• Astronauts,  Cool Stuff,  Launches

    I Knew Chris Hadfield Before He was an Internet Sensation

    Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield returns home today from his 5-month stay on the International Space Station. But I knew him BEFORE he became such an internet sensation, with all his tweeting and videos and complete awesomeness during his Expedition 34/35. Although I had interviewed him several times before this picture was taken on February 24, 2011, this is the day I actually got to meet him in person. I was attending the launch of STS-133 at Kennedy Space Center, and had just come back inside the KSC press center when, there he was. It was such a thrill to meet him, but all I can say about this picture is…

  • Astronauts,  Cool Stuff,  Launches,  Nancy's news,  NASA,  Space Shuttle

    Catching Up

    I’ve received a few emails from people wondering why I haven’t written anything on my personal blog lately. And honestly, I was surprised to look and see the last post was a month ago. I usually use Saturday mornings for catching up with things I’ve been meaning to do — like post something on this blog — but this is the first Saturday in 4 weeks that I haven’t either been attending media events at Kennedy Space Center, hosting visitors here in Florida, or traveling hither and yon. More about the hither and yon part later. But since the initial goal of having this blog was to share my experiences…

  • Cool Stuff,  Launches,  Solar Dynamics Observatory

    SDO Soars and Roars to Space!

    Two rocket launches in one week! It doesn’t get any better than this! The launch of the Atlas V rocket with the Solar Dynamics Observatory on Feb. 11 was incredible! (Have I used that word before here?!) Above is an animation of the images I took of the launch, and below is a video taken by another journalist that was near where I was at the Kennedy Space Center press site. The Atlas launch was not as loud and engulfing as the shuttle launch, but still it is breathtaking. Where the shuttle guns it off the pad, Atlas rises slowly and gradually picks up velocity.

  • Launches,  Solar Dynamics Observatory

    Sunrise and SDO Rollout at Kennedy Space Center

    It was a beautiful (and early!) morning at Kennedy Space Center. I arrived at the press site at about 6:30 a.m. to watch the rollout of the Atlas V rocket which will bring the Solar Dynamics Observatory to orbit. Launch is, hopefully, tomorrow (Wed. Feb. 10) but the weather — and specifically winds — are going to be a factor. But this morning, it was gorgeous. Note the launchpad and countdown clock. See more, plus some rollout images below.

  • Cool Stuff,  Launches,  Space Shuttle

    Endeavour Lights Up the Night Sky

    The launch of space shuttle Endeavour early this morning was just absolutely amazing. I tried to express what the experience was like on my post on Universe Today, but quickly ran out of superlatives. People can tell you that a shuttle launch is going to be loud and that a night launch will be amazingly bright, but nothing can prepare you for what the experience is really like.

  • Launches

    Launch Night #2!

    It’s round 2 for the launch of space shuttle Endeavour for the STS-130 mission since last night’s launch was scrubbed. It’s now 2 a.m. at the press site at Kennedy Space Center, and things are not hopping quite as much as round 1 — several journalists only allowed one day for the launch and there seems to be less VIPS wandering around. We saw the crew walk out of crew quarters — again — and with the smaller group of journalists and photographers, they were able to offer some banter back and forth with us. Commander George Zamka said he thought today would be the day. Again, the concerns for…

  • Launches

    Launch Night!

    UPDATE: You’ve likely heard, but the launch was scrubbed just 9 minutes before scheduled liftoff due to low clouds. But enjoy the pictures of my all-nighter in the KSC press area. But here’s what I posted from the KSC press room at about 2:00 a.m.: We’re at T- 2 hours and counting. The press corp just returned from the crew walkout, which was very fun to see in person. Lots of cheering for the crew of STS-130. It’s a cold and windy night here at KSC — I’m seeing Twitter messages that people here to watch the launch are cold out there, but are having too much fun to care.…

  • Cool Stuff,  Launches,  Space Shuttle

    At a Quiet Kennedy Space Center

    Space Shuttle Endeavour on the launchpad enshrouded by the Rotating Service Structure. Image: Nancy Atkinson It was a little eerie and not quite what I was expecting. Nobody was there. I went to the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday for my first visit as a member of the media. Driving there, I was in space-nerd heaven, with butterflies in my stomach. As I came onto the property the thing that struck me most is that everything there is big. First, when you turn onto the NASA Causeway, you drive by the Astronaut Hall of Fame with an actual-size shuttle replica out front. It’s big. Then you drive, … and drive,…

  • Launches,  Space Shuttle

    Go For Launch

    NASA announced today that everything is go for launch for space shuttle Endeavour and the STS-130 mission.¬† I’m go for launch, too, and can’t wait to experience a liftoff live and in person.¬† I hope to share my adventures and take everyone along for the ride both here and on Universe Today. Launch is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 4:39 a.m. EST.