Astronaut Fred Haise to be honored in Biloxi for 50th anniversary of Apollo 13

The city of Biloxi is honoring retired NASA astronaut Fred Haise with a new monument on Saturday, April 11. Astronaut Haise is a Biloxi native and one of three astronauts sent to space for NASA’s Apollo 13 mission — a mission intended for the Moon that almost took the lives of NASA astronauts Fred Haise, James Lovell, and John Swigert. Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the historic mission.

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In 1982, The Jupiter Effect did not destroy the Earth as promised

On this day in 1982, a poorly predicted set of catastrophes failed to materialize — but only after eight years of book sales funding two young authors. The Wikipedia entry for The Jupiter Effect is rather brutal:

The Jupiter Effect is a 1974 book by John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann, in which the authors predicted that an alignment of the planets of the Solar System would create a number of catastrophes, including a great earthquake on the San Andreas Fault, on March 10, 1982.

Especially this part:

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Soviets secretly selected first cosmonauts 60 years ago today

From the space history time capsule, Soviets secretly selected their first cosmonauts 60 years ago.

The Soviet Union fielded 154 candidates from the Soviet Air Force, narrowing down the pool to 29 candidates after medical tests at the Central Military Scientific Aviation Hospital in Moscow, and selecting the top 20 candidates as cosmonauts.

Ultimately, 12 cosmonauts went on to complete space flights. Cosmonaut Boris Valentinovich Volynov, now 85, is the only surviving member of the group as of February 2020.

NASA highlights the contrast between the very public American routine versus the Soviet process:

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NASA Video: Apollo 13 views of the Moon in 4K

From NASA Goddard:

This video uses data gathered from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft to recreate some of the stunning views of the Moon that the Apollo 13 astronauts saw on their perilous journey around the farside in 1970.

These visualizations, in 4K resolution, depict many different views of the lunar surface, starting with earthset and sunrise and concluding with the time Apollo 13 reestablished radio contact with Mission Control.

Also depicted is the path of the free return trajectory around the Moon, and a continuous view of the Moon throughout that path. All views have been sped up for timing purposes — they are not shown in “real-time.”

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NYT: Julius Montgomery, Who Broke a Space-Age Race Barrier, Dies at 90

Julius Montgomery is another name history will remember for an extraordinary life lived. Katharine Q. Seelye recently profiled his accomplishments in The New York Times following his passing:

In 1956, he had become the first African-American who was not a janitor to be hired to work at the Cape Canaveral space facility in Florida. He was part of a team of technical professionals, known as “range rats,” who repaired the electronics in malfunctioning ballistic missiles and satellite equipment.

Two years later, his team wanted to start a school to keep the space workers up-to-date. Brevard Engineering College, as it was to be called (Cape Canaveral is in Brevard County), planned to lease classrooms at a public junior high school near the space center.

America’s ugly history with racism got in Montgomery’s way, however, when he applied to attend the college. He selflessly stepped aside so the college could open.

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Celebrating Katherine Johnson, NASA research mathematician, who died at 101

Katherine Johnson’s work dates back to NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) in 1953 before there was ever a NASA.

The NASA research mathematician’s life is memorialized in the 2016 film Hidden Figures which follows “a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.”

Johnson died today at the incredible age of 101, leaving behind a legacy that will inspire generations for centuries.

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