Welcome to All Things Spacey
I am proud of NASA and love it dearly. Any opinions expressed are my own and do not represent any other person or organization. I want this page to inform visitors about what's happening with space exploration and the integral part NASA plays, as a leader of this great frontier.
Where I Want to Be
Where We Are and Where We Are Going
On July 21, 2011 at 4:59 a.m. on runway three at the Kennedy Space Center the Space Shuttle Atlantis came into port for the last time. The image at the top of the page is the Space Shuttle Discovery. She is the icon of the Shuttle Program, flying more times than any other shuttle and responsible for some of the most historic missions of the Shuttle Program. She resides now at the Smithsonian in Virginia. I went to marvel at her during my time interning at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
While you can probably tell I have a lot of fond memories of the Space Shuttle, she never did make good on some of the promises that were made in the early years of the program. Politics, policy, engineering and funding played a big role in this. The Shuttle era took so long for the program to do everything we needed to get done. In the end I believe she was a success. The shuttles were and are beautiful machines that gave us 30 years of wonder, the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Space Telescope.
A few years before NASA started to fly the shuttle and while the program was operational NASA sent many probes to the planets. Some of the more notable missions were the Voyager missions to the outer planets, the Hubble Telescope and the landing of Pathfinder on Mars. These missions and many others were the vanguard for the new probes to be launched in the coming years. They also gave us the knowledge to start seriously thinking about human missions to Mars. A mission to Mars has been a thing long discussed since the days of Apollo, but an idea so fragile you have to whisper it, until now. On the human side of things the ISS, now fully equipped with over 500 experiments and operational with six crew members on board has given humanity new knowledge. This expertise and new information also has helped give new life to the fabled human mission to Mars.
On the robotic front NASA is preparing for Osirus REx, an asteroid retrieval mission, the 2020 Mars Rover, Mars Sample Return mission, the Europa mission, and the James Webb Space Telescope. Then there is the plethora of Heliophysics missions and Earth Science missions which are being planned for the near future. All of this in one way or another benefit us on Earth and prepares NASA for the human mission to Mars.
For the human effort itself, NASA is developing the Orion crew vehicle to ferry Astronauts to space and dock with an interplanetary space craft. This interplanetary space craft will be lifted into space by the most powerful rocket ever built, the SLS. It will go through a few phases of development in space. The first to be constructed will be the lunar orbital and asteroid configuration versions. Then the deep space configuration will be developed. This second form of the space craft will go far out of cis-lunar space, then return home to Earth or lunar orbit, at which point the Orion will carry the crew back through the Earth's atmosphere. This is where we are now working on the tools and methods to travel to Mars. The final plan for Mars orbits and landings will come out of these first missions into deep space.