered some interesting facts during their investigation.  Apparently, NASA knew the crew was at risk but decided nothing could be done about it.  They realized that they could have expedited the Atlantis lift-off scheduled March 1, to February 10.  Columbia's crew had enough supplies and resources to last until February 15.  Atlantis would have had a five day overlap to rescue the crew and return them to Earth.  Columbia would be brought down into the ocean. 

Happy birthday, Space Shuttle astronaut Jerry Linenger!

Jerry Michael Linenger, born January 16, 1955 in East Detroit, Michigan, is a veteran of 3 Space Shuttle flights and one mission aboard Mir.  After graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1977 down here in Annapolis, Maryland, he went to medical school, eventually getting a Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina in 1989.

His first trip into space was aboard Discovery (STS-64) in September 1994 as mission specialist.  Dr. Linenger's second mission was on Atlantis (STS-81) in January 1997 to the space station Mir, where he stayed for 132 days as part of Expedition EO-22.  While on board, he became the first American astronaut to conduct an EVA from a foreign spacecraft, wearing a foreign-made spacesuit.

He returned to Earth aboard Atlantis (STS-84) in May 1997.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

House Of Flying Daggers released in USA 2005

One of my favorite foreign movies, House of Flying Daggers, was released in the U.S. January 14, 2005.  It had been released in Hong Kong and China in July 2014. 

During the Tang Dynasty (9th century China), an organization known as "The House of the Flying Daggers" opposes the government.  A police officer Leo (played by a favorite of mine, Andy Lau) sends an officer to investigate Mei, a young dancer, claiming she has ties to the House of Flying Dancers.

It was China's official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for 2004.  It wasn't even nominated for that category but did get a nomination for Best Cinematography. 

I think the movie got screwed. 

Soyuz 4 launched 1969

Soyuz 4, launched January 14, 1969, carried cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov on his first flight.  It docked with Soyuz 5 January 16, a first for two manned spacecraft.  Apollo 9 would do the same in March.  The mission involved transferring switching crews from one spacecraft to another via EVA, since connecting tunnels which would allow a simple internal transfer had not been developed. 

Soyuz 5 cosmonauts Aleksei Yeliseyev and Yevgeny Khrunov successfully transferred to Soyuz 4 and returned to Earth January 17.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Endeavour (STS-54) launched 1993

Left to right: Mario Runco, John Casper, Don McMonagle, Susan Helms, Greg Harbaugh

 Mission patch

Space Shuttle Endeavour launched January 13, 1993 on its third mission (STS-54). Her crew was Commander John Casper, Pilot Donald McMonagle, Mission Specialist 1 Mario Runco, Jr., Mission Specialist 2 Gregory Harbaugh and Mission Specialist Susan Helms.

On the fifth day of the mission, Mario Runco and Greg Harbaugh spent almost 5 hours in the open cargo bay conducting space-walking tests to show how people could work in space.

Endeavour returned January 19.

Happy birthday, Rakesh Sharma, first Indian cosmonaut!

Rakesh Sharma, born January 13, 1949 in India, is the first Indian cosmonaut, who went into space aboard Soyuz TM-11, April 3, 1984.  He is the only Indian citizen to travel in space.  He spent over 7 days in space and returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TM-10 April 11, 1984.