Friday, November 26, 2010

"Why Me?" - Jim has seen it all!

Due to the Thanksgiving break and the fact that I am about to take my first real vacation next week, I am going to send this week's "Why Me?" out a littler earlier. Also, it is Jim's Birthday today - so, my little "Happy Birthday Jim" is right here. I am truly excited about this one because my friend Jim has seen and done some very interesting things. Jim and I occasionally talk and share our views. I quickly realized that Jim had a strong knowledge about our Sun and also knew a lot about the Space Shuttle program. So I enjoyed listening and learning from him and now I am excited to introduce him to you. Check out some of his pictures! They are just too cool. 

That's me under the white "bunny" suit! Chilly in there
that day I recall, but indeed a thrill of a lifetime seeing something
that landed on Mars some seven months later, and see it
move on another planet, Wow!
When you are not enjoying Social Media, what do you do as a profession?
Media. Since the 80’s in Miami, both print/electronic. Aviation News/Aerospace news publication, now defunct. Contributor to WPLG (ABC) Miami, space shuttle program. Consultant, freelance currently. Also heavily involved in NASA Outreach/informal EDU, for more than 25 years! Public, K-12, University-level, total, exceeds 100,000+…

The "Big Three", during the 20th anniversary at KSC 1989. I'll never forget that day there. They're dressed in suits and ties, temps that day were in the mid-90's, talk about hot!
 What has made space exploration such an interesting subject for you?
Always fascinated me since I was old enough to know what it was! One movie I seen that struck me, was Robinson Crusoe On Mars, that was it!

KSC Mars Pathfinder, Nov. 1996. Excellent detail of the "Sojourner" rover, first experimental rover to roam red planet!
In your opinion what are the 3 most amazing achievements/results of space exploration?
Growing up in the 60’s, I recall, seems as if everyone does who was old enough to remember, watching Apollo 11 on the Moon, I was in St.Louis. That would rank as number 1. Number 2, well, getting to meet and know the late Dr. Carl Sagan, and 3. Writing/reporting on the space shuttle program, and unmanned programs, including seeing Mars Pathfinder, and the Sojourner rover prior to leaving Earth and landing on Mars!

Myself, and former Astronaut Bob "Hoot" Gibson. Taken during a break in training. Was on mission STS-41B, which was the first check out of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). I interviewed astronaut Bruce McCandless II following the mission. Bob flew on five flights!

Is there a current mission (or missions) you follow regularly? If so, what mission(s)?
Actually all of them! My priority is of course the (heliophysics) aspect (Sun). I’ve also assisted in an art program (Sunworks) with Steele Hill, over at the Soho project, been very successful!
From the early 80's. WLRN TV, (PBS) Miami. Myself (right), and Don Webb (left) co-host of Something on Seventeen. Was a nightly, one hour "live" talk/variety program. We did space program updates on the show. No room for mistakes, in prime time!
Why are you friends of this Not-Every-Day-Run-Of-The-Mill rubber chicken?
It is good to have a mascot of a program, or a project! It creates a “connection” for people to follow!

Myself and STS-1 Astronaut Bob Crippen, taken during Space Congress on Cocoa Beach, Fl. A unique irony here, Crippen was selected to fly as commander of space shuttle mission STS-62A, which was to have launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif, but was canceled following the space shuttle Challener accident. Vendenberg never used for shuttle launches! STS-62A, would have been "Discovery"!
What is your advice to today's youth?
Follow your dream, stay in school, and don’t let adversity get the best of you! I know three young people who I used to work with, while they were students, one is in D.C. (Congress), the other is aboard a U.S. Navy Submarine in the Pacific, while the third is a U.S. Army Medic, been in Iraq, now in Colorado Springs, Co.

Follow Jim on Facebook:
Pic taken in late 2005 while on a school visit. Kristine Sigsbee, and Barbara Thompson (NASA/GSFC), selected it to appear on the cover of the United Nations' handbooklet for the International Heliophysical Year (IHY 2007-09). The booklet appropriately titled; Putting the "I" in IHY", the photo indeed fits the EDU theme, with Kara's "eye" at the telescope looking at the Sun