Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story

31 August

Where Did The Money Go?


Where Did Slagle and Mini-Me Spend The Money?

What Do We Have To Show For All This Debt?


According to the local advertiser, Burlington is only $36,000,000 dollars in debt. The City’s debt limit is $48,000,000. About $1385 of debt for every man, woman and child in Burlington.

So the citizens of Burlington are at 75% loan-to-limit ratio with a professional city manager.

Meanwhile, over at the Courthouse, Des Moines County only has $500,000 of debt. The County’s limit is $92,000,000. About 1/2% of the loan-to-limit ratio.

And the County did that without a professional county manager. The advertiser has told us time and time again, the county needs a professional manager to prevent problems. So much for that advice.

So what do we have to show for this debt? The advertiser didn’t show any really big, glaring items. So what is this debt from?

It can’t be from buying property. Even though the city has needed property on the riverfront, they buy it from the railroad. Although they now claim the city owns that property.

The streets are almost impassable. So it wasn’t spent on street repair.

Slagle got a big, unwarranted raise. But not that big.

So where did the money go?
01:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

King's Website


What happened to Councilboy King's website? Did it derail?

Or did he run out of things about himself to talk about?

Spike:
He never runs out of things trying to impress us. Read the next post about his non-politcal website.
00:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Senator King Has Just Plain Gone Nuts - Challenges Spike To Match


Makes Pitch To Union Workers For Votes on His Non-Political Website

One of our readers forwarded Senator King’s latest diatribe on the railroad lawsuit. I can’t believe the Minister of Misinformation and Deception tries so hard to convince himself, that he is right. And now he stoops to dredging for sympathetic union votes. Sounds like a Hoschek deal.

The Minister of Misinformation tells us, that during a council meeting when the BNSF shop workers were present, King already knew about the 1985 agreement with the BNSF. King said, “At the time I had information about the previous agreements the City of Burlington held with the BNSF Railroad.”

If that’s true Mr. Minister, then why did you admit to the local advertiser in their sizzling expose of the council’s complete ignorance of the 1985 agreement, that you didn’t know anything about the 1985 agreement?

And now, you say that you did know about the agreement.

Senator, I don’t need a crutch. A deaf, 3-legged dog with one eye can keep up with your silliness. Union workers are a lot smarter than you give them credit for. And they don’t like to be lied to. Never.

Game, set, match.
00:20:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Pompous Elitist King's Contempt For Scrutiny

From Senator King's website:

"I find it astonishing that those who criticize local officials, at all levels, do not have the backbone to take out papers and run for elected office. Clearly the need for improvement is not as important as the need for secrecy and self-preservation. You all know who I am. I believe that that knowledge is valuable. I believe there is honor in that. And, I believe the people of Burlington...the vast majority of them, believe that as well."
-Chris

Obviously, this was a swipe at your website. And clearly he has contempt for the average Burlingtonian if he/she should dare voice their opinion against him.

The arrogance Senator King shows is incredible. So then, are we to believe that the citizens of Burlington cannot feel free to criticize our public officials unless they "take out papers"? That's ridiculous. It never ceases to amaze me that this pompous elitist believes himself to be above criticism from us mere low-life citizens.

I guess the twenty-some thousand citizens of Burlington should put duct tape over their mouths and just accept the mismanagement by our city officials while the few people who "take out papers" are free to screw up as they please without accountability.

The frying pan that is public office is a part of the job. Scrutiny by constituents is a natural process and it should be. If Senator King can't handle it, he should resign. Clearly, he is more concerned about "who" is criticizing him than he is about the actual criticism itself and what can be done about it.

Not everyone can run for office, but EVERYONE can see when things are good or bad. We don't have to accept the bad, and we all have the freedom to voice our displeasure.
J.F.

Spike:
You pretty much hit every nail on the head. I think the Senator needs a new can of Anti-Monkey Butt Powder to cure that chafing.

Between King and the local advertiser's obsession with this website, it's obvious they don't have anything to do but play their Neru flutes and dance in the flames of bad management. What else could it be?
00:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Neru Flute? Spike Have You Gone Mad?


Power Corrupts People

Unchecked Ambition Sometimes Leads to The Destruction of the Self


"......... I was obliged to buy a book and, for this, I preferred ‘Neru is playing the flute’ written in Nepali language by Pro. DP Bhandari. It is a collection of some meditative pieces in epistolary form Bhandari wrote in Saptahik Weekly, a sister publication of the Kantipur.

Some shortcomings as a creative writer notwithstanding, his erudition and insight into human nature has rendered the book a small success. I especially preferred the title essay, ‘ Rome is burning, Neru is playing Flute’.

A cruel, deranged and sadist Roman emperor two thousand years ago, Neru wished to watch ‘live’ the destruction of Troy with fire as elaborated in the myth. Intoxicated with power, Neru ordered his soldiers to set fire to his own capital city.

When the whole city was on fire, Neru, the murderer of his own teacher Seneca, began to dance playing with his favorite musical instrument the flute, watching and enjoying the destruction of his own city and cries of his own people.

Later the same fire took his own life. Really, history has always something to teach and teaching here, no doubt, is that power corrupts people. Unchecked ambition sometimes leads to the destruction of the Self."

00:07:00 - SPIKE - No comments

When Does Auditorium Get Vision Iowa Money?

Spike,
Want a tidbit of info, why are you not asking what happened to the Vision Iowa Money that was given to the Auditorium for renovation?

Do you see anything happening down there yet, The ball park is done, the Library is moving along, The Auditorium is still sitting there just like it was. Maybe someone should ask the question where is the money? Is that why the budget thing went away?

It was $1.5mil given to do the renovation work with the city to match but I have not seen anything happening yet do you? Maybe that everybody does not want to see any money put into that building. Maybe we should just close the doors and let it rot away.
PP

Spike:
I think the City recently sold some bonds to help pay for the renovation. But first they need a plan. And I don't think they have a plan. They don't for anything else.

But you're right, where's the money? We're paying interest on those bonds. Do something!
00:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

30 August

Burlington Flunks – Fails to Meet Standards


The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires public school districts and schools to report the academic progress of students.

The Iowa Department of Education has listed Burlington on its list of schools and districts in need of assistance for the 2004-05 school year. The entire school district has, for two or more consecutive years, failed to meet Iowa’s minimum reading and math proficiency and graduation rate. The high school is deficient in 11th-grade reading.

Ninety-four of Iowa's 1,532 public schools or 6.1 percent, were identified as a school in need of assistance; 14 of Iowa's 367 districts were also identified as needing assistance.

No other schools in Des Moines County made the list. Fortunately.


20:03:00 - SPIKE - No comments

$50,000,000 Venture Capital Available For Economic Development


It’s Tuesday - Time For Economic Development Advice

In the September issue of Business 2.0 magazine, 11 venture captalists will fund the start-up portion of their 11 new business ideas. The venture capitalists want to bankroll $50,000,000. You provide the people and business plan. No strings attached. Just find a way to do the deal.

The Ideas and the Venture Capital Available –

1. Mobile ID for credit card purchases. $5,000,000 Available.
2. Back-Office bank syndicate. $7,000,000 Available.
3. Ultimate online upsell. $5,000,000 Available.
4. Subscription PC’s for seniors. $5,000,000 Available.
5. Smarter Smartphones. $3,000,000 Available.
6. Open source IT maintenance/upkeep center $3,000,000 Available.
7. Social network meets Town Crier. $3,000,000 Available. Possibilities for BurlingtonDerailed.com?
8. Customer service over IP. $2,000,000 Available.
9. Plug-and-play mobile services. $5,000,000 Available.
10. Home patient monitoring. $8,000,000 Available. Huge opportunity.
11. Application for data convergence. $4,000,000 Available.

So there you go. Eleven prepaid opportunities for the Southeast Iowa Let’s Form a Group and Do Lunch and Not Much More Associationto explore.

No early Labor Day weekend because real economic development professionals work until 5:30 or later, every Friday afternoon. Labor Day or Ground Hog Day, no difference.

And we didn’t need a 91 page report written with such memorable quotes from the consultant like:
1. "You've got some stress," researcher David Swenson said. "But you guys already knew that."
2. "It's way greater than any other sector in your entire economy," he said. (Spike: how much is “way greater?”)
3. "But you're moving in the opposite direction of the state of Iowa, and decidedly so."

I wonder what this “study”cost the taxpayers? The descriptive and quantitative language is worth a humorous read, though. If you had a gunnysack it might hold more water.

We have given the Southeast Iowa Let’s Form a Group and Do Lunch and Not Much More Association some real direction. Something to research, network and obtain. Let's see if they can do something with this stimulus other than golf, riding the motorcycle or lunch.


01:07:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Want To See The International Space Station Fly By?


Good View Tonight - Great View Wednesday Evening

Over the next few evenings you should be able to catch the International Space Station fly by. The charts use military time or a 24-hour clock. So 20:21 is 8:21 pm.


NASA Image

Tuesday Evening -
This chart shows the ISS will become viewable about 8:21:16 (16 seconds after 8:21 pm). The ISS should come into view 196º East of north, which is South- Southwest in direction. The ISS will pass from South-Southwest to 075º East from north or, East-Northeast.

The best view will be about halfway through the viewing time. The chart uses military time or a 24-hour clock. So 20:21 is 8:21 pm.


NASA Data

Wednesday Evening -
If you miss Tuesday, you can use this chart to see the Space Station on Wednesday.

This chart shows the ISS will become viewable about 8:47:09 (9 seconds after 8:47 pm). The ISS should come into view 237º East of north, which is Southwest in direction, just above the horizon. The ISS will pass almost directly overhead while traveling from the Southwest to 050º East from north or, Northeast.

The best view will be about halfway through the viewing time. At 8:49:49 pm the ISS will almost be directly overhead about 229 miles at its closest point.


NASA Data

Friday Evening -
Finally, if you miss Tuesday, you can use this chart to see the Space Station on Friday. Another overhead high speed run.

This chart shows the ISS will become viewable about 8:06:40 (6 seconds after 8:06 pm). The ISS should come into view 268º East of north, which is West in direction, about 1/2 way (53º) above the horizon. The ISS will pass almost directly overhead while traveling from the West to 010º East from north or, North.

The best view will be at the beginning of the viewing time. At 8:07:20 pm the ISS will almost be 2/3 above the horizon at a distance of about 241 miles at its closest point.


NASA Data

Future Sightings
If you miss Friday, you can click here. You need JAVA Applet installed to view this real time data.

In the left hand box under Satellite Information Select Satellite, scroll down and select ISS (or any other satellite you want to see fly by).

In the right hand Observer Location box under City: select BurlingtonIA, IA. Then select Next Sighting to get an idea when the next sighting will occur.

In the left hand box under Satellite Information Select Satellite, scroll down and select ISS (or any other satellite you want to see fly by).

In the right hand Observer Location box under City: select BurlingtonIA, IA. Then select Next Sighting to get an idea when the next sighting will occur.



00:51:00 - SPIKE - No comments

29 August

Who Do You Work For?


Hey Spike,
Chris King says you work for the railroad and are being deceptive. Do you work for the railroad? Have you deceived us? What's the story with him?
KR

Spike:
No, I don’t work for the railroad. I do this to expose the corruption that has run rampant in this town for years. And it is already starting to come apart. Like an over ripe melon, it's leaking.

I don’t have a crystal ball and haven't been deceptive. There's no need to be deceptive. You only have to tell the truth and the people that have something to hide are the ones that exhibit the most paranoia and go to the ultimate extremes ia an attempt to discredit our stories.

Don’t believe much the Minister of Misinformation, Misdirection and Deception has to say. After all, Senator King deceived us when he told us the railroad lawsuit was about jobs. King should check his facts before he spouts off. He only looks more incompetent when he doesn’t.

09:23:26 - SPIKE - No comments

28 August

Financial Record Keeping For The City Of Burlington

Hi Spike

You know, You got me to thinking about the record keeping in the city. There has been a lot of let's say stuff, going on lately in Burlington.

Let's see, you got the fun park that has been pushed back, I can't remember how many times. You got the ballpark. And then there's the lawsuit. Oh yeah, the memorial auditorium. Is there anymore I'm forgetting about?

Now do they have a plan on how all this is going to be paid for or is that plan getting pushed back to?

I think there needs to be an investigation or something. Some kind of legitimate and understandable way to see how peter is robbing paul to pay the bills that the public can understand. Because this is getting very, very complicated, if you know what I mean?

See what you can find out Spike!

OJ
10:22:45 - SPIKE - No comments

27 August

City Budget Questions - Where Is The Money Coming From?


Could I make a point here? If we all remember, including the Hawkeye which should be checking on this. During the budget process when cuts were made, the city council and the manager said that this was a bare bones budget and the mayor said there is no fluff or extra money.

Maybe Power is not submitting his bills because the city is about out of money until more taxes come in.

The Fun City project will be a good project, however the city was planning on revenue this year to help pay the loan. Delays happen.

The city finance director and Slagle's golfing buddy, says the City has the money but needs to do some shifting. Back to their own comments at the budget process in Feb. and March, they said they didn't have any extra money and things were tight.

Where is this money coming from? Maybe it will be from the sale of Cottonwood Park. Now they will start selling our parks to meet their budget.

Where is the money coming from? The Hawkeye should be all over this.

I have never met Mike Campbell in my life, but it looks like he may be correct when he was not supportive of the City's lawsuit against BNSF. That is going to cost us a lot of money from citizens hard earned work, and then they cut services to pay for this.
TK

Spike:
The City's first, interest-only payment of $54,000 for the waterpark is due in December. Where is the money coming for that? I'll bet Power's billings for April to August would have paid for a large portion of this payment, if not all. The money paid to Power would have returned lots more money if it would have been invested in the water park instead of the railroad lawsuit.

What construction delay language is in the water park contract to cover delays like this? Surely there has to be construction delay language? Surely? A professional city manager would have made sure that there was language added by the City's professional attorney to cover unforeseen circumstances like construction delays.

Regarding the advertiser's lack of in-depth reporting. When did you last see a critical, unsigned editorial directed at the City? When did you last see one of their tell-us-how-to-think articles about the City?

You won't. The advertiser is just that, an advertiser. If they make their advertisers unhappy with the stories directed at the City, local paranoia prevails to the point advertisers believe no one shops in the City. So advertisers don't advertise.

And all of those dues paid to the Chamber and Grow Greater Burlington are questioned. If they don't shop in the city (like the former publisher spending his money out of town avoiding local merchants that paid his check) there is no money for advertising.

It's all about money. It's not about the news. You would think that running out of money would be news.


08:23:01 - SPIKE - No comments

26 August

What About The Legal Bills For July?


Spike:
You forgot to add Power's July bill into this discussion. Why haven't they been submitted to the city?
RK

14:49:45 - SPIKE - No comments

Are We Going To Win This Lawsuit?


This Is Going To Be Like Bear Hunting With a Switch

Hi Spike
What do you honestly think about the outcome of the LAWSUIT? Do you think it is winnable? And if not, do you think the RR will go after punitive damages in the millions plus lawyers cost? And if that's the case we had better pray to the LORD we come out on top!

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
OJ

Spike:
Well OJ, there is always a remote possibility that a barge might jump the riverbank and block the car carrying the railroad's attorney from getting to his parking stall at the Courthouse in Rock Island for a couple of hours and the Judge declaring a default judgement against the railroad.

Barring that, we have a snowball's chance in hell of winning this lawsuit. The City is in so far over their heads they don't know it's dark out. They're outlawyered, have no case law or defense to the railroad's counterclaim and appear to have no legal basis for the complaint since the City willingly negotiated an agreement in 1985 with the railroad.

As far the sanctions go, when the Judge finds out that Scott Power had knowledge of the 1985 agreement, failed to inform his clients of that particular fact and filed suit anyway, I think the Judge is going to go ballistic. I think that the sanctions will reach into how involved Scott Power was in that 1985 Agreement when it was written. If he was City attorney in 1985 or participated in forging the 1985 agreement, I think we're screwed. And Power should be, too.

Sometimes things happen in court that no one expects. Lawyers make judges mad, jurors mad, witnesses mad and each other mad. Sometimes everybody goes mad. Decisions get made under these conditions that sometimes surprise everyone. That's the best outcome the City can hope for. Because we don't have anything else going for us. Nothing.

And if anyone thinks I'm wrong, well I'm not. You poke that dog long enough, he's going to bite you. And this ol' dog has teeth we haven't even seen yet.



01:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Cronyism On Lawsuit Billings?


Everybody Else Complies, Why Doesn't Power?

Dear Spike,
I really don’t understand about the city attorney not sending his bills to the city. Companies that do business with the city and county have to submit their bills in a timely manner in order to be paid. I agree with you. Power knows how much the city owes him.

We are told that our bills have to be submitted before their fiscal year ends or shortly after. Why doesn’t Scott Power have to do the same thing? Power hasn’t submitted bills since April. The City's fiscal year ended in June.

It sure sounds like the city manager is playing favorites to his cronies. What gives? He got such a large pay raise and we're struggling to pay our taxes and keep our employees working.
RK

Spike:
That isn't all. Slagle said he isn't going to require Power to provide an itemization of his legal fees for each lawsuit the City is involved in.

I know there is a wolf in that sheep's clothing.




00:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Railroad Lawsuit Settlement Rumor


Hi Spike
Its me again with a question about that rumor, Couldn't you call the RR and tell them about the rumor in city hall and see if they will confirm or deny it?

THANKS SPIKE
OJ

Spike:
We would like nothing better than to scoop the local tabloid advertiser in reporting a significant development in the railroad lawsuit. But I don't think that is going to happen. The railroad would never tell us anyway.

There is no significant, compelling reason for the railroad to settle this. In fact, it's just the opposite. The City doesn't have a thing the railroad doesn't already own or can't get.

The only one to get fat in this deal is Scott Power. The rest of us are paying for his steak dinners. No doubt with another tax increase.



00:25:00 - SPIKE - No comments

25 August

Delta Queen Departs On Time At 1 PM




13:42:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Delta Queen In Burlington Until 1:00 PM Thursday


Last Visit of Season

02:35:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Edwards Going To Little Big Horn Reenactment


No Leader, Edwards Easily Misled By Arrogance and Advisors

Spike,
Heard Mayor Edwards campaigning on KBUR today. He stated he was optimistic Burlington would benefit from the BNSF lawsuit but couldn't talk about it. He said the jobs were gone and not coming back. He said that Craig Hill, BNSF VP stated that labor costs for skilled craftspeople were only $1.75/hr in Mexico. Mayor Edwards said that we can't compete against that.

While I'm happy he now admits the lawsuit is about money, he is misinformed about the closure. It's obvious that he was coached by ex-mayor Hyland.

BNSF had two major locomotive overhaul facilities. Now they have one: Topeka. Did the mayor not notice where so many Burlingtonians went?

When ex-mayor Hyland worked for the West Burlington Shop, they ran a profitable traction motor rebuild department that generate money from worldwide sales. These traction motors are used on older locomotive power (electric motors that provide propulsion).

When Hill was questioned why they couldn't keep the Burlington Shop open for traction motor repairs, he stated it was more cost effective to ship them to Mexico. The West Burlington Shop ended its traction motor rebuild center 11 years ago.

Mayor Edwards should be asking what Topeka had to offer BNSF that Burlington did not. Mexico had nothing to do with it.

BT

Spike:

So now, all of a sudden, since Burlington unleashed its preeminent law firm Dewey, Skrewim and Howe on the BNSF, the railroad is ready to capitulate? I can’t believe the mayor is so blinded by his own arrogance or Slagle’s crap. The mere fact that Edwards would perpetuate such lies to the citizens on a radio talk show is enough to vote him out of office.

Edwards “couldn’t talk about it?” He doesn’t know anything to “tell us” anything. Sounds more like Senator King, Minister of Misinformation.

We got an email from a city worker that said the rumor being circulated was the “railroad was ready to settle but the city was playing hardball.” What with? Foam ball bats?

I think the railroad is going to send our preeminent lawyers home bawling, like slapped little kids. It’s going to happen so fast, it will take the local advertiser weeks to figure out what happened.

What Edwards refuses to admit and didn’t tell you was Craig Hill’s insistence that the local railroad workers not be given any false hopes. Regardless of the lawsuit, the jobs were gone and not coming back.

Did you ever hear Edwards tell the citizens or railroad workers that? No. All we heard were the lawsuit lies he told about jobs; no, it’s about money; no, it’s about jobs; no, it’s about money. It got so stupid he didn’t know what lie Slagle, Power, King and Ell were telling that week.

And Edwards has never told us about the role State Senator Tom Courtney played in this mess. I will place my vote for his deep involvement in advocating the lawsuit against the railroad. We’ve only scratched his lurid involvement.

Traction Motors
According to our information, General Electric will rebuild traction motors for about $8,500 including freight to and from your location excluding a core charge. That would be hard to compete against.

In April 2003 the City, Grow Greater Burlington, the Chamber, Southeast Iowa Regional Planning and everyone trying to work with the BNSF GAVE UP and conceded defeat. Quitters. All of them, quitters. Not one worthy of their salaries.

How Did We Lose?
Topeka never gave up. According to their economic development newsletters and the Topeka Capital-Journal, (a real newspaper not a local advertiser) Topeka never gave up and called the railroad almost weekly while our local economic development groups did lunch, played golf, rode their motorcycles, built a palace and not much more.

Instead of trying to negotiate something good for the region, Burlington refused to even talk with the railroad. Seems like you would be better off to litigate after you tried to negotiate.

Edwards
I doubt Edwards would be so damn arrogant and cocky if he was footing the lawsuit bill personally. Which is the way he should approach these many lawsuits the City is involved in.

Custer lost a battle just like this. Arrogant, egotistical, ill-prepared for his enemy and unprepared for the fate that was to befall him.

Just like Custer, Edwards and his duplicitous platitudes will be his undoing. And the voters aren’t going to forget this mess. They are going to vote him out of office.



01:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Where Are Power’s Legal Bills?


Power's April, May & june Legal Bills Mysteriously Missing

If the local advertiser wanted to be a real newspaper instead of being hopelessly mired down in the sea of tabloid journalism, they would have sent their ace reporter to City Hall to extract Scott Power’s legal bills for April, May and June. They could even file a notice with the City to produce those documents.

It appears to us the City is hiding Power’s legal fees. Or maybe the City is trying to carry over some of the debt to the new fiscal year so we don’t know how much they were over last year’s budget for legal fees.

What is very disturbing is the advertiser's reluctance to report apparent financial cover-up.

And if it isn’t a cover-up, what else could it be? Poor accounting? I forgot to send a bill? We had a computer crash?

I’ll bet Scott Power knows how much the City owes him. Why don't the taxpayers know?

00:49:00 - SPIKE - No comments

24 August

Would You Help?


Spike,

Some of us were discussing this City of Burlington lawsuit against the railroad. Not to take your side, but if the City wins or loses this lawsuit, the City probably put us in a situation that the BNSF may not ever consider us if they have future expansion.

We never know what the future may be in 5-10 years down the road. How do we know that the railroad may have changes that would have brought good jobs to Burlington in the future?

They will remember this lawsuit and cross us off their list. This is not a good thing.

BNSF could have handled things differently no doubt, but for the City of Burlington to take this action against BNSF, we may never see any good jobs return. I know we lost jobs to Galesburg and Topeka and it was not a good thing. It was a bad deal for those families.

The only way we could possibly get some good jobs back to the BNSF shops is to stay in a good relationship with the company. The lawsuit will not bring those jobs back.

This was not a good decision in terms of economic development. People in the community need to ask themselves, if someone filed a major lawsuit against them, would they help that person or company in the future?
TK

Spike:
Would you?

TK, these people didn't think that far ahead. They were only trying to cover their $1,000,000 budget deficit. A decision that should cost them all their jobs. I'll bet we aren't on the railroad's Christmas card list. An elephant's memory comes to mind.



07:56:57 - SPIKE - No comments

What Did We Lose?


Dear Spike,

I have been reading your archives about Burlington’s lawsuit against the railroad. It seems like the City never had any intentions of working with the railroad.

What was at stake before the city decided to sue the railroad? I can’t seem to find it in the archives.
RF

Spike:
Negotiations were underway to provide maintenance for about 650 brand new General Electric locomotives leased to the BNSF in the former West Burlington Shops before Slagle, Power, Edwards and Courtney got greedy.

Approximately 323 locomotives were delivered last year with the remainder being delivered this year. The majority of these locomotives will be serviced by General Electric in Galesburg.


Here’s what Burlington missed out on. 650 ES44AC locomotives at about $2,000,000 each. Million here, a million there, pretty soon we had real money.



BNSF ES44AC #5752 at South Street crossing on August 22, 2005. BNSF #5757 was sitting at the depot factory fresh Monday and Tuesday. BurlingtonDerailed.com Photo

00:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

23 August

Last Delta Queen Visit Thursday For 2 Years


Dear Sir,

First, you might consider posting smaller pictures or links. Those huge shuttle pics are terribly slow for those on dialup.

Secondly, you might post a note that the Delta Queen steamboat will be in town Thursday AM. They leave at 1 PM usually on the dot with calliope playing. I think this is a great show. This is a semi-historic event as the Delta Queen will not be back on the Upper Mississippi for at least two years.

I don't understand why THE does not note when the steamboats are coming. Thank you!
MD

Spike:
We know that the photos are big and slow to load. It was a concern that we weighed with quality. Our IT department is working on a solution to link to a photo library on our website.

The Delta Queen visits are not controversial and don't bleed, so the local advertiser doesn't have any interest in it.


13:33:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Wanted Entrepreneur – Have Bonafide Business Opportunity


But You Need To Move Quick - This Is A World Wide Web Ad

Since no one seems to have any active agenda to further economic development in Southeast Iowa, we have prepared an outline for a real business opportunity. One that is viable, can make money and grow into a large operation with prudent management.

Over 400,000 travelers visit Nauvoo, Illinois each year. Most are Mormon and visit Nauvoo for the historical religious significance of the city. Travel to Nauvoo is difficult.

Further, we believe that Camp Eastman is the only Boy Scout camp on the Mormon Trail. If there were any others, none would have the historical significance of Camp Eastman’s location. That is a significant business advantage. That could add 5,000 revenue passengers per year.

Burlington train and air capacity is limited and no one seems to locally know how to get the job done or where to turn to for answers. Here are the answers.

We need a tour/travel operator that is willing to base travel company operations in Burlington. This travel company will operate train and air tours to Nauvoo using Burlington as the base for bus operations to and from Nauvoo. Two forms of travel at 2 price levels.

But they have to operate in Burlington. We have the most motel rooms and amenities of the local region. We have the airport AND we have a depot. No one else does.

The tour operator will work with Amtrak to reopen the Burlington railroad depot. Amtrak needs financial assurances in the form of a contract and traffic guarantee to reopen their ticket office.

That is important because the tour operator needs to be able to check baggage for the visitors arriving by train. If Amtrak reaches traffic goals, the assurance becomes less.

The tour operator will also have to contact all the airlines to learn the city pair combinations that are needed to provide charter air service to Burlington. Yes, charter airline service. Not scheduled airline service, as the local “experts” believe.

Most every major airline has a charter department and operating authority to operate city pairs like Salt Lake City– Burlington – Chicago and reverse. Or, St. Louis – Burlington – Salt Lake City and reverse.

The benefit of a major carrier is that they have the stability to maintain an equipment and schedule standard that is needed for our entrepreneur to gain a reputation for safe, reliable transportation. They also have the flexibility to add Los Angeles/San Francisco or New York to this mix without a lot of red tape.

The other benefit to partnering with a major airline is they have the traffic “slots” at O’Hare to use to get the flights in and out of Chicago. You need the O’Hare connections and gate space. A major carrier has it and they know how to use it.

How is this going to be paid for? The hotel/motel tax that we attach to every hotel room and car rental in Burlington will help Amtrak reopen. The increased tax revenues mean that there is a bigger portion to reuse for economic development. Economic development that is self-generating its reinvestment income.

You just have to keep Slagle’s “general fund” fingers out of the pot. He’ll want it. It will take a council with some backbone to keep Slagle and mini-me out of it.

Our entrepreneur will not be a beginner in this arena. They will have been in this business, know how to operate it and have the financial wherewithal to handle the cash flow/cash flow management that this type of operation demands. It isn’t for a bunch of local amateurs.

So, I would suggest that the Southeast Iowa Let’s Form a Group and Do Lunch and Not Much More Association get to work on finding a tour operator instead of spending a year to study what some consultant thinks we need.

Someone is going to do this. We have the opportunity to get someone to do this here, now, instead of Quincy. They have the airport and they have an Amtrak station. But we're closer and that is travel convenience.

The race is on. So you better cut lunch short today and skip golf tomorrow. They are coming and we need to capitalize on it. Otherwise, someone else will.


00:35:00 - SPIKE - No comments

22 August

Discovery Demate Process
















All Images Courtesy of NASA


Discovery Update

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery was demated from the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft early Monday morning.

Discovery was towed late Monday afternoon to the nearby Orbiter Processing Facility, where it will be readied for mission STS-121.

NASA announced that the next Space Shuttle mission, STS-121, is now targeted for March 2006. This will be the second test flight to the International Space Station in the Shuttle Return to Flight series. NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and Associate Administrator for Space Operations William Gerstenmaeir made the announcement at a briefing on August 18th.

"We are giving ourselves what we hope is plenty of time to evaluate where we are," said Administrator Griffin. "We don't see the tasks remaining before us being as difficult as the path behind us."

A pair of "Tiger Teams" continues to investigate the External Tank foam loss during Discovery's launch on July 26. Gerstenmaier says the teams have identified the major areas of concern and are making good progress on dealing with the problems.

Discovery will be used for STS-121 instead of Atlantis, putting NASA in a better position for future missions to the Space Station. Atlantis will fly the following mission, STS-115, carrying Space Station truss segments which are too heavy to be carried by Discovery. By changing the lineup, the program won't have to fly back to back missions with Atlantis, as was previously scheduled.






22:18:08 - SPIKE - No comments

21 August

Discovery Lands At Kennedy Space Center



NASA/KSC Image

After a three-stop-hop from coast to coast, Discovery riding atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, gently touches down at Kennedy Space Center to a multitude of cheers from media and Space Center employees. See landing video, click here.

Discovery News

The Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery successfully landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Discovery, riding piggy-back on the modified Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), made a sweep of the Brevard County beaches as it circled for a landing, giving residents a birds-eye view of the duo.

Cheers from media and Kennedy Space Center employees erupted when the 747's wheels touched down. Landing on Runway 15, the vehicle came to a stop where it was then towed to the Mate/Demate Device (MDD) at the SLF. During the next few hours Discovery will be lifted off the 747. The vehicle will be backed-out and the orbiter will be gently lowered to the runway on its landing gear.


NASA Image

Discovery at Mate/Demate Device (MDD) facility where Discovery wil be lifted off the 747 onto its own landing gear.

On Monday, the Discovery will be towed by a diesel-powered tractor to the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) via a two-mile tow-way strip from the SLF. Once inside the OPF the payload bay doors will be opened and the materials brought back from the International Space Station will be unloaded. After Discovery is inside the processing facility, Mission STS-114 will then be completed.

Space Shuttle Discovery is slated for Mission STS-121 in March, 2006.

11:04:27 - SPIKE - No comments

20 August

Discovery Return To Florida Weather Delayed 1 Day


Ferry flight managers this morning decided not to make an attempt to bring Discovery back to Kennedy Space Center today and will remain at Barksdale AFB, La., through Saturday night. It was determined that weather en route across Alabama, Georgia and Florida, and potential weather issues early this afternoon at Kennedy would violate the vehicle's stringent flight weather criteria.

Early Sunday morning, ferry flight managers will meet again and reassess the weather en route to the Space Center and establish the flight path. The current plan calls for the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft to depart Barksdale Sunday at about 7:25 a.m. EDT and touchdown at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility in central Florida at about 10 a.m. EDT.

The Southern Lights



This view featuring the Aurora Australis or "southern lights" was photographed by a crewmember aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-114 mission. Something no one in the northern hemisphere sees. NASA Photo
09:58:23 - SPIKE - No comments

19 August

Discovery Heads Home


Discovery At Barksdale AFB, LA Overnight



Flying about 15,000' over the mountains of New Mexico. Space Shuttle Discovery hitched a ride on a special 747 carrier aircraft for the flight from California to the Kennedy Space Center, FL, on August 19. NASA photo by Lori Losey.

After a re-fueling stopover at the Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma, Space Shuttle Discovery and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft arrived safely at Barksdale AFB, La., at 6:40 p.m. EDT. Discovery will remain overnight and is scheduled for a mid-morning departure tomorrow. The final leg of the orbiter's journey is expected to conclude with its arrival at Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Saturday afternoon.




First Leg To Altus AFB, OK

Space Shuttle Discovery and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft landed safely at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma at 2:35 p.m. EDT for a 2-hour refueling stop. Weather permitting, they will then continue the cross-country ferry flight to an overnight stop at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Plans call for Discovery to arrive at Kennedy Space Center in Florida late Saturday morning.


See Takeoff Video, click here to NASA

Discovery's return to Kennedy Space Center in Florida is underway. The orbiter is attached to one of NASA's modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for the cross-country ferry flight, which departed Edwards Air Force Base in California at approximately 11:31 a.m. EDT. Flying ahead of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is a "pathfinder" KC-135 aircraft, which will monitor the weather in the flight path for the 747's crew.

This flight should take about 3 hours, 10 minutes. The pair will make a refueling stop at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma and then, weather permitting, continue on to an overnight stop at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Arrival at Kennedy is expected late Saturday morning.

10:44:19 - SPIKE - No comments

18 August

Lemonade Stand Financials


I agree with you. You cannot derive a meaningful correlation between these two documents and anything substantive. To do so is nothing more than lemonade stand financials. Except most children would have a better handle on their finances.

WS
19:54:45 - SPIKE - No comments

Fed Up


Dear Spike,

I’ve never written a letter to the paper because they want me to use my name even though they let other people write letters without their real name. I’m fed up with Mr. King and our mayor Mike Edwards. Mr. Ell too.

Last year I went to a city council meeting to air a problem. I tried to explain to the council what I needed done. Mr. King was the only one to talk. And talk he did.

All I got was a rude berating about his problems instead of listening about my problems. Mr. King got snippy and wouldn’t be quiet to let other council people talk. He just doesn’t listen. And on the radio all he does is talk, talk, talk.

I called to talk to mayor Edwards one day he was on KBUR. His attitude changed as we talked and finally he was talking through his teeth to me.

I heard that Mr. Ell wants to be mayor. I don’t know how we can trust him since he didn’t tell us the truth about losing the fire truck keys for a long time. I have often wondered why he would hide that from the city council and the public.

It’s no wonder things are so depressing here in Burlington. Thanks for standing up to these people and exposing them. Keep up the good work. Help work on our taxes too.

GG
15:26:24 - SPIKE - No comments

RecPlex Softball Numbers Don’t Add Up


One of our readers sent us a copy of a RecPlex Economic Impact document. We’re going to jump into this debate one time unless someone has more information.

This is not a debate about whether or not the RecPlex is good for Burlington. It is good for Burlington and maybe it deserves more attention.

This is about whether or not VooDoo economics is being used to present a distorted financial picture to the taxpayers and the lack of scrutiny by the City Council. There is no tangible financial information contained in these documents.

You will find the 2 documents below. They, apparently, are proforma estimates for expected or possible revenue that might be generated from the RecPlex.

These documents lack any substance for what the revenues and costs really are, or how they are accounted for, within the City budget.

1. The documents don’t show any revenue or their source. How do they make any money? Admission, concessions, rental, services, what?

2. The documents don’t show any operating costs associated with running the RecPlex. How much does it cost us to operate the facility per month, week or tournament?

3. The documents don’t show any debt payments. We know there is plenty of unpaid debt.

4. The documents don’t show any actual revenue figures from activities. How much money do they actually generate per tournament, week or month?

5. There is no supporting documentation for revenue. How do we know the participants spent that much money on food and gas in 2003? Where are the 2004 numbers?

6. There is no supporting documentation for hotel revenue. Where are the tax receipts to support the alleged hotel revenue?

7. There is no supporting documentation for economic impact. Where are the tax receipts?

8. Who prepared this document? How did the preparer arrive at the multipliers used to determine economic impact? That’s like saying the local advertiser has a pass through daily readership of 38,000 or whatever the unrealistic current claim is.

Without these basic numbers and the entire financial profit and loss/balance sheet and the audits to back it up, this financial information is meaningless information. The money spent on the railroad lawsuit would have been better served marketing this facility rather than having Scott Power pick our pockets clean.




02:26:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Preparations For Discovery To Return To Kennedy Space Center


Space Shuttle Status Report
Wednesday August 17, 2005





Technicians attach the tail cone to the Space Shuttle Discovery in preparation for its return to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image Left: Technicians attach the tail cone to the Space Shuttle Discovery in preparation for its return to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA photo by Carla Thomas)

Difficulties with alignment of the aerodynamic tailcone with the aft end of the Space Shuttle Discovery have forced a further postponement of the departure of Discovery on its ferry flight from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Southern California to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As of Wednesday morning, the Discovery will depart Edwards Air Force Base on the first leg of its ferry flight atop a modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) no earlier than early Friday morning. A possible option to depart Thursday afternoon has now been ruled out, due to temperature and preparation schedule issues.



A heavy thunderstorm Monday evening forced technicians to temporarily suspend work on fastening the aerodynamic tailcone over Discovery's main engine nozzles. Then technicians encountered some difficulty in obtaining precise alignment of the 10,000-pound tailcone with the shuttle, preventing the tailcone from being bolted in place. The tailcone is required to reduce aerodynamic drag and smooth out the airflow over the Shuttle orbiter during the ferry flight.

Once the tailcone is in place and securely fastened, all that remains in ferry flight preparations is the actual mounting of Discovery atop the modified 747 SCA. The three attach points on the 747's fuselage fit into the ball joint receptacles on the Shuttle orbiter that are also used for attachment of the Shuttle's external fuel tank during pre-launch operations. The mating of Discovery with the 747 SCA is expected to take about eight to 10 hours.

The cross-country journey is expected to take two days, with stops at several intermediate points for refueling.

For more on the Space Shuttle's Return to Flight, visit: www.nasa.gov/returntoflight on the Internet.

Photos Of Prior Return Flight


Return To Kennedy

NASA uses two modified Boeing 747 jetliners, originally manufactured for commercial use, as Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA). One is a 747-100 model, while the other is designated a 747-100SR (short range). The two aircraft are identical in appearance and in their performance as Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

The 747 series of aircraft are four-engine intercontinental-range swept-wing "jumbo jets" that entered commercial service in 1969.

The SCAs are used to ferry Space Shuttle orbiters from landing sites back to the launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center, and also to and from other locations too distant for the orbiters to be delivered by ground transportation. The orbiters are placed atop the SCAs by mate-demate devices, large gantry-like structures that hoist the orbiters off the ground for post-flight servicing, and then mate them with the SCAs for ferry flights.

Photos Of Prior Return Flight
00:18:00 - SPIKE - No comments

17 August

Tired of King and Edwards


spike,
I'm tired of hearing about Edwards and King. They aren't going to win this election and they should just quit while they're ahead. there seems to be lots of people that are starting to talk about them. Maybe you can print what we've all know all along to help get the word out.
KR

Spike:
I guess the grades these 2 received must have hit a nerve on a few people. Our mail box is full of King/Edwards comments today. Along with a few Power, Slagle and Ell.
13:27:38 - SPIKE - No comments

My Thoughts On Council


Spike
You may appear to be too harsh in criticizing King and Edwards. You actually hit the nail square on the head in your recent comments. They are not leaders or do not think for themselves when they have allowed the city manager and his staff to turn them into puppets.

They need to go, but we need new people who have the guts to stand up to the city hall management. For some reason, they have been convinced that 3-2 votes are bad and it is not teamwork.

I believe that way of thinking comes from the Iowa League of Cities, which always finds ways to convince this group on new ways to get more of our money and teaches these dogs new tricks.

It is too bad what has happened in our city hall and they get by with it. They are going to tax people out of their homes at the rate they are going.

The school district taxes are just as bad. When does it end? When will they ever be paid enough money and their benefits are better than anyone else seems to get? It is getting too expensive to live here.

TK
13:24:33 - SPIKE - No comments

Central Overpass Design "Accepted" By DOT


Hi Spike
Back in OCT. of 2003 I talked to the head engineer in fairfield, I forgot his name but I can look it up in my papers, and he told me that they don't Approve the design of the overpass but they accept it, whatever that meant. Anyway I brought it up at the election debates, and Tim Scott assured every one that it was fine.
OJ

Spike:
Thanks OJ. Apparently, it wasn't "fine." The circle is closing.
07:47:04 - SPIKE - No comments

Senator King Asks For Report Card Including Edwards


Senator King asked for a report card on his conduct and that of Mike Edwards. Is he nuts?

We’re glad King asked, but surprised that he has turned his website that wasn’t to be a re-election tool, into a re-election tool. Since King has placed Edwards and Baker on his site, I think Federal election laws are going to mandate that King give equal exposure to the other candidates without his editorial nonsense.

We have absolutely no respect for Edwards or you. You’re both egotistical, smart-ass know-it-alls (even though Edwards is attempting to work on that) that don’t have a clue when you’re being shoveled a load of crap from Bruce Slagle, Scott Power or Bill Ell. And they’ve shoveled that crap down your throats for years.

Neither of you exhibit any real leadership skills. If you did, you wouldn’t let the city employees run all over you. You would drive the bus to Des Moines for the economic development summit with the Governor instead of expounding on a marketing report that has no substance. Show us what our tax dollars have done for economic development. Something tangible.

When someone confronts either one of you with a problem or criticism, you both develop a bad attitude. Neither one of you check the facts that Slagle and Power have fed you. That lack of initiative to check the facts before shooting your mouth off will be your undoing at the polls.

You both lied to the public about the railroad lawsuit. First it was about jobs, and then it was about the money when you knew all along the railroad jobs was only a front for this lawsuit. If we’re wrong, why don’t you make the closed session tapes public? Prove our beliefs are wrong.

Edwards and you should have had Slagle on notice about the $1,000,000 budget deficit. He knew well in advance there was going to be a shortage. Why didn’t Edwards and you know about this deficit and tell the public about it before it became a hot-button issue? Why did you give Slagle a raise when everyone else in Burlington is struggling to get by? Why is his family any more deserving than your constituents' families?

Believe me; don’t think you 2 are going to skate back to the council table in this election. We aren’t going to stroke your over-inflated egos. We’re going to give you both a verbal thrashing prior to election. And after that cheap shot at Mary Baker, you have lowered yourself to that of the local advertiser. Not worthy to make political endorsements.

Final Grades:
Heart In Right Place C
Leadership F
Subject Knowledge F
Citizenship Skills F
Ability To Gain Respect F
Ability To Listen F--
Communication Skills F
Attitude F-
Able To Work With Others F
Willingness to Resolve Problems F-
Public Truthfulness F---
Fiduciary Responsibility F
Spelling F


02:40:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Central Street Overpass


Dear Spike,

I have some questions about Central Street overpass. Why was the load limit on the overpass reduced to 20 tons? Did the city engineer miss the design flaw and sign off on a bad design plan as I heard from a city official?

I’ve also heard that they didn’t put enough rerod in the bridge piers. How do you miss the rerod required to build a bridge pier? Shouldn’t that have been specified in the plans?

Why did Iowa DOT or the BSNF let the City get away with this? they spent money, too.

KS

Spike:
We have an excellent source to this ongoing problem. He has said that you are right in your assumptions. It appears that whoever was responsible for checking the drawings and signing off on the plan for the City didn’t do their job.

How the City got the contractor to absorb this, I’ll never know. Maybe they don’t know what happened.

The proof will come when the repairs are done. Then we will see if they raise the load limit back to 40 tons.
02:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

16 August

What's Wrong With Bondo Bridge?


What's Wrong With The Central Street Overpass?

Spike,
Do you know what the deal is with Central overpass? They have Washington closed off and have had it closed for two weeks now. Looks like they are saw cutting the concrete but I haven't seen any work done on it for a week. Is there a safety issue going on? They seem to be awful quiet about it. Are they hiding something?
DL

Spike:
We keep getting emails that say there are design flaws in the bridge piers that the City didn't catch before they signed off on the design. No one will admit to that even though we have information that we believe is very credible.

The last plan included fixing the bridge with an epoxy filler over a 2 month period of time. We have no idea why they aren't working on the bridge. It might be too hot for the epoxy to properly cure. Or, maybe they found more problems.

08:12:05 - SPIKE - No comments

15 August

What Does $500,000+ Buy These Days?


If you estimate the total salaries of all of the economic development officials and budgets that are involved in the Southeast Iowa Economic Development Consortium, commonly referred to as the Southeast Iowa Let’s Form a Group and Do Lunch and Not Much More, you would have easily spent in excess of $500,000 in the past year. Most of it taxpayer money.

So, for that $500,000+ you would expect that there would be someone that has the initiative to prepare an outline for economic development within the Consortium. After all, members of the Consortium are all supposed to be economic development professionals.

But, after looking at the members’ websites, you can see why no one has any knowledge of timely response or creativity. Southeast Iowa Regional Planning’s website hasn’t been updated since before last year’s November election. Grow Greater Burlington's site has early July information.

And you don’t need a pile of studies to get started. I’d settle for something drawn on a napkin with a crayon if it made sense.

But according to the unsigned editorial in the local advertiser, it was suggested Governor Vilsack needed to outline the direction for the Consortium members. Why does he have to do that? Shouldn’t economic development professionals be self-starters and creative? That’s what we’re paying them for.

Let me provide some impetus. You have a sitting governor that had 2 1/2 years left in office when this embarrassment started. He wants to help. He is a native of the region. He has political power and influence that could be brought to bear on helping solve the region’s economic development woes. And on top of all this, the Governor has offered to chair a summit meeting in Des Moines to develop a plan.

What else could you want? This is economic development nirvana. There isn’t anymore to it, do something! Act like you’re interested. Instead of “it’s nice to know that we’re on the right track.” If you were on the “right track” you would have been ready to meet with the Governor more than 6 months ago.

Governor Vilsack set the direction. We need someone to just go drive the bus.

So what did our $500,000 buy us? Lunch, and not much more.


02:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

14 August

Lee County

Spike,

Very good website. Thanks for posting stuff on Lee County. I have wanted to do something similar with my website, but won't get the chance to start it up till this fall.

BTW, I am tied pretty good into what's going on down there. Can feed info to you if you want it?

DN

Spike:

Unlike the local advertiser (and I don't mean the Shopper Spree or Bonny Buyer) we always welcome factual material that we can corroborate without much effort. Your submission is confidential. We don't disclose sources and don't have to under the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

With that said, we are reluctant to dive into deep water in the Lee County matters. Not because we don't want to, but because it takes a lot of time to assemble the details to the mayhem.

There are no doubt some serious issues with elected office holders in Lee County. Problems that seem to be rooted in the "Good Ol' Boys/Girls Protection Society" (GOB/GPS) or "gob of guppies" as one reader suggested since they eat their young.






09:38:48 - SPIKE - No comments

Hopes For More Council Candidates


Hi Spike,

Sorry its been so long to vent about Des Moines county, and Burlington. First off, God bless your site and the First Amendment, without sites like this, the common man wouldn't have a free voice, since the big media doesn't want to hear the truth.

Now I hope more people throw their hat into the ring and run for city council, I have never seen a city council so screwed up as this town has. Unreal. I cannot run for city council since I live outside the city limits, or I would.

Perhaps I shall run for Supervisor one day, and not for the money. Hey!! theres an idea!!! Supervisors donate all of their wages from their position back into public, such as Salvation Army or something else. Naw, everybody lives and dies for the green stuff, so that will never happen. How many supervisors have good paying jobs anyway?

CT

09:22:20 - SPIKE - No comments

Sunrise In Space



NASA Photo

This view featuring a sunrise dissecting a line of airglow of Earth's atmosphere was photographed by an STS-114 crewmember onboard Space Shuttle Discovery after departure from the International Space Station.

Airglow is the overall uniform luminosity (glowing) originating from the Earth's own atmosphere. We are normally not aware of this airglow because it is so uniform. Airglow is the combination of astronomical and airglow sources that allows us to see the silhouette of an object held against the "dark" sky on a clear moonless night.


02:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

12 August

Governor Vilsack Rightly Blasts Local Economic Development Apathy


Another 6 Months Flies By Without Any SE Iowa Response

Governor Wanted To Incite Some Urgency & Enthusiasm


Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack came to Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday to light a fire under local economic development officials. I doubt if anyone was there to see him in fear that they were going to get a well deserved, old-fashioned, country butt chewing for incompetence.

In January, we reported Governor Vilsack was very disappointed in Southeast Iowa area economic development officials. The Governor had extended an invitation to area economic development groups 6 months earlier, to meet in Des Mo
ines to collectively try to generate some local economic development results. No one responded in 6 months from the invitation.

Well, guess what? Six months later no one has responded. Not even the courtesy to go to Mt. Pleasant and at least try to apologize to the Governor.

According to the Southeast Iowa Let’s Form a Group and Do Lunch and Not Much More spokesman, the group is studying, planning and doing more lunches. And don’t forget golf and motorcycling. But no economic development even though they have a great view of the riverfront from their $1,000,000+ offices. The Governor got more done Wednesday in an airplane hangar.

When did you last here about any prospective new businesses interested in Southeast Iowa? Where’s the regionalism these people promoted when they wanted to gobble down our tax money and contributions?

In six months, I could walk to Des Moines, talk to the Governor and make sales calls on a bicycle across America, have 5 months off and still get more done than these people have. All the money the County and City spend on Grow Greater Burlington and Southeast Iowa Regional Planning is being absolutely blown to the wind.

One search term keeps popping up on BurlingtonDerailed.com, “failed economic development policy.” Now you know why. Failed economic development policy is endemic to Southeast Iowa.

Earlier this year I defined the Old Guard, when used in reference to Burlington, as the guys at the city limit sign that won't let anyone with good ideas into town, while trying to run anyone with new or controversial ideas, out of town.

I have to redefine that. The Old Guard also includes not being smart enough to leave town to get help and not bright enough to know they need it.


02:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Slagle Won’t Demand Accounting of Power’s Legal Bills


According to Thursday morning’s local advertiser, City Manager Bruce Slagle is not going to ask (or demand) City Attorney Scott Power to break down his legal bills for the various lawsuits the City is mired down in.

Any reputable attorney provides an hourly accounting, usually in tenths of an hour increment. And a fiscally responsible city manager would demand an hourly accounting breakdown to do a cost analysis of individual lawsuits.

No wonder Burlington has a $1,000,000 budget deficit. If they had to account for the money, they wouldn't have a job.

As they say birds of a feather, flock together and crap all over the people.
02:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Slagle Has ILL Conceived Brainstorm to Quiet Train Horns


Estimated $800,000 Fix

Apparently City Manager Bruce Slagle wants to quiet BNSF train horns in downtown Burlington and is ready to spend taxpayer money to attend a meeting in Ankeny to find out how much it would cost.

I’ll save you the trip. To install new gates, signals, wiring, labor per crossing $100,000 minimum, more like $150,000. 8 crossings, $800,000.

We don’t have the money. And you won’t get it from the railroad.

So check box Delete.
01:34:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Perkins Memorial Fence Problem


Underlying Issues?

After listening to Thursday’s Big Show on KCPS 1150 am, I believe Fred, 7, Tommy, and Campbell all had a pretty good dissection of the issues regarding a baseball backstop and fence located on the former Perkins School property.

Apparently, the new owner, after receiving a sweetheart, pocket listing real estate deal from the school board, he is now upset with City Manager Bruce Slagle. Slagle wants the fence and backstop removed from a City right-of-way. The new property owner is so upset that Slagle demanded he remove it, he is threatening to sue the City over it.

It seems very strange that a property owner would not fully acquaint himself of the property easements before buying the property. Not now after the sale.

It also seems very strange that the new property owner wants to preserve a supposed historic site of sufficient local interest to now warrant a memorial baseball backstop and fence almost 50 years after the fact.

Unless, of course, the new property owner is planning an end run on paying property taxes by declaring the entire Perkins school site an historical site to reduce his tax burden.

Why else? No one can prove that on the exact spot the new property owner claims is the exact location of the plane crash. So why worry if you moved the "memorial" 30' in another direction?

Either way, everyone needs to sit down and resolve this. Don’t let Scott Power pick the City’s pockets any more.
01:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Shuttle External Tank Update


Foam Loss Study In High Gear

NASA gave an update on the work of two engineering teams looking into why a large piece of External Tank insulating foam broke off during Space Shuttle Discovery's liftoff. International Space Station Program Manager Bill Gerstenmaier, who is leading the effort, spoke with the media via teleconference on August 11.

The engineering teams already have begun work to understand the causes behind the foam loss, which was identified in imagery taken during Discovery's launch July 26. The first team, known as the Marshall Action Team, has begun working through a fault-tree analysis, a methodical look at nearly all possible causes of an incident. The second team, known as the External Tank Tiger Team, has been set up to perform an independent engineering assessment of work to resolve the foam loss issue.



NASA Illustration



NASA Photo



Space Shuttle Discovery, in NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's Mate-Demate Device, hangs suspended as workers prepare to lower it onto jacks.
NASA photo by Tony Landis

00:02:00 - SPIKE - No comments

11 August

Delta Queen Visits Burlington Today


The Queen Docks Again August 27



A. Thorne Photo



A. Thorne Photo



A. Thorne Photo



A. Thorne Photo

20:25:55 - SPIKE - No comments

Thank You


Spike:
Thank you for the amazing coverage of the Discovery shuttle mission. You did a better job than the Hawkeye! They were probably busy working on Mr. Hoschek’s re-election campaign.
FS

Spike:
Thanks for your comments. The sad part is they have the staff and the website to cover the Discovery mission in depth. Even when you have a home town boy in the galactic spotlight, they have another agenda.

It's all about money. It's not about the news. And it hasn't been since John McCormally.
13:21:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Lee County Correction


Spike:
In this morning’s story about Lee County, Spike Lee (not that Spike Lee) said he heard that the employee getting excess vacation time might be related to the Lee County Recorder.

She is related to another Lee County department head. But not the recorder.
Cleat

Spike:
I’ll bet the recorder is relieved to hear that. Still sounds like nepotism that doesn’t cross any political party lines as editor Miller told us it did.

Lots of mail today on this Lee County mess. It sounds like there is a whole lot more to this story than anyone realizes. Especially the newspapers. If they would only dig around a little bit. They might catch the real story.




13:18:13 - SPIKE - No comments

Lee County Elected Officials Running Amok


Vacation Is Over

Spike,

Great coverage and photos of the space shuttle!

I read M.G.'s plea for help for Lee County. He/She is right on target!

Our county Attorney and Auditor have repeatedly accused the previous and current Board of Supervisors of illegal actions. Our County Attorney has repeatedly stated that our County Auditor was acting legally.

In fact, the Auditor is the only elected official found guilty of committing an illegal act according to the State Ombudsman's office. They have good attorneys and investigators, so it must be true.

If what I’ve heard is true, the Auditor and Recorder conspired to give a favored employee extra vacation time, then they are possibly guilty of yet another legal infraction. In yet another situation it appears the Auditor recently gave one of her favored employees an improper, possibly illegal, pay raise.

Randy Miller, one of the Blackeye’s ace editors, recently gave Lee County's Auditor a glowing endorsement with superlatives usually reserved for describing Boy Scouts. There was one glaring omission in his diatribe, honesty!

Enter the Good "ole boy/ girl" Protection Society (GOB/GPS); all minor county functionaries, each long time trough feeders, calling for the resignation of a supervisor. Included in this society of five are the very ones that should resign - Auditor, Recorder, and Attorney.

The GOB/GPS must be proud of the fact that Lee County has the highest tax and unemployment rates in the state, because in an open letter to the newspapers they vowed to do anything in their power to fight attempts to consolidate and save citizens tax dollars.

They are of the mindset that the taxpayers of Lee County work for them, not the other way around. These five clowns are poster children for term limits. They apparently don't realize that county government was not designed to be a retirement home for elected officials!

As a footnote; Spike, have you ever thought of starting a newspaper? This area needs a good one to tell both sides of an issue, not just the side an Auditor chooses! What a joke our area rags have become.

Spike, do you think that we should call the state and have this mess thoroughly investigated?

Cleat


Spike:
I called in a guest to answer this letter. We are still reluctant to become deeply involved in Lee County’s problems. We don’t have a big staff like the local newspaper with trained, investigative professionals to ferret out the real issues and facts. My comments follow.

Spike Lee (no, not that Spike Lee):
Since BurlingtonDerailed.com received this, we went to the Iowa State Ombudsman’s website to see what this was all about. The Ombudsman’s Press Release follows and has most of the relevant information.

The writer is correct. The Ombudsman did find Lee County Auditor Anne Pedersen guilty of violating the Iowa open Meeting’s Law by releasing a tape recording of the Lee County Supervisor’s closed session meeting to the Burlington newspaper.

The Ombudsman's report states the supervisors didn’t know it because Pedersen didn’t tell them she released the tape citing, “ I did not notify the Board of Supervisors of my intent to release these items due to our adversarial relationship.” Sounds like there might be a hostile work environment to me. No wonder the budget director had to call the police.

The report also said that Pedersen’s actions made the Supervisors “accountable for the fees and costs if a violation were proven.” It looks like Pedersen can break the law and the supervisors pay for it.

All of these facts Hawkeye City Editor Randy Miller glaringly omitted in his glowing tribute appraisal of Lee County Auditor Anne Pedersen in Miller’s editorial last week. So I guess if breaking a law fills a need to write a very biased half-story for the paper, then the paper doesn’t care if the Auditor violated the law doing it. That’s not newsworthy. Just get the story, no need to check the facts or worry about the law.

What was real interesting to note was the Ombudsman clearly told Auditor Pedersen she has no decision making power to release anything since she works for the Board of Supervisors when it comes to record keeping.

As well it should be, the Ombudsman said the Supervisors should, “ultimately decide whether the records are open to public inspection.”

But other questions are raised in this report. Why did Pedersen go to Lee County Attorney Short to get an opinion and not talk to any Supervisors about the newspaper’s request? It was the Supervisor’s closed session tape. Shouldn’t they know? Was Pedersen trying to circumvent the law?

And one last question for our Lee County readers. Is it true that the employee in the Auditor’s office that got the extra vacation time is somehow related to the Lee County Recorder? Smells like political cronyism that doesn’t cross the political party lines like Editor Miller wants us to believe. Email us.

Spike comments:
Is the rest of Iowa as screwed up as here in Southeast Iowa when it comes to out-of-control elected officials? What is the problem? No wonder there is so much voter apathy.

As far as calling the State to investigate, I am sure there have to be several groups in Des Moines that would be happy to look at these complaints including the Ombudsman, the Attorney General and the Iowa State Auditor.

I’ve heard that the State can even be asked to come in and run the county while the Supervisors sort this out since there is a conflict of interest everywhere in this mess.

But it needs fixing. And fast. Good "ole boy/ girl" Protection Society or not. Maybe we should ask the Des Moines County News to report the real story. It will be reported accurately without bias. Just like a real newspaper. Wouldn’t that be unique.


Ombudsman's Press Release




02:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Steamboat a comin'


The Delta Queen docks in Burlington today. No departure time was available, but usually around 1:00 pm. She'll be back early on August 27. Click here for her itinerary.




02:25:00 - SPIKE - No comments

10 August

Sunrise On The Mojave




The sun rises on the Space Shuttle Discovery as it rests on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, after a safe landing August 9, 2005 to complete the STS-114 mission. Image Credit: Carla Thomas/NASA




NASA's Crew Transport Vehicle, or CTV, pulls up to the Space Shuttle Discovery to offload the crew after a successful landing August 9, 2005 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Mission STS-114 was home. Image Credit: Carla Thomas/NASA


02:40:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Discovery Fly-By


Tuesday morning I decided to find out if the Shuttle Discovery carrying Jim Kelly and crew would pass over Burlington in a location that would be viewable.

According to NASA, on the last orbit (#219) and about 30 minutes before the deorbit burn, Discovery would come into view at 5:27 am in the South-Southwest sky about 12º above the horizon. It would be visible for about 3 minutes before disappearing in the East-Southeast sky about 38º above the horizon. And it was a close 665 miles away.

So about 5:25 I slipped out behind the garage hoping that the neighbors wouldn’t wonder, what is he doing now? I stood there for a few minutes and saw a few stars dwindling in the morning light and the birds screaming, wondering why am I here? And I don’t mean philosophically.

I watched for what seemed like an hour and was ready to go back in and watch TV coverage of the deorbit burn, when out from behind the neighbor’s tree popped Discovery about 45 seconds late. And it was moving faster than Hoschek does for free pork chops at the Fair.

I stood there absolutely spellbound. At first you can’t believe you are seeing it. It’s so bright. It’s so fast. It doesn’t move like any other vehicle you’ve seen in the sky. The speed doesn’t correlate to what you are familiar with partly because it is so close to Earth.

As kids we would squint to see Sputnik or one of the other satellites tossed into space flicker by like a dying candle. You didn’t need to squint to see this. You felt like shouting “Fire” to wake everybody up to share in the thrill.

Discovery didn’t disappoint with its fly-by. It lasted longer and disappeared in the Northeast sky, again hampered by the neighbor’s trees. Keith Summerson's mass x velocity = energy equation hit home like a 20 ounce claw hammer.

So, not only did I get to see Discovery fly by on its last orbit, it was being flown by a Burlington kid going 25 times the speed-of-sound upside down and backwards.

It’s a nice ride. And one to envy.

Now I need to figure out how to cut down the neighbor’s trees.



02:35:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Want To See The International Space Station Fly By?


If you want to get up a little before 5:00 am Thursday morning you should be able to see the International Space Station fly by. Click here for the print out.

This link will take you to a chart that shows the ISS will become viewable about 4:56:03 (three seconds after 4:56 am). The ISS should come into view 215.2º East of north which is South-Southwest in direction. The ISS will pass from South-Southwest to 083.7º East from north or, East-Northeast.

You will see the ISS from about 1/3 above the horizon in the South to about 2/3 above the horizon and it will exit about 45º above the horizon in the East. The distance to the ISS will be from 390 miles to 277 miles.

If you miss Thursday, you can click here. You need JAVA Applet installed to view this real time data.

In the left hand box under Satellite Information Select Satellite, scroll down and select ISS (or any other satellite you want to see fly by).

In the right hand Observer Location box under City: select BurlingtonIA, IA. Then select Next Sighting to get an idea when the next sighting will occur.
02:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

09 August

Glad To Be Home




The crew of mission STS-114 gathered in front of Discovery following landing at Edwards Air Force Base. From left to right: Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson, Commander Eileen Collins, Mission Specialists Andrew Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, Soichi Noguchi and Charles Camarda, and Pilot James Kelly. Image Credit: Jim Ross/NASA


Five of the seven Return to Flight crew members spoke to reporters during a press conference from Edwards Air Force Base in California. Commander Eileen Collins opened the briefing speaking of the team's excitement to come home. "It's absolutely fantastic being back here on planet Earth," said Collins.

Later, Collins elaborated on the spectacular view from space. "We saw some of the most beautiful parts of the Earth," said Collins. "At night we saw Southern Lights -- in fact we flew through the aurora!"

Pilot Jim Kelly remarked on the confidence he had in the entire Space Shuttle team. "In this job we are the tip of a pyramid of thousands and thousands of people and you can't sit at the top without trusting them."

After Kelly spoke, Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi from the Japanese Space Agency expressed his happiness and satisfaction with the flight. "It has been a great honor to participate in this mission and with this crew," said Noguchi. "I feel like going back to the station tomorrow."

Discovery spent two weeks in space, where the crew demonstrated new methods to inspect and repair the Shuttle in orbit. The crew also delivered supplies, outfitted and performed maintenance on the International Space Station. A number of these tasks were conducted during three spacewalks.

In an unprecedented event, spacewalkers were called upon to remove protruding gap fillers from the heat shield on Discovery's underbelly. In other spacewalk activities, astronauts installed an external platform onto the Station’s Quest Airlock and replaced one of the orbital outpost’s Control Moment Gyroscopes.

Inside the Station, the STS-114 crew conducted joint operations with the Expedition 11 crew. They unloaded fresh supplies from the Shuttle and the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. Before Discovery undocked, the crews filled Raffeallo with unneeded items and returned to Shuttle payload bay.

Discovery launched on July 26 and spent almost 14 days on orbit.


16:14:49 - SPIKE - No comments

20' - Gear Down




Touchdown! Discovery makes a picture-perfect landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California at 7:11 a.m. CDT - "Vegas Time." (Image Credit: Carla Thomas)



NASA Image

After exiting Discovery and inspecting the vehicle, Return to Flight mission Commander Collins with her crew, took a moment to address the media waiting on the runway.

"We have had a fantastic mission," said Collins. "We are so glad to be able to come back and say it was successful."

According to Collins, her team of astronauts couldn't wait to look-over their ship. "The crew was really anxious to walk around and see what the outside looked like. We brought Discovery back in great shape," said Collins.

"This is a wonderful moment for all of us," summarized the commander.

Discovery spent two weeks in space, where the crew demonstrated new methods to inspect and repair the Shuttle in orbit. The crew also delivered supplies, outfitted and performed maintenance on the International Space Station. A number of these tasks were conducted during three spacewalks.

In an unprecedented event, spacewalkers were called upon to remove protruding gap fillers from the heat shield on Discovery's underbelly. In other spacewalk activities, astronauts installed an external platform onto the Station’s Quest Airlock and replaced one of the orbital outpost’s Control Moment Gyroscopes.

Inside the Station, the STS-114 crew conducted joint operations with the Expedition 11 crew. They unloaded fresh supplies from the Shuttle and the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. Before Discovery undocked, the crews filled Raffeallo with unneeded items and returned to Shuttle payload bay.

Discovery launched on July 26 and spent almost 14 days on orbit.




"I'm telling you, Snake Alley is the crookedest street in the world."







Steve Robinson



Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi plays his keyboard in this televised view from the middeck of the space shuttle Discovery Sunday, Aug. 7, 2005. NASA TV




Jim Kelly - Astronaut


All NASA Images


08:30:37 - SPIKE - No comments

They're Home


On time arrival at 7:11:22 a.m. CDT.




Photo: NASA/Tony Landis


04:14:19 - SPIKE - No comments

"Go For The Burn"


5:43 am The decision has been made. The Discovery will land at 7:12 am. The deorbit engine burn is set to begin at 6:06 am.


03:03:26 - SPIKE - No comments

Discovery To Land At 7:12 AM CDT At Edwards AFB California


Intermittent Offshore Thunderstorms Nix Florida Landing

4:00 am The weather at Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, California this morning is CAVU - Ceilings And Visibility Unlimited with a 7 knot wind down the runway. Perfect weather to land anything.

Left and right orbital maneuvering engine deorbit burn will occur at 6:06 am CDT over the Indian Ocean north of Madagascar and will last 2 minutes 43 seconds. This slows the Discovery about 186 mph.

Discovery will encounter the edge of the upper atmosphere over the Cook Islands about 5060 miles from Edwards AFB in a 40º nose up, wings level attitude. Shortly thereafter Discovery will perform a 74º left banking turn followed a right banking turn, another left bank and finally a right bank to dissipate about 14,000 mph in speed.

Discovery will cross the California coast north of Los Angeles between Oxnard and Ventura entering the Edwards traffic pattern at 7:09 am CDT and then execute a 196º right hand turn to line up with runway 22 touching down at 7:12 am. This will be the 50th shuttle landing at Edwards.

After 219 orbits, they'll be home.


01:29:09 - SPIKE - No comments

08 August

STS-114 MCC Status Report #27


Kennedy Space Center, Edwards Air Force Base, CA and White Sands Space Harbor, NM Activated

NASA NEWS

Monday, August 8, 2005 – 7:00 a.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STATUS REPORT: STS-114-27

Discovery's seven astronauts will spend another day in space after weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center landing site prevented a return to Earth today.

Discovery's two landing opportunities to Florida were waved off this morning due to unpredictable cloud cover at the landing site.

All three primary Shuttle landing sites will be activated on Tuesday. NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, will remain the preferred landing site. Edwards Air Force Base, California, will be second in preference for landing and White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico, will be third in preference. Two Shuttle landing opportunities will be available at each site.

Weather conditions at KSC for Tuesday are forecast to be similar to today with a slight chance of showers offshore. Edwards is forecast to have acceptable conditions for landing. White Sands' forecast includes a chance of showers.

Preparations are now focused on the first opportunity to land Tuesday which would begin with an engine firing by Discovery at 3:01 a.m. CDT and lead to a touchdown at KSC at 4:07 a.m. CDT. The additional landing opportunities include: a 4:33 a.m. Shuttle engine firing leading to a 5:39 a.m. landing at White Sands; a 4:37 a.m. engine firing leading to a 5:43 a.m. touchdown at KSC; a 6:06 a.m. engine firing leading to 7:12 a.m. touchdown at Edwards; a 6:09 a.m. engine firing leading to a 7:13 a.m. landing at White Sands; and a 7:44 a.m. engine firing leading to a 8:47 a.m. landing at Edwards.

The Shuttle crew will fire Discovery's engines at 7:19 a.m. today to adjust the Shuttle's orbit and optimize the landing opportunities for tomorrow. The crew will go to sleep at 11:39 a.m. and awaken at 7:39 p.m. to begin deorbit preparations.

11:48:26 - SPIKE - No comments

Landing Off Until Early Tuesday


Low Cloud Deck Impedes Visual Approach Path

Due to low clouds at the Kennedy Space Center landing site, Mission Control Houston has waved off both landing opportunities for Space Shuttle Discovery today. STS-114 Commander Eileen Collins and the rest of the crew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery will return the orbiter to normal flight operations for another day. The next opportunity is at 5:07 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

There are several opportunities to land tomorrow, including two at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and two at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Mission Specialist Steve Robinson offered a glimpse of his experience on a historic spacewalk and other mission events during the first podcast delivered from orbit.
09:59:22 - SPIKE - No comments

More Views From Above






Docked to the International Space Station, a Soyuz vehicle (foreground) and the Space Shuttle Discovery were photographed by a crewmember onboard the orbital outpost.



Astronaut Jim. Kelly, STS-114 pilot, controls the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm2) from the U.S. Lab, Destiny, on the International Space Station.



Astronaut Stephen K. Robinson, STS-114 mission specialist, anchored to a foot restraint on the International Space Station’s Canadarm2, participates in the mission’s third session of extravehicular activity (EVA).



Astronaut Stephen K. Robinson on EVA 3.







The Italian-built Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) and the
Canadarm2 of the International Space Station





All Photos Courtesy of NASA


02:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

07 August

Payload Bay Doors Closed for Landing


Spacecraft Communicator Ken Ham in Mission Control Houston called Space Shuttle Discovery with an optimistic weather report for landing today. The first landing opportunity is at 4:47 a.m. EDT.

Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot Jim Kelly and the rest of the crew are well into their preparations for landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. One important milestone, closing the orbiter's payload bay doors, was executed after the weather report and an official "go" from Mission Control.

If the crew gets the go-ahead from Mission Control for the first landing opportunity, Collins and Pilot Jim Kelly will execute an engine burn that drops Discovery from orbit at 3:40 a.m. EDT. If weather prohibits landing on that orbit, Discovery will have another opportunity about 90 minutes later.

Mission Specialist Steve Robinson, on his last day in space, offered a glimpse of his experience on a historic spacewalk and other mission events during the first podcast delivered from orbit.
22:43:44 - SPIKE - No comments

STS-114 MCC Status Report #26


NASA NEWS

Sunday, August 7, 2005 – 8:30 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-26

STS-114 MCC Status Report #26

Discovery's Return to Flight mission is scheduled to conclude with a landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center early Monday morning.

Discovery has two opportunities to land at the Kennedy Space Center on Monday. The first begins with a 3 minute, 7 second deorbit burn of the Orbital Maneuvering System engines at 2:40 a.m., followed by landing at 3:47 a.m. CDT.

In the event weather prevents landing on that first opportunity, a second is available, with deorbit burn at 4:15 a.m. resulting in a 5:22 a.m. CDT landing. It will be the 15th night landing in Florida and 20th overall for the Space Shuttle Program.

Weather forecasters predict favorable conditions with good visibility and only a slight chance of showers over the water in the vicinity of the three-mile-long landing strip. The backup site at California's Edwards Air Force Base was not activated for Monday.

The crew was awakened at 7:39 p.m. CDT by the song "Come on Eileen" by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. It was played for Discovery's Commander Eileen Collins from the Mission Control Team.

Collins, Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson, who also serves as Discovery's Flight Engineer, and Mission Specialist Andy Thomas will be on the flight deck for landing. Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi, Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda will be on Discovery's middeck.

After its departure Saturday, Discovery is now about 200 miles away from the International Space Station and increasing that gap by about 9 miles each time it orbits the Earth. Onboard the Station, Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Station Science Officer John Phillips have returned to their normal schedule, waking up at 1 a.m. CDT Monday.
22:41:33 - SPIKE - No comments

Discovery Landing Preparation About To Begin




Space Shuttle Discovery is photographed by a crewmember aboard the International Space Station. NASA Photo

When the crewmembers of Space Shuttle Discovery are awakened at 7:39 p.m. CDT today, they will immediately begin preparing the orbiter and themselves for landing. They are scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:47 a.m. CDT Monday.

The engine burn that drops Discovery from orbit will occur at 2:40 a.m. if weather at the landing site permits.
16:22:45 - SPIKE - No comments

STS-114 MCC Status Report #25


NASA NEWS

Sunday, August 7, 2005 – noon CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-25

STS-114 MCC Status Report #25

Discovery’s crew is spending what should be its last night in space, with an early morning landing planned Monday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, concluding a voyage of 5.35 million miles.

In preparation for tomorrow’s 3:47 a.m. CDT landing, Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson activated one of three hydraulic systems on Discovery and tested all of its aerosurfaces and steering jets. The rest of the crew – Andy Thomas, Soichi Noguchi, Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda – completed packing up gear and hardware. The seven-member crew took a moment early this morning to talk with CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and ABC, discussing their mission and upcoming return to Earth.

Discovery has two opportunities to land at the Kennedy Space Center on Monday. The first begins with a 3 minute, 7 second deorbit burn of the Orbital Maneuvering System engines at 2:40 a.m., followed by landing at 3:47 a.m. CDT.

In the event weather prevents landing on that first opportunity, a second is available, with deorbit burn at 4:15 a.m. resulting in a 5:22 a.m. CDT landing. It will be the 15th night landing in Florida and 20th overall for the Space Shuttle Program.

Weather forecasters predict favorable conditions with light and variable winds and a slight chance of showers in the vicinity of the three-mile-long landing strip. The backup site at California’s Edwards Air Force Base was not activated for Monday.

On the International Space Station, Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips had a light-duty day as flight controllers added the fourth Control Moment Gyroscope to the Station's attitude control mix. For the first time since June 2002, the Station has use of all four 600-pound units. Noguchi and Robinson replaced one CMG and restored power to another during spacewalks.

Sunday & Monday Flight Schedule

Saturday, August 6 (Flight Day 12) All Times CDT:
7:39 p.m. Crew wakeup

Sunday, August 7 (Flight Day 13) All Times CDT:
3:14 a.m. U.S. Network Interviews
6:30 a.m. Mission Status Briefing
8:19 a.m. Ku-band antenna stowage
11:39 p.m. Discovery Crew Sleep Begins
12 p.m. Flight Day Highlights
5 p.m. Post MMT Briefing
6 p.m. Post MMT Briefing Replay
7:39 p.m. Discovery Crew wake up
10:34 p.m. Deorbit preparations begin

Monday, August 8 (Flight Day 14) All Times CDT:
1:03 a.m. Payload bay door closing
2:43 a.m. Deorbit burn
3:46 a.m. Kennedy Space Center Landing




Looks like there's always time for macaroni and cheese. Astronaut Jim Kelly, STS-114 pilot, eats a meal on the middeck of the Space Shuttle Discovery while docked to the International Space Station on August 2, 2005. NASA Photo
06:23:00 - SPIKE - No comments

06 August

Undocking and Flyaround



The International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Discovery begin their relative separation after their crewmembers concluded nine days of cooperative work. Undocking occurred at 2:24 a.m. (CDT), August 6, 2005. NASA Photo




The Space Station Remote Manipulator System arm or Canadarm2 appears to be waving good bye to the Space Shuttle as the orbital outpost moves away from Discovery. NASA Photo




Full view of the International Space Station was photographed by a crewmember onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery following the undocking of the two spacecraft. NASA Photo




This view of the International Space Station was photographed by a crewmember onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. NASA Photo




The International Space Station is back dropped against a heavily cloud-covered part of Earth as the orbital outpost moves away from the Space Shuttle Discovery. Earlier, the crews of the two spacecraft concluded nine days of cooperative work. As the Shuttle moved away to a distance of about 400 feet, astronaut James M. Kelly, pilot, begin a slow fly-around of the Station, while cameras on each spacecraft captured video and still images of the other. NASA Photo





21:53:11 - SPIKE - No comments

STS-114 MCC Status Report #24


NASA NEWS

Saturday, August 6, 2005 – 8:30 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-24

STS-114 MCC Status Report #24

Discovery's astronauts will begin turning their attention toward coming back to Earth Monday by stowing equipment and verifying operation of the orbiter's flight control surfaces and system.

The crew was awakened at 7:39 p.m. CDT by "The One and Only Flower in the World" sung by the Japanese group SMAP. It was played for Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson, who also serves as Discovery's Flight Engineer, will checkout the orbiter's flight control system at 10:39 p.m. CDT. The three also will test the Reaction Control System with a hot fire of the jets at 11:49 p.m. CDT.

In the meantime, Noguchi, along with Mission Specialists Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda will put away equipment that has been in use during the mission. Noguchi and Thomas will stow the Ku-band communications antenna at 8:19 a.m. CDT.

The entire group will gather on Discovery’s flight deck and take a moment to answer questions from reporters at 3:06 a.m. CDT.

After its departure Saturday, Discovery is now about 90 miles away from the International Space Station and increasing that gap by about 8 miles each time it orbits the Earth.

Onboard the Station, Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Station Science Officer John Phillips are returning to their normal schedule, waking up at 1 a.m. CDT Sunday. They are enjoying a restful weekend after nearly 9 full days of work with the Shuttle crew.

Discovery's crew is scheduled for sleep at 11:39 a.m. CDT Sunday.


20:27:52 - SPIKE - No comments

Burlington’s Dr. James Green Heads Vital NASA Office


Green, Heads Space Science Data Operations Office at Goddard Space Flight Center

If Data Moves At NASA, It Moves Through Vital Space Science Data Office


Jim grew up in Burlington graduating from Burlington High School in 1969. He studied under Dr. James Van Allen receiving his B.A. in Astronomy, a M.S. in Physics and his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Van Allen is America’s preeminent space scientist most well know for his discovery in 1958 of the Van Allen Radiation Belts. The radiation belts are regions of high-energy particles, mainly protons and electrons, held captive by the magnetic influence of the Earth.

Dr. Green followed Van Allen’s footsteps in space science research to explore various aspects of the magnetospheres of Earth and Jupiter. Dr. Green has been involved in verifying the existence of the polar wind and the discovery of nitrogen in the Earth's magnetosphere.

The Science Data Operations Office at GSFC simultaneously supports the Space Science Directorate within GSFC, computer security throughout NASA, orbiting satellites, requests for pictures from the general public, requests for data from scientists, and requests for manpower from NASA headquarters.

If data moves at NASA it moves through Space Science Data Operations Office. And a Burlington rocket scientist keeps it moving.

NASA Center in Maryland has Vital Role in Shuttle's Return to Flight

When Discovery roars off the launch pad next week on the first Space Shuttle mission in almost two and a half years, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. will provide key communication and tracking support. In addition, tools developed at Goddard that are based on experience gained in four service calls to the Hubble Space Telescope, will be onboard and ready for use by spacewalking astronauts should the Shuttle sustain damage and require repairs.

From liftoff through landing, the astronauts aboard Discovery along with the thousands of people supporting the flight at ground stations depend on Goddard personnel to manage complex communications between the Space Shuttle and Earth. The system, known as the Spaceflight Tracking Data Network, allows NASA to monitor Shuttle systems, send flight commands and navigation instructions, relay scientific data, support voice communications from astronauts to mission control and send video and television feeds.

As the Shuttle orbits the Earth, the Goddard team monitors and continually adjusts the communication pathways to ensure that command, tracking, telemetry, video, and voice communications are clear and secure.

Communication antennas don't just automatically lock on the Shuttle and follow the spacecraft where it goes. Goddard's Flight Dynamics Facility updates the network regularly on the Shuttle location.

The Hubble Space Telescope Extravehicular Activities Team at Goddard built tools that the crew could use to make in-flight repairs to the Shuttle if necessary. The team also developed a prototype for an extravehicular infrared camera that will check the Shuttle's wings for damages.

Rani Chohan / Debbie Jensen
Goddard Space Flight Center


05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

STS-114 MCC Status Report #23


NASA NEWS

Saturday, August 6, 2005 – 1:30 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-23

STS-114 MCC Status Report #23

Discovery is flying solo today, following its early morning departure from the International Space Station, concluding nine days of cooperative work between the two crews.

Pilot Jim Kelly was at the controls as latches between the two vehicles were released and Discovery began to back gently away from the Station. Undocking occurred at 2:24 a.m. CDT as the two spacecraft flew high over the Pacific Ocean, west of Chile.

As Discovery moved away to a distance of about 400 feet, Kelly began a slow fly-around of the Station. Cameras on each spacecraft captured video and still images of the other.

After the fly-around, Kelly executed the first of two separation burns to move Discovery away from the Station and begin its trip home. The entire crew – Commander Eileen Collins, Kelly, and Mission Specialists Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, Steve Robinson, Charlie Camarda and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) enjoyed some scheduled off-duty time before going to sleep at 11:39 a.m. CDT.

The crew will awaken at 7:39 p.m. CDT and turn its attention to stowing away much of the equipment used over the past 11 days in orbit, and verifying operation of Discovery’s flight control surfaces and system.

Over the course of nine days of joint work, the crews moved more than 12,000 pounds of equipment and supplies to the Station and will return about 7,000 pounds of material from the Station to Earth. Spacewalkers Noguchi and Robinson left all four of the Station’s attitude control gyroscopes functioning with the removal and replacement of one of the 600-pound units. They also installed a new stowage platform on the exterior of the Station and worked with an experiment that exposes a variety of materials samples to the harsh vacuum and extreme temperatures of space. Discovery was docked with the Station for 8 days, 19 hours and 54 minutes.

Aboard the Station, newly resupplied and emptied of surplus gear, Commander Sergei Kirkalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips also had a light-duty day after undocking.
04:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Discovery Pilot Jim Kelly's Prior Ride




In June 1994 Discovery Pilot Jim Kelly graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base located at Edwards, California. Here's an Edwards F-15 sits on the ramp in front of Edwards Tower. US Air Force Photo

04:27:00 - SPIKE - No comments

05 August

Discovery Undocks On Time At 2:24 A.M. CDT


Discovery undocked on time at 2:24 a.m. CDT piloted by Jim Kelly over the Pacific Ocean just west of Chile. Kelly will do a flyaround about 400' away from the International Space Station so that both crews can photograph each other.



Space Shuttle Discovery undocks from the International Space Station. NASA TV

23:37:52 - SPIKE - No comments

Hatch Is Closed - Undocking Procedure Begins


11:50 p.m. Moments ago the Discovery crew said good-bye to the International Space Station crew and has begun the procedure to close the hatches and undock. The hatches closed at 12:14 am. Undocking is scheduled for 2:24 am CDT.

Then the Shuttle will fly around the Station at a distance of 400 feet, allowing the Shuttle crew to photograph the orbiting outpost.

Saturday, August 6 (Flight Day 12) All Times CDT:

11:24 a.m. Discovery/ISS crew farewell and hatch closure
2:24 a.m. Discovery/ISS undocking
2:52 a.m. Discovery flyaround of ISS
4:05 a.m. Final separation from ISS
8:30 a.m. Mission status briefing (flight control team video replay follows)
11:39 a.m. Crew sleep begins
12 p.m. Flight day highlights
6 p.m. Post-MMT briefing
7 p.m. MMT briefing replay
7:39 p.m. Crew wakeup



Space Shuttle Discovery docked to the International Space Station. NASA TV Image


NASA NEWS

Friday, August 6, 2005 – 12:30 a.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-22

STS-114 MCC Status Report #22

After more than a week of working together in space, the Space Shuttle Discovery and International Space Station crews bid each other farewell tonight.

Following a crew farewell ceremony at 11:36 p.m. CDT, hatches between the spacecraft were closed at 12:14 a.m. CDT, with Discovery's undocking planned for 2:24 a.m. CDT Saturday morning.

"The Air Force Song" was the Shuttle crew wake-up song for the day, played at 9:09 p.m. CDT. The song was dedicated to Pilot Jim Kelly, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, at the request of Commander Eileen Collins. Space Station Expedition 11 crewmates John Phillips and Sergei Krikalev woke 30 minutes later.

After Discovery undocks from the Station, with Kelly at the controls, the Shuttle will fly around the Space Station about 400 feet away to allow the Shuttle crew to take photographs of the complex.

The flyaround maneuver will begin at 2:54 a.m. CDT, and Discovery’s final separation from the Station begins with an engine firing at 4:09 a.m. CDT.

The majority of the rest of the day will be free time for Discovery and the Station crew.

Discovery’s crew, including Collins, Kelly and Mission Specialists Steve Robinson, Soichi Noguchi, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda, is scheduled for sleep at 11:39 a.m. CDT Saturday.

The Station crew, which will soon begin working back toward its normal workday hours, is scheduled to sleep at 1:09 p.m. CDT.

20:48:20 - SPIKE - No comments

Recent Update




The Nile River provides a backdrop for this closeup view of Space Shuttle Discovery's heat shielding tiles during the third STS-114 spacewalk. Mission Specialist Steve Robinson's shadow is also visible. NASA Photo




The blackness of space and Earth's horizon form the backdrop for this image featuring the nose of the Space Shuttle Discovery while docked to the International Space Station. A portion of a Station truss is visible at bottom left. The image was photographed by astronaut Stephen K. Robinson, STS-114 mission specialist, during the mission's third session of extravehicular activities (EVA). NASA Photo




Space Shuttle Discovery's underside thermal protection tiles are featured in this image photographed by astronaut Stephen K. Robinson, STS-114 mission specialist, during the mission's third session of extravehicular activities (EVA). NASA Photo



NASA Photo

Raffaello Returns to Payload Bay
The STS-114 crew returned the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to Space Shuttle Discovery's payload bay this morning at 9:03 a.m. EDT. The hatches between Raffaello and the International Space Station were closed at 1:42 a.m. EDT.

Raffaello is filled with unneeded items from the Station. This is Raffaello’s third trip to the international outpost.

In other activities today, the STS-114 and Expedition 11 crews are preparing for Discovery’s departure. The Shuttle is scheduled to undock from the Station at 3:24 a.m. EDT Saturday and land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Monday morning.

The two crews are slated to go to bed today at 1:09 p.m. CDT.

Mission Control radioed the Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts Thursday with news that they will not need to make a fourth spacewalk to fix a thermal blanket near the commander's left window. The Mission Management Team made the decision based on extensive analysis.


12:06:50 - SPIKE - No comments

Discovery Prepares To Get Underway For Monday 3:46 AM Landing



Self-Portrait. Astronaut Steve Robinson turns the camera on himself during his historic repair job "underneath" Discovery on August 3. The Shuttle's heat shield, where Robinson removed a pair of protruding gap fillers, is reflected in his visor. NASA Photo



Unprecedented Vista. Discovery's underside floats over the Earth in this first-of-its-kind view, taken during astronaut Steve Robinson's dramatic August 3 spacewalk. Riding the International Space Station's robot arm, Robinson ventured under the Shuttle to remove a pair of gap fillers sticking out between tiles on the orbiter's heat shield. NASA Photo



This scene, photographed from the International Space Station while docked with Space Shuttle Discovery, shows the orbiter, the orbiter's Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm, the Space Station RMS (Canadarm2), the Orbiter Boom and Sensor System (OBSS) and a Soyuz vehicle docked with the orbital outpost. NASA Photo


Crew Begins Preparations for Undocking

Undocking from the International Space Station is still a day away, but the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery is already working through a timeline that will lead to its departure.

Mission Control awakened the crew at 9:15 p.m. CDT with "Anchors Aweigh" in honor of Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence, a captain in the U.S. Navy.

Today, the crew is packing the Shuttle for the return to Earth. The Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and the Orbiter's Boom Sensor System will be stowed into the payload bay.

Mission Control radioed the Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts Thursday with news that they will not need to make a fourth spacewalk to fix a thermal blanket near the commander's left window. The Mission Management Team made the decision based on extensive analysis.

Friday, August 5 (Flight Day 11) All times CDT:

5:24 a.m. MPLM uninstall from Unity module
6:34 a.m. MPLM berthed in Discovery payload bay
7:30 a.m. Mission Status Briefing
11 p.m. Video File
1 p.m. Flight day highlights
1:09 p.m. Crew sleep begins
5 p.m. Post-MMT briefing
8 p.m. MMT briefing replay
9:09 p.m. Crew wakeup




NASA NEWS

Thursday, August 4, 2005 – 11:45 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-20

STS-114 MCC Status Report #20

Now in their eleventh day of the mission and with three successful spacewalks behind them, the STS-114 crew of Space Shuttle Discovery is slated to begin preparations for undocking and the final day with their International Space Station counterparts. Their activities for the day include final equipment transfers, stowage and return of the robotic arm, boom and cargo container to the Shuttle payload bay.

"Anchors Aweigh" was the Shuttle crew wake-up song for the day, played at 9:15 p.m. CDT. The song was dedicated to Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence at the request of Commander Eileen Collins. Space Station Expedition 11 crewmates John Phillips and Sergei Krikalev woke 30 minutes later.

The first tasks of the day center on preparation of the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) for its berthing back into Discovery’s cargo bay. That module was removed from Discovery on Flight Day 4, mated to the Station and unloaded. Discovery and the MPLM are now loaded with 7,055 lbs. of unneeded equipment and trash for return to Earth.

Pilot Jim Kelly and Lawrence will operate the Station robotic arm later in the day to move Raffaello from the Station and gently place it back into Discovery’s cargo bay at 6:34 a.m. CDT. Then, joined by Mission Specialists Charlie Camarda and Andy Thomas, the four will use the Shuttle arm to return the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to its secured position on the sill of the payload bay for the ride back to Earth.

Throughout the day, the on-orbit team will continue with stowing equipment on Discovery's middeck and configurations for undocking, including Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi, Steve Robinson and Thomas making final configurations and stowage of the spacesuits.

Both crews are scheduled for sleep at 1:09 p.m. CDT Friday with hatch closing and undocking scheduled early Saturday morning.


NASA NEWS

Thursday, August 4, 2005 – 4 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-19

STS-114 MCC Status Report #19

Space Shuttle Discovery’s heat shield is cleared for the return to Earth early Monday after mission managers decided today that a fourth spacewalk to deal with a puffed out thermal blanket is unnecessary. Wind tunnel tests overnight at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California showed little chance of any significant debris coming from the blanket at supersonic speeds. Further engineering analysis showed any debris released from the blanket was unlikely to hit structures on Discovery.

Thursday’s Mission Management Team decision put to rest the work that was being done to assess the health of the thermal protection system. The tiles and reinforced carbon-carbon on Discovery’s wings and nose were cleared earlier for entry.

Discovery and International Space Station crewmembers Thursday delivered a moving tribute to members of the Columbia crew and others, astronauts and cosmonauts, who lost their lives in the human exploration of space.

Each crewmember, in red shirt with Columbia's STS-107 mission patch spoke during the tribute as the docked spacecraft flew over the southern Indian Ocean approaching a sunset. Station Science Officer John Phillips said: "To the crew of Columbia, as well as the crews of Challenger, Apollo 1, Soyuz 1 and 11, and to those who have courageously given so much, we now offer our enduring thanks.”

Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency repeated Phillips' words in Japanese during the tribute, and Station Commander Sergei Krikalev spoke them in Russian. For the text of the tribute, please click here.

After their successful Wednesday spacewalk, Discovery and Station crewmembers continued transfer activities, mostly packing the Multi-Purpose Logistic Module Raffaello with items from the Station. The pressurized cargo carrier is to be unberthed Friday from the Station's Unity Node and returned to Discovery's cargo bay for the trip back to Earth.

Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence attached the Station's Canadarm2 to Raffaello in preparation for its unberthing.

Discovery Commander Eileen Collins, spacewalking Mission Specialist Steve Robinson and Mission Specialist Charlie Carmada talked with reporters from the Associated Press and NBC. A little later Collins and Noguchi spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mohri and others, including Japanese students.

Crewmembers had an hour together for a common meal, then the seven Discovery astronauts had the afternoon off. The Station crew spent about two hours preparing equipment for the unberthing of Raffaello.
00:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

04 August

No Fourth Spacewalk Needed


LATEST NEWS

Mission control radioed the Discovery crew today with news that they will not need to make a fourth spacewalk to fix a thermal blanket near the Commander's left window. Mission Control and the crew agreed that it was "good news."

The Mission Management Team, which made the decision based on extensive analysis, is still meeting. More details about the decision will be discussed at a news conference at 2 p.m. CDT today.

Earlier today, the STS-114 and Expedition 11 crews took time out of their schedule to pay tribute to all of the astronauts and cosmonauts who have given their lives for space exploration.
11:04:40 - SPIKE - No comments

Flight Day 10




The blackness of space and Earth's horizon form the backdrop for this view while Space Shuttle Discovery is docked to the International Space Station. A portion of Discovery's remote manipulator system (RMS) robotic arm is visible at lower right and a section of the Station's truss is visible top frame. NASA Photo

Update
Flight Day 10 is under way for the Space Shuttle Discovery crewmembers. After Wednesday's busy and successful spacewalk, they are planning on a light duty day today. However, it will be punctuated by a series of special events.

At 3:29 a.m. EDT, Commander Eileen Collins and Mission Specialists Steve Robinson and Charlie Camarda will conduct an in-flight media interview. Later this morning, Japanese Astronaut Soichi Noguchi and Collins will talk with Japanese officials, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

The Discovery crew will join the International Space Station crew for a special meal afterwards. Then at 8:04 a.m., they plan to conduct a commemorative in-flight event paying tribute to the STS-107 Columbia crew. Watch it live on NASA TV.

Mission Control awoke the crew at 11:09 p.m. EDT to "Amarillo by Morning" by George Strait.

Back on Earth, NASA managers are studying a ruffled thermal blanket on Discovery's exterior, below the commander's window. An engineering team is developing a plan for a potential additional spacewalk to repair it.


Thursday, August 4 (Flight Day 10) All times CDT:

12:30 a.m. Flight director update
1:09 a.m. MPLM egress and deactivation
2:29 a.m. AP/NBC "Today"
4:19 a.m. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) PAO event
5:00 a.m. Replay of JAXA PAO Event with translation
7:04 a.m. Columbia Commemoration downlink
11 p.m. Video File
1 p.m. Expedition 12 /Spaceflight Participant crew news conference
1:09 p.m. Crew sleep begins
2 p.m. Flight day highlights
5 p.m. Post-MMT briefing
8 p.m. MMT briefing replay
9:09 p.m. Discovery Crew wakeup
9:39 p.m. ISS crew wakeup







Astronauts Wendy Lawrence (foreground), STS-114 mission specialist, and James Kelly, pilot, work at the Canadarm2 workstation in the Destiny laboratory on the International Space Station. NASA Photo




On July 30 Astronauts Soichi Noguchi and Stephen K. Robinson (out of frame) completed a demonstration of Shuttle thermal protection repair techniques and enhancements to the International Space Station's attitude control system.
NASA Photo




The Expedition 11 and STS-114 crewmembers gather for a group photo in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. From the left (front row) are astronauts Andrew S. W. Thomas, STS-114 mission specialist; Eileen M. Collins, STS-114 commander; cosmonaut Sergei K. Krikalev, Expedition 11 commander representing Russia's Federal Space Agency; astronaut John L. Phillips, Expedition 11 NASA Space Station science officer and flight engineer. From the left (back row) are astronauts Soichi Noguchi, STS-114 mission specialist representing Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA); James M. Kelly, STS-114 pilot; Charles J. Camarda, Wendy B. Lawrence and Stephen K. Robinson, all STS-114 mission specialists. NASA Photo

NASA NEWS

Wednesday, August 7, 2005 – 11:00 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-18

STS-114 MCC Status Report #18

After an eventful day supporting the third spacewalk of the mission, a light duty day of transfer activities, special events and time off lies ahead for the Space Shuttle Discovery crew as they begin their tenth day in space.

The seven-member Shuttle crew awoke to the well-known country song "Amarillo by Morning," performed by George Strait, at 10:09 p.m. CDT. Their Station counterparts, the Expedition 11 crew of Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer and NASA ISS Science Officer John Phillips, woke up 30 minutes later.

The morning includes an in-flight media interview for Commander Eileen Collins, and Mission Specialists Steve Robinson and Charlie Camarda. Elsewhere on the complex, Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence will be performing a few robotic arm operations, as they release the Station’s Canadarm2 from the Mobile Base System and attach it to the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM). That task is being done in preparation for return of the MPLM to Discovery's payload bay.

Midway through the crew day, at about 4:19 a.m. CDT, Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency Astronaut Soichi Noguchi and Collins will participate in a special video conference with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi; and Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Nariaki Nakayama. JAXA Astronaut Dr. Mamoru Mohri and several Japanese students and citizens will also participate in the call.

Later, Robinson, Camarda and Noguchi will continue stowage of equipment and supplies in the MPLM on the Shuttle and Space Station. Phillips and Krikalev will help with that activity as well before all of the crewmembers stop to share a special evening meal together.

About an hour later, at 7:04 a.m. CDT, the joint crews have planned a commemorative in-flight event paying tribute to the STS-107 Columbia crew. That event will air on NASA TV. The remainder of the day will be off-duty time for the Shuttle crew as they prepare for the final days of their mission.

Phillips and Krikalev will spend about two hours configuring the Common Berthing Mechanism for the MPLM removal before ending their workday with routine daily planning conference with ground controllers.
00:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

03 August

STS-114 MCC Status Report #17


NASA NEWS

Wednesday, August 7, 2005 – 7:30 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-17

STS-114 MCC Status Report #17

Despite days of anticipation and intense planning, space-walking astronaut Steve Robinson made it look easy as he gently pulled two protruding gap fillers from between thermal protection tiles on Discovery's underside Wednesday morning.

"It looks like this big patient is cured," Robinson told delighted flight controllers.

Fellow spacewalker Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency helped Robinson with preparations, and from a perch near the end of a Space Station truss acted as observer and communication relay station between Robinson and astronaut Andy Thomas aboard Discovery. Thomas was the onboard coach and monitor for Robinson and Noguchi throughout the 6-hour 1-minute spacewalk. Discovery Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence operated the Station's Canadarm2, which moved Robinson to and from the worksite. Today's spacewalk, the third of the mission, began at 3:48 a.m. CDT and concluded at 9:49 a.m.

Deputy Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale, in Wednesday’s afternoon briefing, said “The crew demonstrated consummate professionalism and coolness beyond belief. They [the gap fillers] came out just as we thought they would. It looked easy but was not, which is a tribute to the crew and the team on the ground that planned it, so we’re proud of that.”

Gap fillers like those Robinson removed today are thin, coated Nextel fabric. The protruding gap fillers were identified in photos taken by Station crewmembers using telephoto lenses as Discovery did a slow back flip about 600 feet below before docking.

During the spacewalk Noguchi and Robinson, helped by the Station's robotic arm, installed an external stowage platform outside the station that will be used to house spare parts. Noguchi also installed another Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE). Like its predecessors, MISSE 5 exposes samples of various materials to the harsh space environment for several months.

In other activities, Kelly worked with Mission Specialist Charlie Camarda on an inspection of the repair demonstration tiles in Discovery's cargo bay. Using the Orbiter Boom Sensor System, they looked at tiles brought up for an experimental repair by Robinson and Noguchi on the mission's first spacewalk Saturday.

Station crewmembers, Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips, continued to stow equipment and supplies on the Station and Shuttle. Discovery Commander Eileen Collins operated shuttle systems and supervised activities.

Hale also said the only part of Discovery’s heat shield not yet cleared for entry is a bulging thermal blanket below the Shuttle commander’s window. Managers will meet Thursday morning to review tests to help determine whether the blanket might pose a concern for entry.

20:28:23 - SPIKE - No comments

Got 'Em


"It Looks Like This Big Patient Is Cured."



7:56 a.m. Moments ago, astronaut Steve Robinson snared the 2nd piece of gap filler from the belly of the Shuttle Discovery while floating over the Southern coast of France after being guided into place by Shuttle Pilot Jim Kelly. After he removed the second protrusion, Robinson declared, "It looks like this big patient is cured."

Bingo Vegas.


Why Were These 2 Gap Fillers Removed?

To keep the Discovery aerodynamically clean in order to prevent excess heat build buildup during reentry. Using the diagram below you will see that the Boundary Layer is a very thin layer of laminar flow (smooth air flow) air flowing over the surface of the Discovery wing. This very thin layer also helps insulate the tile from the extreme heat.

If that layer is disturbed, like it would have been with the gap fillers stuck in place, the molecules of air no longer freely slip over the wing. In the case of the Shuttle, this disruption would create a plume of superheated air over the tile suface and cause the loss of the insulation effect.




05:00:21 - SPIKE - No comments

EVA 3 TO Fix Gap Fillers About 7:19 A.M. CDT


Removing the Gap Fillers: A Spacewalking First


A photo from the International Space Station shows the location of two protruding gap fillers on Discovery's underbelly, with closeups inset. NASA Photograph

Location of protruding gap fillers on Discovery Discovery astronaut Steve Robinson is set for a spacewalking first on Wednesday when he goes underneath Space Shuttle Discovery to work on its heat shield. His task: to ensure a safe re-entry by removing a pair of "gap fillers" protruding from Discovery's tiles.

The ceramic coated-fabric gap fillers are used to fill very small spaces and provide a cushion between the Shuttle's protective tiles. There are thousands of gap fillers on the bottom of each Shuttle. But on Discovery, two of those fillers are sticking out from between the tiles. This could potentially affect the aerodynamic flow during re-entry, causing turbulence and unwanted heating in a scenario known as "tripping the boundary layer." Engineering analysis has determined neither of the gap fillers that are sticking out is needed for landing.

Deputy Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale said he asked the experts if they had enough data "to be 100 percent confident the vehicle could fly safely during entry." Citing the "large uncertainty" about aerodynamics at the altitudes and speeds of a Shuttle re-entry, Hale said "in the end it came down to be a really simple decision ... the remedy is easy and we ought to go exercise that remedy."

"That remedy" is where Robinson comes in. Riding the International Space Station's robotic arm, he'll carefully move under the Shuttle and remove the gap fillers, using very simple techniques.

Spacewalker Steve Robinson will go under the Shuttle on the Station's robotic arm Image right: Astronaut Steve Robinson will use the Station's robot arm to get "underneath" the Shuttle and remove the gap fillers.For more details, see this message uplinked to the crew. Photo credit: NASA.

"There won't be any yanking going on," Robinson says. "It will be a gentle pull with my hand. If that doesn't work, I have some forceps. I will give it a slightly more than gentle pull. If that doesn't work, I saw it off."

During their training, Robinson and his fellow spacewalker Soichi Noguchi spent dozens of hours practicing techniques similar to what Robinson will use to remove the gap fillers, and engineers on the ground have been working on the specific procedures.

"It should be a simple task," says Cindy Begley, NASA's lead spacewalk official for the mission. "It could be just as easy as grabbing it with his fingers and pulling it out. And we hope that's all it's going to be."

Begley says the team is taking steps to prevent accidental damage, by taking some tools off of Robinson and putting his safety tethers behind him.


Engineers practice gap filler removal techniques Image left: Engineers on the ground practice removing a gap filler with forceps. Robinson will try to pull the material out by hand, but can also use forceps or cut the gap filler if necessary. NASA Photograph

Note:
On August 3, 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain on his first transatlantic voyage. Today, the Discovery crosses in about 15 minutes.

Today's Spacewalk to Include 'Delicate Task'

"This is going to be a very delicate task," Mission Specialist Steve Robinson said during a news conference Tuesday, "but ... a simple one."

Robinson was referring to a task that was added onto the spacewalk he and fellow Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi will perform today. Mission managers decided Monday to remove two gap fillers that are protruding from areas between heat-shielding tiles on the Shuttle's underside.

During the spacewalk, Robinson will venture under the Space Shuttle Discovery on the tip of the International Space Station's robotic arm, locate the protrusions and gently tug until they come out. If that does not work, Robinson will have tools to cut off the protrusions.


This image taken aboard Space Shuttle Discovery shows the modifications the crew has made to a hacksaw Steve Robinson will carry during a spacewalk planned for Wednesday. The hacksaw could be used if needed to cut off a thermal protection system gap filler that is protruding from the underside of Discovery. NASA Image

Other tasks for the spacewalk include the installation of an external stowage platform onto the Station. Today's excursion will be the third for Robinson and Noguchi. They are slated to begin the spacewalk at 4:14 a.m. EDT.

"Like most kinds of repairs," says Robinson, "it's conceptually very simple, but it has to be done very carefully."

The entire operation reflects NASA's renewed focus on safety. Thanks to new cameras, inspection tools and procedures, NASA is able to examine the Shuttle's health as never before. In the past, the problem likely would have gone undiscovered until landing. And even though Discovery could potentially land safely as-is, why not use the tools available to be sure?

Hale sums up the new mindset this way: "If we cannot prove that it's safe, then we don't want to go there."

Wednesday, August 3 (Flight Day 9) CDT:

12:09 a.m. Third spacewalk preparations begin
12:30 a.m. Flight director update
3:14 a.m. Spacewalk begins
3:39 a.m. Shuttle / ISS hatches open
7:04 a.m. Tile Gap Filler Removal
8:09 a.m. Shuttle / ISS hatches closed
9:14 a.m. Spacewalk ends
9:24 a.m. Shuttle / ISS hatches open
10 a.m. Mission status briefing (flight control team video replay follows)
12 p.m. Video File
2:09 p.m. Crew sleep begins
3 p.m. Flight day highlights
5 p.m. Post-MMT briefing
9 p.m. MMT briefing replay
10:09 p.m. Crew wakeup
12:39 p.m. ISS crew wakeup


NASA NEWS

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 – 11 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-16

STS-114 MCC Status Report #16

The Space Shuttle Discovery crew begins their ninth day in space with preparations for the third spacewalk of the mission. This extravehicular activity (EVA) was a preplanned activity for the mission, but now includes a new task -- repair of two protruding gap fillers between tiles on the bottom the Shuttle.

The crew began the day waking up at 10:09 p.m. CDT to "Where My Heart Will Take Me," the theme song from Star Trek: Enterprise. The song, composed by Dennis McCarthy, was selected for the crew as a surprise dedication from the Deputy Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale. The International Space Station Expedition 11 crew of Sergei Krikalev and John Phillips woke 30 minutes later.

Mission Specialists Steve Robinson and Soichi Noguchi are scheduled to begin their third spacewalk at 3:14 a.m. CDT as they exit out of the Space Shuttle airlock. The two will be assisted by Andy Thomas, serving as the intravehicular officer overseeing the spacewalk from inside, as well as Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialists Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda who will be supporting various robotic arm activities throughout the day.

The spacewalk is scheduled to last about 7 hours. The first task entails Kelly and Lawrence maneuvering the External Stowage Platform-2 (ESP-2), via the Station's robotic arm, which they pulled from Discovery's payload bay earlier today, onto the Station. As the ESP-2 reaches its final position, Robinson and Noguchi will guide the structure and secure it into place. With that task complete, Lawrence and Kelly will conduct a "walk off" maneuver of the Station robotic arm, by attaching the "free" end to the Mobile Base System and releasing the other end from the Destiny Laboratory module to where it will be needed as a platform for Robinson later in the EVA.

The two spacewalkers will move on to individual tasks, with Noguchi installing the Materials International Space Station Experiment-5 (MISSE-5), a materials experiment that will study the degradation of solar cell samples in the space environment. He'll then remove the Rotary Joint Motor Controller from the Space Station truss before proceeding to a support position to assist Robinson in his final tasks.

Meanwhile, Kelly will work with Camarda, using the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to inspect repair demonstration tiles inside the Shuttle's payload bay. Later, Camarda will also work with Krikalev and Phillips to continue stowing supplies and equipment inside Discovery and the Station. Discovery Commander Eileen Collins will monitor and supervise all the activities.

Robinson, now attached to the Station robotic arm, will attempt to repair two tile gap filler protrusions located on the underside of Discovery. He will first try to gently pull out the protruding material, and if need be, remove by trimming with a hacksaw.

Gap fillers are used in areas to restrict the flow of hot gas into the gaps between Thermal Protection System components. They consist of a layer of coated Nextel fabric and are normally about 0.020-inch thick. These protrusions were identified from photos taken during the rendezvous pitch maneuver conducted on flight day three, as Discovery approached the orbiting Space Station.

The crews are scheduled to go to sleep Wednesday about 2:09 p.m. CDT.


NASA NEWS

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 – 6 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-15

STS-114 MCC Status Report #15

Space Shuttle mission managers Tuesday cleared Discovery’s wing leading edge heat shield for re-entry as they methodically deal with concerns over the protruding tile gap fillers. The mission management team also discussed a “puffed out” insulating blanket outside the commander’s cockpit window and has decided it poses no risk of overheating during entry. Engineers will continue to analyze whether it could pose a debris problem if it came loose during aerodynamic flight.

Discovery’s astronauts worked much of today on preparations for Wednesday's gap filler repair spacewalk. Transfer of materials to and from the International Space Station continued with crewmembers of both spacecraft making good progress.

Spacewalkers Soichi Noguchi and Steve Robinson spent an hour this morning beginning about 2:40 a.m. CDT with Mission Specialists Andy Thomas and Wendy Lawrence, and Pilot Jim Kelly on a review of spacewalk procedures. Thomas, as the intravehicular crewmember, will coach and monitor the spacewalkers, while Lawrence and Kelly will operate the Station's Canadarm2.

That robotic arm will carry Robinson to the repair sites on the underside of the forward part of Discovery where he will either gently pull out the protruding gap fillers with his hand or with forceps, or remove the protrusions with a hacksaw.

After the procedure review, Lawrence and Kelly spent the subsequent 45 minutes in computer training for the arm tasks, using the Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics program, or DOUG. Meanwhile, the spacewalkers and Thomas worked on assembly of the hacksaw that would be used if other methods do not work.

About 7:40 a.m. Lawrence and Kelly, using Canadarm2, unberthed External Stowage Platform 2 from Discovery's cargo bay. Noguchi and Robinson installed the platform's attachment device on the mission's first spacewalk on Saturday, and the platform itself is to be installed on the attachment device during Wednesday's spacewalk.

After lunch on board, Noguchi, Robinson and Thomas worked on spacewalk tool configuration. Near the end of their work day, all nine crewmembers on board, including Discovery Commander Eileen Collins and Station crewmembers, Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips, did a spacewalk review.

The spacewalkers began a prebreathe of pure oxygen about 10:50 a.m., a little more than an hour before hatches linking Discovery and the Station were closed so the Shuttle could be depressurized to 10.2 psi. Both the prebreathe and the depressurization were aimed at reducing the nitrogen content of the spacewalkers' blood to reduce the possibility of nitrogen bubble formation in their bloodstreams during the spacewalk. Wednesday’s spacewalk is scheduled to begin at about 3:14 a.m. CDT.

Late in the crew day Tuesday, astronauts received a phone call from President George Bush. The President thanked the crew for taking risks for the sake of exploration and wished them well in the remainder of their mission.

Mission Control awakened the Discovery crew at 11:09 p.m. EDT Tuesday with the song "Where My Heart Will Take Me," the theme song from Star Trek: Enterprise by Dennis McCarthy.



The solid rocket booster recovery ship Freedom Star travels through Port Canaveral with a spent solid rocket booster (SRB) from the STS-114 launch on July 26 in tow. NASA/KSC Image

00:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

02 August

Hoschek Goes Nuts With Job Assignment


Doesn’t Want To Do ANY Work For New County Care Facility Contract

$32,000 Salary for Nothing – No Work, No Cooperation, No Professionalism


Sources at the Des Moines County Court House say that after the regular meeting of the Des Moines County Supervisors Tuesday, Supervisor Tim Hoschek pitched an absolute hissy fit when asked to prepare a Request For Proposal (RFP) for operation of the new care facility.

Hoschek raised the issue in front of several people including a reporter from the local advertiser. After Hoschek was asked to prepare the RFP, Hoschek became belligerent and yelled, “No, I’m not going to do it” several times even though it could potentially save the county taxpayers thousands of dollars.

What does this guy do to earn his money? Last week we reported he didn’t do anything to help. This week it’s the same thing. I suppose it's somebody else's fault. And you can bet the local advertiser won't report it since Hoschek was their endorsed candidate.

Hoschek has been at the trough so long you can’t tell him from the pigs at the Fair. Except the pigs are better looking.
20:03:12 - SPIKE - No comments

Are We Getting Our Money’s Worth From City Manager Bruce Slagle?


Could Similar or Better Management Be Gotten For Less Money?

On KCPS’s Big Show Tuesday, Fred said he thought we should pose that question to our readers. So there you go Fred. Let’s see what happens. We'll have Tommy get donuts for everybody if we get more than 10 responses.

19:47:26 - SPIKE - No comments

Steamboat Days Broken Neck


No one has provided any more information regarding the man that broke his neck during Burlington Steamboat Days. We have spoken to several people that have verified that something happened. We want to know more.


19:14:40 - SPIKE - No comments

Public Service Announcement


Daily News Will Post Between 3 and 10 PM

It is very hard for us to bring the usual daily news from BurlingtonDerailed and commingle it with news like the Discovery and its space mission. Like we said the other day, the people that we write about daily are neither heroes nor leaders and they don’t deserve to be in the same news column. Or, hidden (buried) in the NASA news to the point that you miss it.

So, until Discovery lands, BurlingtonDerailed.com will carry the local interest stories sometime between 3 and 10 pm daily. The rest of our time is reserved for the NASA family of professionals.

14:25:47 - SPIKE - No comments

Spike, Help! Lee County Needs You


Spike,
Have you ever thought about expanding to look at other local problems. The Hawkeye paper is covering problems here in Lee County. But they’re not doing a very good job of it. The reporter is always taking sides and not covering the issues I think should be told. And they forever repeat the story without any new information.

It looks like these people have something to hide since the Hawkeye paper editor decided to make it partisan politics. No one until him has ever said that before. Why doesn’t he just be a reporter and not tell us why we should think one way or another. He doesn’t know what is going on down here. But you can sure tell he likes the auditor. I think she is hiding something.

From what I read on your website I think the paper should be reporting on what is going on in Burlington city hall since it looks like the same thing is going on there. But I haven’t seen one editorial from this reporter about Burlington’s many, many problems. Why don’t they report that?
MG

Spike:
I read the editorial in Monday’s paper and most of the articles written by all of the local papers. You’re right. This paper never takes a stand on the recent Burlington issues. But now they jump into Lee County to tell you folks how you need to think and it suddenly becomes partisan politics. I guess they didn’t want the controversy to die when they could stir up another issue and drive it for another week or two and make better ad revenues.

We just can’t keep up with what we have to cover up here. But if you have factual information that you would like other Lee County residents to see, drop us an email. We’ll consider it. And like always, we don’t divulge our sources. And the Supreme Court ruling says we don’t have to.

But keep this thought in mind when you read articles loaded with errors or factually incomplete. There are 2 kinds of reporters -

Those that inform you are good reporters.
Those that try to influence you, well, we all know what bad is.


13:53:31 - SPIKE - No comments

Spacewalker



NASA Photo

STS-114 astronaut Soichi Noguchi waves from the Shuttle payload bay, backdropped by the Earth below. During the mission's second spacewalk, Noguchi and Discovery crewmate Steve Robinson replaced a failed gyroscope which keeps the International Space Station in the proper position in orbit.

Robinson will use the mission's third spacewalk on Wednesday to remove two gap fillers that are protruding from areas between heat-shielding tiles on Discovery's underbelly.
09:45:28 - SPIKE - No comments

Another View To Earth




Discovery photographed from the International Space Station. Looks like the coast of Southeast Asia.
NASA Photo

NASA TV Click Here

Great Spacewalk 2 Video Click here

NASA NEWS

Monday, August 1, 2005 – 11 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-14

STS-114 MCC Status Report #14

The Space Shuttle Discovery and International Space Station crews will continue transferring equipment and supplies between the two vehicles today. They will also review updated tasks for the third planned spacewalk of the mission.

Discovery’s crew was awakened at 10:09 p.m. CDT by the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain," by Harry McClintock for Mission Specialist Andy Thomas. The Space Station crew was awakened at 10:39 p.m. CDT by a tone onboard.

Mission managers decided to remove two gap fillers that are protruding from areas between heat-shielding tile on the Shuttle's underbelly. It is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished as an add-on task to Wednesday’s spacewalk.

During the spacewalk, Mission Specialist Steve Robinson will venture under the Space Shuttle on the tip of the Station's robotic arm, locate the protrusions and gently tug until they come out. If that does not work, Robinson will have tools to cut off the protrusions.

Robinson, fellow spacewalker Soichi Noguchi and spacewalk choreographer Andy Thomas will spend time Tuesday assembling a hack saw for the removal job and reviewing the new procedure.

All of the Shuttle and Station crewmembers will participate in a news conference at 4:59 a.m. CDT. Krikalev and Phillips will be interviewed by reporters at Mission Control Moscow at 5:45 a.m. CDT. It will be replayed with translation on NASA TV at 6:15 a.m. CDT.

At 6:39 a.m. CDT Discovery Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence will grapple the External Stowage Platform-2 (ESP-2) and unberth it from Discovery's payload bay. This is in preparation for the hardware’s installation at the beginning of Wednesday's spacewalk. Preparing the ESP-2 Tuesday provides the extra time for the tile gap filler task during the spacewalk.

Before the Shuttle and Station crews go to sleep, the hatch will be closed between the two vehicles and the Shuttle's cabin will be depressurized to 10.2 psi on the eve of the last spacewalk. The crews are scheduled to go to sleep about 2:09 p.m. CDT.

Tuesday, August 2 (Flight Day 8):

12:30 a.m. Flight director update
4:59a.m. Joint crew news conference (translated sections to be broadcast after the event)
5:45 a.m. Russian PAO event (translated version to be broadcast after the event)
6:15 a.m. Replay of Russian PAO event with translated sections
7:30 a.m. Replay of joint crew news conference with translated sections
10:30 a.m. Mission status briefing (flight control team video replay follows)
11:09 p.m. Shuttle / ISS hatches closed
12 p.m. Video File
2:09 p.m. Crew sleep begins
3 p.m. Flight day highlights
5 p.m. Post-MMT briefing

9 p.m. MMT briefing replay
10:09 p.m. Crew wakeup
10:39 a.m. ISS crew wakeup




NASA NEWS

Monday, August 1, 2005 – 7 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-13

STS-114 MCC Status Report #13

STS-114 mission managers Monday gave the go-ahead for astronauts to remove two protruding gap fillers in Discovery’s heat shield during a Wednesday space walk. Soichi Noguchi and Steve Robinson will attempt to simply pull the thin fabric fillers from between tiles in the forward area of the orbiter’s underside. If the pull method is unsuccessful, the two will have tools to cut the material flush with the surface.

Spacewalk experts presented a plan to mission managers in Monday’s Mission Management Team meeting. Space Shuttle Deputy Program Manager Wayne Hale, in a Monday afternoon briefing, said that with the level of uncertainty involved in flying a reentry with protruding gap fillers it was an easy decision to move ahead with a well-understood process for removing them.

Early Monday, Robinson and Noguchi replaced a 600-pound gyroscope on the International Space Station, leaving the orbiting laboratory with a complete functional set of four. Called control moment gyros, or CMGs, the 600-pound devices maintain the Station's orientation in space, the way it is pointed and which part faces the Earth as it orbits the planet.

The 7-hour, 14-minute spacewalk began at 3:42 a.m CDT. After leaving the Discovery airlock, Noguchi and Robinson made their way hand-over-hand to the Station's Z1 Truss, atop the Unity Node where the four CMGs are housed. There Noguchi, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, attached himself to a foot platform at the end of the Station's Canadarm2, operated by Discovery Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence.

Coached and monitored by Mission Specialist Andy Thomas on Discovery's aft flight deck, the spacewalkers removed CMG-1, which had failed in June 2002. Noguchi held it as the arm took him back to the rear of Discovery's cargo bay, where he and Robinson, who had moved back on his own, temporarily stowed it. They then took the new CMG from its cradle, and Noguchi held it while the arm moved him back to the Z1 Truss.

There he and Robinson installed it in the space vacated by the failed device. That completed, flight controllers began the hours-long process of checking out the new CMG-1 and spinning it up to its 6,600 rpm operating speed.

On the mission's first spacewalk on Saturday, Noguchi and Robinson had rerouted CMG-2's power supply. A faulty circuit breaker had interrupted that power supply in March. The two spacewalks leave the Station with four functioning CMG's. The station can hold its attitude on two, but more will be required as it grows.

Discovery Commander Eileen Collins and Mission Specialist Charlie Camarda, along with the Station's Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips, worked Monday on transferring cargo to and from the Station. The 3,768 pounds of up-bound cargo from the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello, which came to the Station in Discovery's cargo bay and then was attached to a docking port on the Unity Node, has been transferred to the Station. Work continues to stow it and to reload Raffaello with equipment and trash to be returned to Earth.
00:40:00 - SPIKE - No comments

01 August

A View To Earth




A camera on the International Space Station captured this image of the docked Space Shuttle Discovery's payload bay. There is a vacancy in the payload bay, as the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello temporarily has been docked with the orbital outpost's Unity Node in order to accommodate the transfer of a large amount of supplies. The Control Moment Gyro can be seen at the back left in its travel cradle. NASA Photo




In the Space Shuttle Discovery's airlock, Astronaut Steve Robinson, left, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Astronaut Soichi Noguchi prepare for the first of three STS-114 spacewalks. NASA Photo




Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev gathers packages that were delivered to the International Space Station by Space Shuttle Discovery. The packages containing supplies and equipment for the Station were carried to orbit inside the cargo carrier Raffaello. NASA Photo
09:31:45 - SPIKE - No comments

Noguchi, Robinson Replace Gyro During Second Spacewalk




Soichi Noguchi on Station robotic arm. Image above: Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi is guided into position by the Station's robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

STS-114 Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi and Steve Robinson wrapped up their second spacewalk of the mission at 11:56 a.m. EDT today. They replaced a Control Moment Gyro (CMG) in the International Space Station’s Z1 Truss. It is one of four CMGs that provide attitude control to the Station. Since they finished the replacement ahead of schedule, they also performed some get-ahead tasks for upcoming spacewalks.

The spacewalkers were assisted by Mission Specialist Andy Thomas, who coordinated the spacewalk's activities from inside. Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence operated the Station’s robot arm. The spacewalk began at 4:42 a.m., and it was the 60th conducted in support of ISS assembly and maintenance.

Noguchi and Robinson will venture outside of Space Shuttle Discovery’s airlock one more time on Wednesday. The major task is the installation of the External Stowage Platform-2 on to the Station.

Meanwhile, the other Space Shuttle Discovery and Station crewmembers are transferring cargo.
08:31:35 - SPIKE - No comments

2nd Space Walk This Morning To Replace Gyroscope




Image above: Mission Specialists Steve Robinson, left, and Soichi Noguchi are the STS-114 spacewalkers. Spacewalkers Soichi Noguchi and Steve Robinson have one objective for this excursion -- replacing a failed Control Moment Gyroscope on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

NASA NEWS

Sunday, July 31, 2005 – 11:15 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STATUS REPORT: STS-114-12

STS-114 MCC Status Report #12

Now spacewalk veterans, Astronauts Soichi Noguchi and Steve Robinson will step outside for the second of three planned spacewalks today at 3:14 a.m. CDT. The sole objective of the 6 ½-hour excursion is to replace a failed International Space Station attitude control gyroscope.

The pair will have about an hour of setup time after exiting Space Shuttle Discovery’s airlock and positioning themselves at the Station’s Z1 truss segment. Mission Control will shut down the failed Control Moment Gyroscope 1 (CMG1) about 4:09 a.m. CDT and then give a go for the spacewalkers to start removing it about 15 minutes later. Mission Specialist Andy Thomas will choreograph the activities from inside and relay information from Mission Control to the spacewalkers.

Noguchi will take the failed CMG to Discovery’s cargo bay while riding the Station’s robot arm. He will temporarily store it until the new gyro is removed and the old one can be placed in its carrier with Robinson’s help. Noguchi will then carry the new gyro at the end of the robot arm to the Z1 truss. Discovery Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence will operate Canadarm2 for the spacewalk.

After it is installed, Station flight controllers will power up and check out the new gyroscope about 8:14 a.m. CDT and start it up at 8:39 a.m. CDT. With CMG1 replaced, the full complement of four gyroscopes will be available for Station operations. CMG2 has operated well since the spacewalkers restored power to it in the first spacewalk Saturday.

Inside the orbiting complex, Station residents Sergei Krikalev and John Phillips and Discovery Commander Eileen Collins and Mission Specialist Charlie Camarda will continue transferring equipment and supplies between the two vehicles. Collins will focus on collecting byproduct water from Discovery’s power generation system for transfer to Station.

Discovery’s crew was awakened at 10:09 p.m. CDT by the song "Walk of Life," by Dire Straits for Robinson. The Space Station crew was awakened at 10:39 p.m. CDT by a tone onboard.

The crews of Discovery and the Space Station are scheduled to go to sleep about 2:09 p.m. CDT.






For NASA TV online click here and select either Akamai or Yahoo for your feed. If you need any of the free player software to view NASA TV links are provided on the left side of the page.



Monday, August 1 (Flight Day 7):

12:09 a.m. Second spacewalk preparations begin
12:30 a.m. Flight director update
3:14 a.m. Spacewalk begins
3:39 a.m. Shuttle / ISS hatches open; CMG 1 power is turned off
8:15 a.m. New CMG 1 checkout
8:30 a.m. New CMG 1 startup
8:54 a.m. Shuttle / ISS hatches closed
9:44 a.m. Spacewalk ends
9:54 a.m. Shuttle / ISS hatches open
10:30 a.m. Mission status briefing (flight control team video replay follows)
12 p.m. Video File
2:09 p.m. Crew sleep begins

3 p.m. Flight day highlights
5 p.m. Post-MMT briefing
10 p.m. MMT briefing replay
10:09 p.m. Crew wakeup
10:39 p.m. ISS crew wakeup

NASA FACT
The Space Shuttle goes from standing still on the launch pad to more than 17,000 miles per hour in just over eight minutes. That means the astronauts go 2,000 miles per hour faster every minute.




Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence and Pilot Jim Kelly prepare to take control of the Space Station's robotic arm to move the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module from Discovery's payload bay and attach it to the Station's Unity Node. NASA Photo


Discovery Cockpit

Here's a fisheye view of Discovery's cockpit as it would appear on the launch pad. The nose of the orbiter is at the top edge of the photo. You're looking at the floor. Pilot Jim Kelly sits in the right hand seat.


NASA PHOTO


02:39:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Nagging Problems With Tile


NASA is looking closely at several areas of tile filler that is used to fill the spaces between the tile on Discovery’s belly. Shown is one area aft of the nose landing gear door on the left side of Discovery. These photos illustrate the incredible technology used to study safety issues in minute detail.



NASA Photo


NASA Photo


NASA Photo


02:25:00 - SPIKE - No comments