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Author Topic:   2008 Olympics and the space explorers
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-21-2008 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As there have been a few indications that one or more international space explorers may make appearances during the 2008 Olympics (serving in various capacities), this thread can act as a catchall for those sightings...

Soyuz TMA-11 spaceflight participant and first Malaysian in space Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor ran with the Olympic torch on top of Kuala Lumpur's Tower during the relay on Monday, April 21.

Earlier this month, Vostok 6 cosmonaut and first woman in space Valentina Tershkova ran with the torch when it came to St. Petersburg, Russia on April 5.

Asked to compare her role as a torchbearer with her experience in space, Tereshkova said the two are equally exciting, but then jokingly conceded, "It'll be slightly more relaxing for me to be on earth."

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 06-22-2008 01:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Among the potential candidates to be selected today (June 22) for the U.S. men's gymnastics team is Justin Spring, son of STS-61B mission specialist Woody Spring.

Washington Times: Spring makes his case for Games

Seemingly every step of the way the last 2 1/2 years, the setbacks would pile up for Justin Spring. A torn shoulder muscle that limited him two years ago. Reconstructive right knee surgery last summer. A severely sprained left ankle April 23. Agonizing back spasms that sent him to the emergency room two weeks ago.

It may all be worth it today.

Following a fine performance at the gymnastics trials Saturday at Wachovia Center, Spring could be named to his first Olympic team when the selection committee reveals its six-person roster this afternoon.

Spring, the 24-year old native of Burke in Fairfax County, made a convincing case for his inclusion with solid finishes in the parallel bars, the vault and the high bar plus a successful return to the floor exercise.

"For everything he's gone through, this was amazing," said his coach, Jon Valdez, his eyes welling. "We kept telling him, 'Something good is going to come your way,' and then, boom, something else would come up. To see him persevere and not give up, I'm so completely happy for him. He did everything he could and he has no regrets."

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-22-2008 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Justin Spring, son of STS-61B mission specialist Sherwood "Woody" Spring, was named to the U.S. men's gymnastics team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

According to his website, "Justin looks up to his father and one day would like to fly in space as well."

Philadelphia Inquirer: The Athlete and the Astronaut

"My father did two tours in Vietnam," Spring said yesterday afternoon. "He was a test pilot. He was an astronaut. He walked in space. When I would tell people about my father, they'd be like, What else can you make up about him?"

But Sherwood "Woody" Spring is real enough. He flew on the space shuttle Atlantis in 1985 and did two space walks, totaling nearly 12 hours outside the shuttle. It is no exaggeration to say he is a classic American archetype.

The Astronaut.

And yet Woody Spring might not be any prouder of his own accomplishments than he became yesterday afternoon in the hallway of a Center City hotel. That's when Justin Spring, 24, defied long odds to become another kind of archetype.

The Olympian.

"It's just different prides," said Woody Spring, tapping his chest as he sat in a Wachovia Center suite last night. "I'm not in the news anymore. I've had my turn. Now it's his turn."

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-28-2008 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua News: Chinese astronauts take part in Olympic torch relay

Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng, the crew of Shenzhou spacecraft 6, carried the Olympic flame Saturday in the torch relay at the "Dongfeng Space City" in northwest China's Gansu province.

The opening ceremony was staged on the movable launch complex within the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center as Fei ran down the first leg from the launch rack at 8:10 a.m. local time in the day's relay.

"It's another great honor for me along with the Shenzhou 6 flight. It's a great honor not just for me, but also for the whole family of cosmonauts and China's space program technology," said Fei.

For Nie, carrying the torch in the 15th place is also one of the best memories. "I am happy with this, even happier than my 41th birthday," said Nie, who celebrated his 41st birthday in space.

Wang Yongzhi, 76, the chief designer of China's manned spacecraft program, made an exhibition of the torch on the ninth floor of Umbilical Tower, part of the launch complex.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-05-2008 01:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
China Internet Information Center: Torch relay route in Beijing unveiled
The Olympic flame will travel through all 18 districts and the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Zone during the three-day torch relay in the capital, Beijing Evening News reports.

Eight hundred and forty-one torch bearers, including opening ceremony director Zhang Yimou and China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei, will pass the flame off along the 39-kilometer run, according to plans released Monday by Olympics organizers.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-08-2008 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE: Astronauts help usher in Beijing Olympics
The countdown to the lighting of the cauldron and the fireworks that followed its ignition were not the only rocket-related allusions that led to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. Space explorers from at least three nations took part in carrying the torch to the Beijing National Stadium in China while the son of a U.S. astronaut prepared to compete as one of the athletes.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-08-2008 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The opening ceremonies included this spacewalking astronaut:

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-11-2008 11:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team -- including Justin Spring, son of astronaut Woody Spring (STS-61B) -- won the bronze medal in the men's finals tonight! To quote NBC:
After the withdrawal of the Hamm brothers before the games began, it wasn't even clear if the U.S. men would qualify to the final round of team competition. But the U.S. came in fourth in the preliminary round and in a stunning fashion, were leading the gold medal favorites, China, half-way through the event. As expected, they lost ground to China during the fifth rotation on floor, but were able to go onto an unexpected bronze medal. An incredible accomplishment considering the adversity they faced leading into the Olympic Games.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-12-2008 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Guardian:
Would-be astronaut Florence finds silver lining after missing out on a life above the clouds
It may not beat life as an astronaut, but David Florence was yesterday compensated for missing out on his dream career when he won Britain's first silver medal of the Olympic games in the men's canoe slalom. He was swiftly followed on the roll of honour by Britain's three-day eventing team, who secured a team and an individual bronze.

Just three months ago Florence had even loftier ambitions. At the age of 25 he applied for a place on the European Space Agency's astronaut training programme but to the relief of his mother, Jill, he was not among the four people selected from the 8,400 applicants.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-13-2008 11:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Olympic swimmers shattering records in NASA tested suit

Above: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps helped develop the swimsuit that used materials tested at NASA Langley. Credit: Speedo

Swimmers from around the world are setting world and Olympic records in Beijing this month and most are doing it wearing a swimsuit made of fabric tested at NASA.

Among the Olympic gold medalists wearing Speedo's LZR Racer are Americans Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin.

Both had a hand in developing the skintight body suit.

So did aerospace engineer Steve Wilkinson from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

Wilkinson, who says he's not much of a swimmer himself, is watching this summer's Olympics with enthusiasm.

"I'm paying very close attention to the swimmers' times," said Wilkinson. "I'm amazed that so many athletes are wearing a fabric I tested in a laboratory in Hampton, Virginia."

Above: Engineer Steve Wilkinson received more than 60 fabrics from Speedo for testing in NASA Langley Research Center's 7- by 11-Inch Low Speed Tunnel. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Researcher Wilkinson has tested dozens of swimsuit fabrics in NASA Langley's 7- by 11-Inch Low Speed Wind Tunnel.

"This is a fundamental research facility," said Wilkinson. "What we look at are concepts for reducing drag on otherwise smooth surfaces. This is more directed toward fundamental physics -- the interactions between the flow and the surface."

The fabric that made it through Wilkinson's wind tunnel analysis has already caused a big splash since the LZR Racer swimsuit was introduced in February. Even before the Olympics swimmers wearing the skin-tight body suit set 48 world records.

But how did NASA get involved in what is probably the most talked-about swimsuit since the bikini? Warnaco Inc., the U.S. licensee of the Speedo swimwear brand, approached NASA Langley to test fabric samples, since NASA Langley has researched drag reduction for aircraft and even boats for decades.

"We evaluated the surface roughness effects of nearly 60 fabrics or patterns in one of our small low speed wind tunnels," said Wilkinson. "We were assessing which fabrics and weaves had the lowest drag. The tests have generally shown the smoother the fabric, the lower the drag."

Just like reducing drag helps planes fly more efficiently, reducing drag helps swimmers go faster. Studies indicate viscous drag or skin friction is almost one-third of the total restraining force on a swimmer. Wind tunnel tests measure the drag on the surface of the fabrics.

"The fabric comes in the form of fabric tubes, a small diameter fabric tube," Wilkinson added. "We pull that over our smooth flat model, which is an aluminum plate underneath. We prepare the edges so they're straight and square with no protruding corners or edges to interfere with the drag on the surface."

The plate goes into the small wind tunnel test section. With a flip of a switch, air flows over it. Wilkinson runs the tunnel through a number of wind speeds and, with the help of sensors, measures drag on the surface. He records the data and then sends it on to Speedo researchers.

Speedo's research and development team, Aqualab, takes the results and uses them to help create advanced "space-age" swimsuit designs.

Wilkinson says he never expected that he would test swimsuit fabric when he started at NASA 30 years ago. He adds he gets a lot of chuckles from his colleagues. As he's watching the Olympics, knowing that he played a small part in swimming history, Wilkinson may be having the last laugh.

Above: NASA Langley researcher Steve Wilkinson met Olympic swimming medalists Katie Hoff (left) and Natalie Coughlin (right) at the launch of Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit. Credit: NASA/Kathy Barnstorff

Tonyq
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posted 08-17-2008 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tonyq   Click Here to Email Tonyq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Korea's first astronaut Soyeon Yi is currently in Beijing as part of the SBS TV company's team.

SBS were the media partners for the Korean flight to ISS.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-19-2008 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Omega Watches release
Space pioneering legends meet the greatest Olympian

Above: General Thomas Stafford, who commanded four NASA space missions (left) and Captain Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, meet Olympic superstar Michael Phelps the day after their countryman won his eighth gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The meeting took place at the OMEGA Pavilion on the Olympic Green on August 18 2008. The three men are brand ambassadors for OMEGA, Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games and maker of the Speedmaster, the first wristwatch to have been worn on the moon.

Two of NASA's most celebrated astronauts, Captain Eugene Cernan and General Tom Stafford, were joined by explorer Wong How Man and OMEGA president Stephen Urquhart at the OMEGA Pavilion on the Olympic Green in Beijing on 18 August 2008. Also on hand was Swiss astronaut Claude Nicolier.

OMEGA president Urquhart welcomed the adventurers and reminded the audience and members of the media that the OMEGA Speedmaster has been a part of every NASA manned space mission and was the first watch to have been worn on the moon. Pointing out that pioneering spirit is a core OMEGA value, he said the company is proud of its association with explorers, both lunar and terrestrial.

Captain Cernan left his mark on history with three missions in space. He was the pilot of Gemini IX and the lunar module pilot of Apollo X. As the commander of Apollo XVII, he holds the distinction of having been the last man to leave his footprints on the lunar surface.

Asked by moderator Lynn Ding if he would like to return to the moon, Cernan answered wryly, "If you'll go with me." He suggested to the audience, "If you ever have a chance to go to the moon, take your camera!"

Cernan also talked about the time he was given an opportunity to drive OMEGA's Moon Rover on the Great Wall and said he was delighted to be back in a country which has so many happy associations for him.

General Stafford was a member of the crew on four NASA missions. He piloted Gemini VI during the first rendezvous in space and he teamed up with Cernan when he commanded Gemini IX and Apollo X. General Stafford logged his fourth space flight commanding the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a joint space flight culminating in the first meeting in space between American astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts.

Stafford said that he feels privileged to be one of the only people in the world ever to have gazed at Earth from the moon. Each of his four space missions left him with a profound sense of pride and accomplishment.

The astronauts shared the stage with Wong, who was described by TIME Magazine as "China's most accomplished living explorer". In June of this year, he found the source of the Yellow River (he had already identified the source of the Yangtze River). He pointed out that he and the astronauts share the kind of motivation which is driven by an innate curiosity about the world around (and above) them.

Swiss astronaut Nicolier described how OMEGA has always been associated with adventure and exploration - he is currently involved with the OMEGA-supported Solar Impulse project with its aim of circumnavigating the globe in an airplane powered only by the sun. "I'm here for three reasons," he said. "I love the city of Beijing. I am Swiss, something I share with OMEGA. And I am an astronaut," pointing out that space travellers are still part of a small, close fraternity.

Cernan and Stafford said that they hope to see some of the Olympic sporting events while they're in Beijing. When asked which sports were of particular interest, Gene Cernan drew loud applause from the audience when he said, "Ladies' beach volleyball!"

The OMEGA Pavilion, located on the Olympic Green close to the National ("Bird's Nest) Stadium and the Aquatic Centre (the "Water Cube") is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. throughout the Olympic Games.

All times are CT (US)

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