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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teachers' Night Out

Teachers' Night Out at the Cosmosphere is set for November 12. It's free. Contact laurieg@cosmo.org to reserve your spot. Sponsored by Kansas Gas Service, a division of ONEOK.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trivia Contest - Lunar Rovers

Our email newsletter trivia question was:

On which missions were lunar rovers used?
Answer: Apollo 15, 16 and 17

The first correct answer came from Betsy C. Ross.

If you'd like to play future trivia games, you can
sign up for the email newsletter and have a chance to win prizes, too.

Congratulations, Betsy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Buz Carpenter Back at the Cosmosphere by Popular Demand

Former SR-71 pilot "Buz" Carpenter will be making a return visit to the Cosmosphere by popular demand on November 6. Carpenter flew the Blackbird now housed at the Cosmosphere and will speak about the plane and his experiences piloting it. He will speak November 6 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. It is free and open to the public. He will sign autographs following the presentations.

Carpenter accrued 777 hours flying SR-71 planes, including 961, which resides at the Cosmosphere. He flew Blackbirds as an aircraft commander and later as an instructor pilot, with over 60 operational missions. He also flew in the C-141, RF-4C, and T-38 planes, flying 150 combat hours in Vietnam. The Cosmosphere also has a T-38 on display.

Carpenter worked in the Pentagon and served as Wing commander at Ramstein Air Base in German during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He retired as a Colonel after serving as the 2nd Air Force Vice Commander, responsible for all the USAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance flying assets. He is currently a docent for the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

Only 32 Blackbirds were ever made, and they were in service from 1964-1998. Despite over 4,000 attempts to shoot them down, none of the planes were lost due to enemy fire. However, 12 of them were destroyed in accidents. The plane was designed to be one of the first planes not detectable by radar. Unfortunately, radar technology was advancing at a rate that outpaced that particular design feature.

The great defensive ability of the plane was its high speed and altitude. Standard evasive action was just to accelerate, which made it almost invulnerable to the attack technologies of the time. The top speed of the plane was mach 3.3 (2,200 miles/hour or 26 miles/minute). In 1990, during a speed test, an SR-71 flew from LA to Dulles Airport in 64 minutes. They flew faster than a bullet from a standard 30.06 hunting rifle.

The SR-71 was American's first "stealth" plane, and was the last one designed with a slide rule. At cruising speeds, the aircraft skin reached average temperatures of about 600F. This caused the aircraft to grow 3-4 inches in length and 1-2 inches in width. The engine area was 3200F, with the coolest parts of the plane being about 450F. The 2.5 inch thick laminated quartz glass pilot window was 620F.

Pilots wore pressure suits derived from the Gemini designs through the mid 70s. The replacement pressure suit in the late 70s served as the initial Space Shuttle suits for test flights.

The Blackbird generally leveled off around 75,000 feet, and as fuel burned off would climb up around 82-85,000 feet. At 80,000 feet, you can see the curvature of the Earth about 500 miles in all directions.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rocketober-Fest at Cosmosphere October 23

Rocketober-Fest at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, October 23, is an afternoon of fun for the entire family. It's from 1-4 p.m.

Activities will include making buttons and solar system bracelets, experiencing the 4-G simulator and watching weird science demos. Kids will also be able to launch their own air rockets and enjoy liquid oxygen ice cream, as well as other activities.

Come in your space or alien-themed costume and enter the costume contest. Downtown Hutchinson and Walmart are providing gift cards for the winners. Register for the contest by 2 that day.

Some items require a Rocketober-Fest ticket, and some are free and open to the public.

Free Science Demonstrations during the day

Ticket Prices are as follows:

Red tickets - get 7 tickets for $1
each of the following activities require one ticket
solar system bracelet
temporary tattoo
liquid oxygen ice cream
air rockets

White tickets cost $2
One white ticket required to get your photo taken in a space suit

Blue tickets cost $4
One blue ticket is required to experience the 4-G simulator

Tickets will be available at the door.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Coffee at the Cosmo October 21 - Man on the Moon on the Move: Lunar Rovers

Coffee at the Cosmo on Thursday, October 21, is entitled, “Man on the Moon on the Move: Lunar Rovers.” It is at 9 a.m. at the Cosmosphere and is free and open to the public.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld joked, “Only a man would go 240,000 miles and take a car to drive around some more.” While he thought it was to try and impress women, come to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center and hear the real reasons we took a “car” to the moon, learn how it operated, and as always, see fascinating artifacts directly related to the Lunar Rover.

Coffee at the Cosmo is an ongoing series of free presentations at the Cosmosphere. It’s the third Thursday of every month at 9 a.m. and is always free. Enjoy coffee and pastries, meet new friends, and learn something new.

Upcoming Topics Include:
November 18, 2010 “To Boldly Go Where No Product Has Gone Before: Brand Names in Space”
December 16, 2010 “Barbie Loves Buzz: Space Toys”
January 20, 2011 “The Sacrifice of Exploration: Tragedy in Space Flight”

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing patrons' knowledge of space exploration. Educating people from around the globe, the Cosmosphere boasts the Hall of Space museum, one of the most significant collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world; the Justice Planetarium, a dome-shaped classroom where attendees learn about astronomy; Dr. Goddard's Lab, a live demonstration of early rocket technology; the Carey IMAX® Dome Theater, one of the first ones built in the world; and summer astronaut training camps. For more information visit cosmo.org.