Space

You can go to space too! For free. Or with a donation.

That was pretty darn exciting to see Virgin Galactic take Richard Branson on a trip to space.

Want to take that trip too? An estimated 600 people are ahead of you, having put down $250,000 for tickets over the years Virgin Galactic has been working out the technology. Many others have deposits banked for when more tickets go on sale.

However, those of us short on discretionary space travel cash but big on the idea of a trip to space have another shot at being shot into space.

Virgin Galactic and fundraising company Omaze are running sweepstakes with a grand prize of two seats on a future commercial spaceflight.

You can enter for free. But you get additional entires, plus a chance to help make spaceflight more accessible for everyone, by making a donation of as little as $2 to Space for Humanity.

Here’s what they’re promising:

You and your guest will board a Virgin Galactic spaceship where you’ll take off smoothly, just like an airplane, and watch as the colors outside your window change from blue to indigo to midnight black…

Hovering above Earth, nothing can prepare you for the breathtaking views of our bright planet and surrounding galaxy. Or hearing “you are now free to float about the cabin.” 

Cameras throughout the cabin will record every moment in HD. With 17 circular windows for viewing, every seat is a window seat. And there’s even a mirror to watch yourself floating through space. 

Following a smooth glide descent, you’ll return back to Earth safely, but forever transformed. You’re an astronaut now.

Sound like something you’d like to do someday?

Here’s the link to enter the Virgin Galactic sweepstake for a flight to space. Start thinking about who you’d take along.

(Photos above courtesy Virgin Galactic)

Stuck at The Airport: Mars edition

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is set to touch down on the Red Planet on Thursday, February 18th.

Earthlings are pretty darn excited.

At Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the famous LAX pylons are glowing red in anticipation of the landing.

Many other sites and landmarks around the world, including Cleveland’s historic Terminal Tower, are also glowing red in anticipation of the landing.

Krispy Kreme is celebrating the landing too with a special Mars doughnut. This chocolate cream-filled doughnut is dipped in caramel icing with a red planet swirl and sprinkled with chocolate cookie crumbs. The limited-edition doughnut is available in shops and online for one day only – Thursday, February 18.

And of course, you’ll want to tune in to watch NASA’s live coverage of the Perseverance Rover Landing, starting at 11:15 am PST and 2:15 EST.

Thinking about being an astronaut?

Tomorrow marks 50 years since humans first walked on the Moon. Everyone seems to be talking about astronauts, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, where we’ve been in space and where we may go next.

Stuck at the Airport is in Houston – Space City – this week to be part of the festivities. We’re meeting with former astronauts, visting the labs that train and prepare food for astronauts and getting a first look at the restored Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

If all this space talk has got you thinking about becoming an astronaut, consider taking this Astronaut Apitude quiz filled with questions based on the official NASA Astronaut Candidate requirements and real-life psychological tests. Let us know how you score.

Houston celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Stuck at the Airport is in Houston this week, joining in the celebrations and events to honor the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar expedition.

Here are some snaps from a special United Airlines flight to Houston on July 17 and some fun stuff from on the ground. Stay tuned for pics and stories throughout the week.

United Airlines Flight 355 from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) was dubbed “MissionSpaceCity.” Regular passengers arriving at the gate in EWR were met with this giant HOUSTON sign – and some suprises.
Two former astronauts were among the special guests on board this flight: Peggy Whitson, who holds records for most days in space (665) and Kevin Ford, who is now a pilot with United.
Each passenger received some freeze-dried ice-cream as well as a small backpack filled with fun space-themed goodies.
“Spacey Casey” welcomed passengers to Houston – Space City
This mural was in the gate arrival area in Houston, as a backdrop for a celebratory press conference.
Media (including Stuck at the Airport) are being hosted at the 5-star Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, which put together this all-chocolate welcome amenity and a special moon-themed cocktail.

Stay tuned for more…

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?