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  1/1: 2008 Rose Parade: JPL "50 Years" float

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Author Topic:   1/1: 2008 Rose Parade: JPL "50 Years" float
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 28434
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-28-2007 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA/JPL release
Countdown to Launch of Jet Propulsion Lab Rose Parade Float

Volunteers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., are helping with the finishing touches on the Lab's Rose Parade float saluting "50 Years of Space Exploration." A half-century ago, on Jan. 31, 1958, JPL's Explorer 1 became America's first satellite to reach Earth orbit, launching our nation into the space age.

"In January 2008 we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Explorer 1, the first American satellite, which was built at JPL. This is a historic milestone not only for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech and Pasadena, but for the country," said Charles Elachi, director of JPL. "I can think of nothing better than kicking off the celebration with a float in the ultimate New Year's pageant, the Rose Parade." JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

On the parade float, Explorer 1 fires off the launch pad at the center. In its wake arises a collection of historic JPL robotic explorers, as well as planetary ports of call. On one of the solar panels displays a floral "photographic" representation of the Explorer pioneers whose vision ignited the spark for U.S. space exploration -- William Pickering, then director of JPL, scientist James Van Allen and rocket designer Wernher von Braun. Ascending from Explorer's fiery plume are a Martian orbiter and a six-wheeled Mars Science Laboratory, which in 2010 will carry on the tradition of NASA/JPL robotic exploration. On the other edge of the plume, climbing beyond the garland of rings surrounding the planet Saturn is JPL's Voyager 1 - humanity's most distant emissary - which is now on its journey headed into interstellar space.

The 25-foot-tall float is jacketed by everything from black seaweed, eucalyptus leaves, split pea and ground walnut shells to daisies, roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, carnations, strawflower and cut everlasting.

The successful launch of Explorer 1 marked the beginning of a half-century of space exploration. By late 1958, JPL was transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration. JPL manages 19 spacecraft and six instruments that are currently exploring our home planet, our solar system and the larger universe. At Mars alone, NASA/JPL has four spacecraft explorers. In May 2008, that number will increase by one when the Phoenix lander attempts a dramatic touchdown near the Martian north pole. Other recent JPL missions include understanding the Earth's oceans and atmosphere (Jason), penetrating deep into a comet (Deep Impact), visiting asteroids (Dawn), exploring the rings of Saturn and its moons (Cassini), and peering into the distant edge of the universe (Spitzer Space Telescope and Galaxy Evolution Explorer).

Previously (2005): JPL/Caltech Float Set to Launch on Rose Parade Mission

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 28434
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-28-2007 06:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Caltech's JPL Store has shirts, hats and pins for their 2008 Rose Parade float.


Posts: 305
From: Cleveland, OH USA
Registered: Aug 2006

posted 12-30-2007 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space4u   Click Here to Email space4u     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And just a note to those watching the parade — you can catch it in High Definition on Discovery Channel HD. It is a great parade to watch in HD as the roses and other flowers are seen in wonderful detail.

Happy New Year to all of collectSPACE!


Posts: 1248
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 01-01-2008 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Saw the float; very impressive. The TV announcer found the proper description; "an out of this world tribute".

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