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  STS-119: Official Flight Kit (OFK)

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Author Topic:   STS-119: Official Flight Kit (OFK)
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-30-2009 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This thread will offer details and updates concerning the contents of the STS-119 Official Flight Kit (OFK), as well as other mementos flown aboard the space station assembly mission.

collectSPACE presented the full OFK manifest, including comments by the crew.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-30-2009 01:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Orbital Souvenirs Reflect Diversity

From a NASCAR driver’s flag to a purple stuffed duck, the collection of orbital mementoes chosen by the astronauts of space shuttle Discovery’s STS-119 mission highlight a diverse set of influences and interests.

The stuffed duck, one of several toy animals making the trip, represents the Japanese city of Saitama, which is the hometown of Koichi Wakata. He will fly to the International Space Station and stay as a new member of its three-person crew. The duck will return to Earth with Discovery.

STS-119 spacewalkers Richard Arnold and Joseph Acaba, both former teachers, will fly mementos, such as small flags, from some of the schools where they taught.

Among the assortment of flags being flown is a National Guard design from Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racing team. Earnhardt races in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series in the No. 88 car sponsored in part by the National Guard.

Pilot and first-time flier Tony Antonelli arranged for Discovery to carry a green flag for Andretti Green Racing, the team of IndyCar racer Danica Patrick. Antonelli is expected to serve as official starter for an IndyCar race after Discovery’s flight.

The shuttle also will carry an extra spacesuit of sorts, although it would be too small for any of the crew members. The astronauts are taking the child-size garment into orbit for the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. The suit is orange and resembles the pressure suits crew members wear during the climb toward space and the return to Earth.

All the items are expected to be displayed prominently after they are returned to their owners following the flight. They serve as inspirational objects for people who have never been into space or children who may set out on a scientific career in hopes of one day reaching orbit themselves.

There are at least eight items that are not expected to survive long enough to make the flight home, however. They are eight chocolate bars made by a company in Indiana that gives part of its profits to conservation groups protecting endangered species throughout the world. Steve Swanson, a mission specialist who will make several spacewalks during STS-119, asked for the dark chocolate bars to be packed aboard and eaten as dessert during one of the meals with the shuttle and space station crews.

Scores of objects are on display all over the world from previous space missions, and space shuttles typically carry a number of tokens that are handed out in recognition of employees and others.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-30-2009 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
International Year of Astronomy release
IYA2009 logo has been blasted off into space!

On 15 March, the Space Shuttle Discovery launched toward the International Space Station. On board was Japanese astronaut and IYA2009 supporter Koichi Wakata. He took with him a special Official Flight Kit prepared by the IYA2009 Japan Committee, proudly displaying the IYA2009 logo. The kit will be brought back to Earth, and displayed in Japan this autumn.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-30-2009 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
University of Idaho: The Argonaut
UI flag makes its way to space

The Discovery's STS-119 launched March 15 carrying not only astronauts, but a purple duck, chocolate bar and various flags, including the University of Idaho's.

While the chocolate bars and purple duck were other astronaut's mementos, astronaut Steve Swanson carried the UI flag in honor of his nephew, Greg Swanson, a student who is currently getting his master's degree in electrical engineering in Moscow.

The main mission of the STS-119 crew members was to install solar arrays to the International Space Station, which powers the station. Swanson's uncle is the lead extra-vehicular activities crew member, meaning he handles any activity that involves leaving the crew's orbital cabin. Swanson conducted three EVA's this mission.

"The mission was completed with the first spacewalk," Greg Swanson said. "Now the space station can support six people, the number that will be going next."

While the mission itself was complicated, getting UI's flag into space seemed fairly easy.

"My uncle approached me and asked me if I thought it was a good idea," Swanson said. "I said, 'do it.'"

Swanson said his uncle had taken different mementos into space previously such as his grandmother's ring. This time Swanson took something meaningful for not only him and his family, but an entire community.

"I think the university's flag going up in space will be fun for the community as a whole," said Angela Farnham-Banks, with the Idaho Space Grant Consortium program at UI.

The ISGC is NASA's Idaho program that funnels research and funds into science, technology, engineering and math. Swanson is also associated with this program and feels space exploration is losing popularity.

"It feels like space exploration has become a routine thing for people," Swanson said. "It really is a miracle every time we go into space. This is a good way for the community to remember that even though we are small, we can still get involved."

The flag will be returning to Earth with the astronauts Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The flag will then be presented to the dean of the College of Engineering and the director of NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium at the Engineering EXPO Dean's Reception on April 30 at the Best Western University Inn in Moscow.

"The flag will come with a certificate telling how long the flag was in space, how far it traveled and the crew members aboard the shuttle," Swanson said.

Swanson is also NASA's International Year of Astronomy Ambassador and has done internships with NASA.

"I travel to different schools and present how space travel and certain crafts are doing," Swanson said.

An even bigger project would include Swanson's work on a censor program for the new Orion Craft, the predecessor of the space shuttle. Plans for being an astronaut like his uncle are also in his future.

"I'm keeping the astronaut position open," Swanson said. "I'll probably pursue my doctorate anyone that goes on mission probably has a doctorate."

When asked what memento Swanson would take into space he laughed and said, "Taking the flag may be kind of redundant, but I'll probably take something from the University of Idaho."

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