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Author Topic:   Kennedy Space Center press site countdown clock
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 10-01-2014 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA's iconic countdown clock ticks down days to replacement

The countdown is now underway for the removal and replacement of the historic launch countdown clock at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The large digital clock, which has stood for more than four decades outside the center's press site, ticking down the hours, minutes and seconds remaining to the next launch, is being replaced with a more capable, modern display like the screens used in ballparks or in New York City's Times Square.

"We are looking at [installing] a bigger screen that will look more modern," said Lisa Malone, director of public affairs at Kennedy Space Center. "It will be more flexible, so we'll be able to show the countdown, as well as have additional room to show NASA TV programming, too."

Ken Havekotte
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From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 10-01-2014 06:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hate to see the countdown clock go!

It's like an old buddy of mine as there were so many shuttle launches, including some of the later Apollos, that I would "hang out with" while covering liftoffs only a few feet away from the large digital clock and nearby flag pole. Just hate to see her go...

GACspaceguy
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From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 10-01-2014 07:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I trust it will be moved to a place where it can be displayed.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-01-2014 07:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the article:
...NASA's plan as of now is to transfer it to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. There, it will eventually be placed on public display.

Greggy_D
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posted 10-01-2014 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Modern isn't always the best.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 10-01-2014 08:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As also noted in the article:
The decision now to replace the countdown clock was not driven by aesthetics or capability alone...

"The clock is made of parts that are no longer being made and so it is harder and harder to keep it running," Malone told collectSPACE.

mode1charlie
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From: Honolulu, HI, USA
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posted 10-01-2014 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure the old one will find a suitable place of honor. Resistance to the new, however, is something I don't quite understand...

GACspaceguy
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From: Guyton, GA
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posted 10-02-2014 04:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On display as part of a photo op would be great.

Cozmosis22
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From: Texas * Earth
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posted 10-02-2014 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps they should also take down that old flagpole as it is so 20th Century; and besides, "it might offend someone."

13 July 1995

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-02-2014 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The difference is that the flag pole still works; the countdown clock does not (or is near failing, with replacement parts no longer available).

onesmallstep
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From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 10-02-2014 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another end of an era. I wonder if they replaced/will replace the old press site bleachers located not so far from the clock? For my first shuttle launch, STS-9, I sat there and soaked in the view and wondered about the many reporters who must have seen launches dating back to Apollo.

I think they should place the clock in a nice setting, with perhaps flags honoring the Apollo, Skylab, ASTP and Shuttle programs in the background. Maybe they can retrofit it with LED lights to display the countdown to the next unmanned (and later manned) rocket launch?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 10-02-2014 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The press site bleachers were removed in 2005 as a direct result of the 2004 hurricane season, when portions of the grandstand awning broke off and damaged the roof of the NASA News Center.

Since then, a much smaller, mobile set of bleachers were added to the site.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 10-02-2014 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mode1charlie:
Resistance to the new, however, is something I don't quite understand...
I don't see it as resistance to a new clock more so than being sad at the removal of an icon of launches.

So many other icons of the program have been turned into scrap, I'm glad to hear this one won't be.

Rick Mulheirn
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From: England
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posted 10-02-2014 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On close inspection, the countdown clock is pretty dated and "Ann Twacky". While it may be an iconic symbol of manned spaceflight the impracticalities of maintaining it are not difficult to see.

pupnik
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From: Maryland
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posted 10-02-2014 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pupnik     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It'd be nice if both of them could be in place and counting for EFT-1, a sort of handover from one generation to the next.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 10-02-2014 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Man, I love that idea... Hopefully they could wire it up to the real countdown clock so it could count down from the visitor center!

sev8n
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From: Dallas TX USA
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posted 10-06-2014 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We can put a man on the moon but we can't fix a clock...

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 10-06-2014 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sev8n:
We can put a man on the moon but we can't fix a clock...
Well, to be fair, we can no longer put a man on the moon either.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-20-2014 05:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo-era countdown clock was turned off for the last time on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 19) in preparation for its removal and relocation to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

NASA is still working toward having the new clock in place for the Orion EFT-1 launch on Dec. 4.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
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posted 11-20-2014 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Drove past it a few times when I was at KSC last month. So sad to know it'll be gone, but I'm glad NASA is allowing it to be preserved. After seeing what the visitor center has done with the orbiter Atlantis, I'm sure they'll make a great display out of this clock.

Cozmosis22
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From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 11-21-2014 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How many "light bulbs" were required to keep that huge old clock operational?

(349 by my count.)

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-24-2014 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kennedy Space Center posted this photo and update on Facebook:
Today at Kennedy, workers take apart and remove the historical countdown clock in preparation for the new display that will take its place.

mikej
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From: Germantown, WI USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 11-26-2014 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cozmosis22:
How many "light bulbs" were required to keep that huge old clock operational?
336. From 2nd-most watched clock in the world is retired:
After London's Big Ben, NASA says its Kennedy Space Center countdown clock was the world's most watched. Not anymore: It was taken down yesterday, WESH reports.

The clock, with 336 40-watt light bulbs, has been around since November 1969, when it ticked away the seconds until the launch of Apollo 12.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-26-2014 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
336 for the digits, plus 9 for the +/- sign and 4 for the pair of colons, according to the November 2014 issue of Spaceport Magazine.

Cozmosis22
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Posts: 444
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 11-26-2014 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Farewell big bluey and good luck with your new home. Remember standing up close behind it and hearing the slow clank... clank... clank of the seconds going by.

All times are CT (US)

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