Space

Astronauts have that isolation live/work thing down

Last week was World Space Week and Viking TV (a pandemic project of Viking Cruises) offered a full week of space-themed content.

I tuned in for the “When Space is Home” panel discussion with journalist Lynn Sherr and four former astronauts.

On the list of topics: animals in space, new toilets in space, and food in space.

And tips the astronauts might have for us about dealing with isolation.

A highlighted passage from my notes includes this advice: “Spend more time choosing your interactions and make them count more.”

The panelists you’ll hear from in the video below include:

Dr. Anna Fisher – In 1984, she was the first mother in space.

 Colonel Jack Fischer – During a 2017 mission, Fischer logged 136 days in space with two spacewalks.

Dr. Richard Linnehan – The first veterinarian in space.

Barbara Morgan – She pioneered the “Teacher in Space” program and flew on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2007.

Celebrating the Apollo 11 Moon Landing anniversary

Straight to the Moon – well, Houston.

This week pretty much everyone is celebrating and commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 launch and the first manned mission to land on the Moon.

And today, July 17 -the same day Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Buzz Aldrin made their first TV transmission from Earth to space – United Airlines is hosting a special celebration flight from Newark Liberty International (EWR) airport to Houston’s Georg Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

Why fly to Houston now?

Houston is also known as “Space City”  because it is home to NASA’s Mission Control Center at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

StuckatTheAirport.com is going along on Flight 355. We’re promised space-themed entertainment, inflight gifts (yay!) and “special onboard guests who have first-hand experience in space.”

We think that means astronauts will on board…

Once we land in Houston, we’ll join Space Center Houston’s Apollo Anniversary Celebration and get to tour the Apollo Mission Control Center, among other activities.

We’ll also try to taste some of the special cocktails and menu items being served this month at two OTG restaurants at IAH that were inspired by meals the astronauts ate during the Apollo 11 mission.

The astronauts were served “meals” that look like this:

But the special “Eat Like an Astronaut” dishes on the menu at Ember Tavern and Tanglewood Grille in United Airlines’ Terminal C and E at IAH look far more appetizing:

 Stay tuned here and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for Apollo 11 celebration pictures along the way.

Apollo 11 adventures

Hotels lure Moon-landing anniversary fans with Tang-tinged cocktails, Moon Melt massages, moonlight yoga and more

July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing and the first time human beings walked on the moon.

Celebrations and special events are taking place around the country – and in a story for Travel & Leisure – I rounded up some hotels joining in with special packages and Moon-themed experiences.

Here are some of the lunar-lodging packages from that list.

In Washington D.C., where the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with special exhibits and events from July 16-20, the legendary Watergate Hotel is offering a $4,000 a night Glamping in the Moonlight package from July 16- 24.

The Watergate package includes a one-night stay on the Top of the Gate rooftop bar in a Glamping Globe outfitted by Terra Glamping, a nightcap with Tang cocktails, s’mores and a house-made moon pie; a moonlit yoga class; the opportunity to name a star; sunrise breakfast, souvenir map of the constellations on July 20, 1969; and access to a top-floor suite. (To book, call: (855) 290-6832)

Dark side of the Moon cocktail

In Seattle, the NASA Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, and other artifacts from the Smithsonian’s Institution’s Destination Moon exhibit are on view through September 2 at the Museum of Flight. To celebrate, guests at the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Seattle will receive space-themed amenities, key cards and Moon-themed space toys, while guests at the Hyatt Regency Seattle will be greeted by a 20-foot-tall inflatable astronaut in the lobby. Both hotels have Apollo-11 themed cocktails as well.

Space Coast check-in

Along Florida’s Space Coast there are a long list of special exhibits and events at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at Merritt Island; an Astronaut Walking Pub Crawl on July 12 in Cocoa Village and, on July 13, an Astronaut Parade in Cocoa Beach and a free concert at Riverside Park at Cocoa Village. To celebrate, guests booking the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing package at the Quality Inn & Suites Cocoa Beach July 11-14 will receive commemorative t-shirts.

No problems in Houston

This Lunar Roving Vehicle trainer prepared astronauts for traversing the lunar landscape. Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston.

In Houston, home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, a host of hotels are offering moon-themed packages as well.

The most over the top is being offered by the Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston. The two-night, three-day package costs $10,000 and includes a round-trip private helicopter ride between the hotel and Ellington Field; a private lunch and guided tour of the Johnson Space Center with an astronaut; $300 food and beverage credit at the hotel and Grounding Ritual treatments at the hotel’s spa.

The “Love You to the Moon & Back” package at the Hotel Derek, includes a moon-inspired welcome cocktail, specially created moon chocolates, personalized horoscope, breakfast in bed and complimentary valet parking (Available July 1-31, Rates start at $189 on weekends, $259 midweek). 

During July, Houston’s Hotel Alessandra is offering a weekend package that includes an overnight stay, freeze dried ice cream, a NASA Archives coffee table book plus $50 food and beverage credit in the space-shuttle inspired Lucienne restaurant or chic Bardot lounge. (Rates start at $434).

At the space-themed Marriott Marquis Houston, July’s Mission to the Moon package includes a Moon Melt Massage and a $50 resort credit, which you might use towards one of the special “Over the Moon” cocktails. (Rates start at $454).

The Visit Houston website lists lots more Space City Month events and hotel packages as well tips finding cosmic cocktails like the Space City Sour at the Bayou & Bottle bar the Four Seasons Hotel – Houston that features a far out image of a man on the moon etched on the surface of the cocktail.

Fresh baked cookies – in space?

If you are going to travel in space, wouldn’t it be great to have fresh baked cookies ?

Fresh baked cookies – in space

You know that chocolate chip cookie the desk clerk hands you when you check in at a DoubleTree by Hilton property?

It’s a nice reward for making it through a long day of traveling. And soon – perhaps by October – astronauts heading to the International Space Station (ISS) will be rewarded with fresh baked cookies as well.

Plans are in place to launch Doubletree cookie dough into space as part of a payload heading for the International Space Station. The dough will then baked on route inside a special prototype oven created by Zero G Kitchen, a company determined to create kitchen appliances for use in space.

Why cookies? Well, it seems scientists were looking for way to make space more welcoming and realized Doubletree’s cookies are something that already connotes ‘welcome’ to millions of travelers here on the ground.

Zero G Kitchen and NanoRacks, a company that provides commercial access to space, have worked up a cooking technology that adheres to NASA safety standards. The test oven is fully built, it has passed all three phases of the rigorous NASA safety review and has been handed over to NASA for launch.

Transportation for the cookies and the test oven will be aboard one of cargo flights that regularly supply the International Space Station, either on a SpaceX Dragon or a Northrop Grumman Cygnus.

Zero G Kitchen chefs aren’t completely sure what temperature the dough will need to be heated to, and for how long, once it’s in space. But the chefs say they’ll be in contact with the astronauts throughout the process for feedback on baking time and temperature,

No official launch date has been set yet, but the team is working with NASA to confirm the exact ISS payload it will be a part of – possibly in October.

Sounds right that chocolate chip cookies should be the first things baked space. Once they have the technology down, though, what should they cook next?

See Neil Armstrong’s space suit at the ballpark

At the U.S. Naval Air Material Center in Philadelphia, a player swings a baseball bat in a B.F. Goodrich Mark IV spacesuit. Courtesy Smithsonian Institution

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum has launched “Apollo at the Park,” a project that will place 15 replica statues of Neil Armstrong’s iconic Apollo 11 spacesuit in major league ballparks across country.

National Park in Washington, D.C. got its statue this week.

Here are the rest of the team parks where statues will appear this summer at part of Apollo at the Park.

  • Atlanta Braves
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Houston Astros
  • Minnesota Twins
  • New York Yankees
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Tampa Bay Rays

What’s the connection between space and baseball and that photo above? According to the Smithsonian:

In the late 1950s, workers at the U.S. Naval Air Material Center in Philadelphia took to a makeshift field in some interesting uniforms — B.F. Goodrich Mark IV spacesuits. The game was staged as a flexibility demonstration for the spacesuit.  The final score of the baseball game is unknown, but the Mark IV would evolve to become the original Project Mercury spacesuit, a definite home run!

And for stats fans, the National Air & Space Museum offer this:

*A ballpark stadium seat is roughly the same size at the Apollo 11 seat that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sat in for three days on their journey to the moon.

*The Apollo 11 landing site, Tranquility Base, and the lunar area that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored is roughly the size of a baseball diamond.