ROAD TRIP #2:
New Hampshire's Space Science
& Aerospace Hot Spots
The Spatial Information Technology degree options at White Mountain Community College include concentrations in Environmental Science and Geographic Information Systems. They offer a two-year associate degree and a one-year GIS certificate geared towards recent four-year graduates who wish to acquire technical expertise in GIS or working professionals who could benefit from this specialized training.
Visit the campus of White Mountain Community College in Berlin and learn more about their Spatial Information Technology programs and facilities.
2. Canaan - The Father of GPS and Pioneer of Satellite Telemetry
(Source: U.S. Naval Research Lab)
Canaan, NH, resident Roger L. Easton is recognized for his pioneering achievements in spacecraft tracking, timing and navigation technology (TIMATION). These achievements led to the development of critical enabling technologies of the NAVSTAR-Global Positioning System (GPS).
Beginning in 1943 as a research physicist, Easton worked on the development of radar beacons and blind landing systems. He collaborated with electrical engineer Milton Rosen in developing the Vanguard 1 satellite that was launched into on March 17, 1958. Later, to provide a means for determining the space satellite's orbit, Easton and his colleagues proposed, designed and built the first satellite tracking system. It was called MINITRACK.
Under his leadership, the Naval Space Surveillance System (NAVSPASUR) became the world's first system to detect and track all types of Earth-orbiting objects, thus contributing to America's national security during the Cold War. He also invented a navigation system using satellites and passive ranging techniques and the time navigation and navigation technology satellites that formed the technological basis for modern GPS.
Roger Easton was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President George W. Bush in 2005. This is the nation’s highest honor for technology, awarded to individuals who embody the spirit of American innovation and who have advanced the Nation’s global competitiveness. More recently he was inducted in the Inventors Hall of Fame. In 1980 he retired to Canaan, New Hampshire.
3. Concord – Discovery Center - A Tribute to Astronauts
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center pays tribute to two famous New Hampshire space pioneers - Christa McAuliffe, first teacher in space, and Alan Shepard, America's first astronaut. The science center is a place to explore space science, astronomy and aviation-related activities. Indoor hands-on exhibits include a large-scale model of a space shuttle with an external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, a virtual expedition to Mars, a look at Earth from beyond, comparing it to planets and moons in our solar system, and creative building with robotics. The Discovery Center is open 7 days a week, 10 AM to 5 PM.
4. Concord – The First Teacher in Space
Christa McAuliffe was a social studies teacher at Concord High School, and one of seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. In 1985, McAuliffe was selected from more than 11,000 applicants to participate in the NASA Teacher in Space Project, about to become the first teacher in space.
As a member of mission STS-51-L, she was planning to conduct experiments and teach two lessons from Space Shuttle Challenger. On January 28, 1986, the spacecraft disintegrated 73 seconds after launch. Upon her death, schools and scholarships were named in her honor, and in 2004 she was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Her influence continues to touch the lives of school children and adults. The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, which opened in 1990 in Concord, carries on her vision of educating students of all ages about astronomy and space science: "I touch the future, I teach."
Read the tribute to Christa McAuliffe’s life on her gravesite marker in Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord. This sight epitomizes her love for the outdoors, looking out over the fields and forests of the Merrimack River Valley and her home city of Concord. Can you still see the pinnacle of the Planetarium named in her honor from her gravesite?
5. Weare – Students Build a Scientific Payload
(Source: Concord Monitor)
Eight students are part of a nationally recognized rocketry team run by Mark Kibler, a Dunbarton resident and science teacher at Weare Middle School. Stanford University gave his team a $2,500 grant to build a scientific payload that was to be loaded into a 9½-foot rocket in Nevada's Black Rock Desert in September 2009.
The Air Sampling Probe, or ASP, was designed to fly thousands of feet in the air, then gently float to the ground via parachute, collecting data such as greenhouse gas concentration, humidity and temperature along the way.
The weeklong series of launches was to be held in the Black Rock Desert, 100 miles north of Reno. Black Rock is billed as the flattest piece of land on earth. "When you finally launch it, you’re pretty sure it's going to work, but you have to keep your fingers crossed. There's always that factor of what if; what if this happens or what if something goes wrong. Things happen that you could never have predicted." Perhaps the parachute will tangle in the fins. Or maybe the ejection charge, which separates the payload from the rocket's booster, will malfunction commented Kibler.
The desert is hot, the wind potentially fierce. Team Kibler decided what size engine to use, based on factors such as available funding and payload weight. Altitude had yet to be determined. The crater left behind in the sand would be big, maybe 4 feet across.
Did the launch take place? Do some research to find out what happened to this scientific payload.
6. Durham - Sixty- years of Space Science Research
UNH has been involved in instrument design and data analysis for space research and missions since 1952 with the commissioning of a neutron monitor on the top of Mt. Washington.
In 1961, Explorer 12 was the first in a series of four satellites designed specifically to study the behavior of energetic particles near the Earth. The satellites carried instruments collecting data on the solar wind, the interplanetary field, trapped radiation, and cosmic rays. The octagonal spacecraft carried six experiments contributed by the University of New Hampshire, the Goddard Space Flight Center, the NASA Ames Research Center and Iowa State University. Power was supplied by four solar panels. The satellite was placed into a highly elliptical orbit that ranged from 170 to 50,000 miles and transmitted scientific data during its lifetime of 112 days. A model of the Explorer 12 spacecraft is on display in the Space Science exhibition station at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Visit Morse Hall on the UNH campus and check out the models of a few of the UNH designed instruments for space missions.
7. Durham - Space Grant
The University of New Hampshire is the lead institution for the New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium (NHSGC). NHSGC brings together New Hampshire's educational and scientific communities to foster public interest in science education, scholarship, and research. Funded by NASA, New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium supports nine New Hampshire affiliate institutions and thousands of teachers, students, faculty, and citizens interested in the sciences, particularly space science. In addition to UNH, the affiliates include BAE Systems of North America, McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Dartmouth, FIRST, Community College System of NH, Plymouth State University, Mount Washington Observatory and The Rey Center.
Learn more about the resources available through the NHSGC by visiting http://www.nhsgc.sr.unh.edu/ or visit us in Morse Hall when you come to UNH.
8. Durham – The Moonbuggy Race
A team of University of New Hampshire students regularly participates in the college division of NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race at Marshall Space Flight Center. Students in this competition are required to design a vehicle that addresses a series of engineering problems similar to those faced by the original Moonbuggy team.
Each Moonbuggy must be human powered and carry two students, one female and one male, over a half-mile of simulated lunar terrain including "craters", rocks, "lava" ridges, inclines and "lunar" soil. Moonbuggy entries are expected to be engineering test models in nature, rather than final production models. Each team of six members is responsible for building their own buggy, and the course drivers, who are chosen from each team, must also be builders of the vehicle.
As part of the competition, and prior to course testing, the unassembled Moonbuggy entries must be carried to the course starting line, contained in a volume of 4'x 4'x 4' (dimension requirements similar to those for the original Lunar Roving Vehicle). At the starting line, the entries are assembled and readied for course testing and evaluated for safety. Assembly occurs one time prior to the first course run.
The UNH Moonbuggy can sometimes be viewed in one of the labs at Kingsbury Hall on the UNH Campus. It may also be on display during the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Symposium held in Kingsbury and Morse Halls at UNH in April. See if you can view the buggy and learn more about the student team that designed this year’s entry.
9. East Derry – Birthplace of the First Astronaut
Al Shepard was born November 18, 1923, in East Derry, New Hampshire. He attended primary and secondary schools in East Derry and Derry, New Hampshire; received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1944, an Honorary Master of Arts degree from Dartmouth College, Hanover NH in 1962, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Franklin Pierce College, Rindge, NH in 1972. Rear Admiral Shepard was one of the Mercury astronauts named by NASA in April 1959, and he holds the distinction of being the first American to journey into space.
On May 5, 1961, in the Freedom 7 spacecraft, he was launched by a Redstone rocket on a ballistic trajectory suborbital flight—a flight that carried him to an altitude of 116 statute miles and to a landing point 302 statute miles down the Atlantic Missile Range. In 1963, he was designated Chief of the Astronaut Office, responsible for monitoring the coordination, scheduling, and control of all activities involving NASA astronauts. He was restored to full flight status in May 1969, following corrective surgery for an inner ear disorder.
Shepard made his second space flight as spacecraft commander on Apollo 14, January 31 - February 9, 1971. He was accompanied on man's third lunar landing mission by Stuart A. Roosa, command module pilot, and Edgar D. Mitchell, lunar module pilot. Maneuvering their lunar module, "Antares," to a landing in the hilly upland Fra Mauro region of the moon, Shepard and Mitchell subsequently deployed and activated various scientific equipment and experiments and collected almost 100 pounds of lunar samples for return to earth.
Other Apollo 14 achievements included: first use of Mobile Equipment Transporter (MET); largest payload placed in lunar orbit; longest distance traversed on the lunar surface; largest payload returned from the lunar surface; longest lunar surface stay time (33 hours); longest lunar surface EVA (9 hours and 17 minutes); first use of shortened lunar orbit rendezvous techniques; first use of colored TV with new vidicon tube on lunar surface; and first extensive orbital science period conducted during CSM solo operations. Rear Admiral Shepard logged a total of 216 hours and 57 minutes in space, of which 9 hours and 17 minutes were spent in lunar surface EVA.
Visit the sites in Derry dedicated to the accomplishments of Alan Shepard. For example, following an Act of Congress, the Post Office in Derry was designated the 'Alan B. Shepard, Jr. Post Office Building'. Shepard’s high school alma mater, Pinkerton Academy, has a building named after him, and the school team name is the Astros after his career as an astronaut. Derry almost changed its name to "Spacetown", considering it in honor of his career as an astronaut. Can you find any other points of interest commemorating Alan Shepard in Derry? Mail us photographs of other points of interest.
10. Hanover – An Astronaut Becomes a Doctor
Jay Clark Buckey, Jr. is a physician and engineer who flew aboard space shuttle mission 90 (STS-90). He was a Payload Specialist for the experiment "Cardiovascular Adaptation to Zero-Gravity". Astronaut Buckey also assisted with the 26 other Spacelab Life Sciences experiments, focusing on the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system, during the 16-day Spacelab flight.
Jay Buckey completed his medical training with a residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He took leave from Dartmouth to fly on STS-90. He had been an unsuccessful applicant for two NASA astronaut groups before being selected. Currently he is a professor of medicine and an adjunct professor of engineering at Dartmouth.
The seven-person crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia for the 1998 Neurolab mission included, Pelham’s Rick Linnehan, Portsmouth’s Rick Searfoss, and Hanover’s Jay Buckey. This is believed to be the largest concentration from one state ever on one spaceflight.
Research whether there has been another shuttle crew with a similar or greater concentration of astronauts from one state.
11. Hanover – Physics and Astronomy
The Physics and Astronomy Department of Dartmouth College is committed to research, teaching and mentorships at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The focus is on a few core areas - astronomy and cosmology, quantum and condensed matter physics, plasma and space physics. In these areas they provide a selection of independent research opportunities as well as an array of specialized courses and research seminars.
The Physics and Astronomy Department is located in Wilder Laboratory, one of four buildings that together comprise the Sherman Fairchild Physical Sciences Center. Within Wilder, the department offers a broad array of facilities for physics research. There are several laser laboratories, which cover a wide range of wavelengths (from the ultraviolet to the far infrared) and pulse widths (from continuous wave to mode-locked picosecond pulses), as well as a laser Raman lab. The cryogenic and magnetic lab facilities include a wide assortment of optical access dewars, helium-3 and dilution refrigerators, SQUID devices and high-field superconducting magnets. Sample preparation and analysis facilities include X-ray diffraction analysis and thin-film vacuum deposition equipment. The Beams and Radiation Laboratory in Wilder centers on a free-electron laser. These are used to generate coherent Cerenkov radiation over a wide range of wavelengths producing a unique, tuneable radiation source suitable for a variety of experiments.
Check out the Dartmouth College Physics and Astronomy facilities. Talk to a graduate student about how their education at Dartmouth fits into their career plans.
12. Hanover – Fixing the Hubble Space Telescope
Hanover’s Creare, Inc. created the cryocooler for the Hubble space telescope. This cryogenic refrigeration system restored cooling to the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) on the space telescope. Within six weeks of its installation, Creare’s cryocooler had returned the NICMOS detectors to operational temperatures (~75 K) and the first images generated by the renewed device were obtained shortly thereafter.
In early 1997, NASA approached Creare with an urgent need to develop a vibration-free, long-life mechanical cryocooler to replace the original NICMOS cooling system. The instrument was cooled by a block of solid nitrogen that had depleted, and a replacement cooling system had to be developed and space-qualified in time for the scheduled servicing mission to the Hubble. After an accelerated development process, Creare’s cryocooler was flight-qualified during an 11 day mission aboard STS-95 (Discovery) in October 1998. This paved the way for installation on the telescope in 2002.
Miniature high-speed turbomachines using gas bearings are a key feature in Creare’s turbo-Brayton cryocoolers. Rotors of 2 to 10 mm diameter rotate at speeds of between 1,000 and 10,000 rev/s on a film of gas to provide long-life operation without wear or vibration. High precision balancing of the low-mass rotors eliminates vibration, and non-contact operation eliminates wear and debris generation. These features were critical factors in NASA’s decision to select Creare’s technology for NICMOS.
Is Creare creating other aerospace related technologies? What types of jobs do Creare employees do?
13. Keene – Bearings in the Shuttle’s Engines
Keene’s Timken works with aerospace design engineers to develop bearings, gearboxes and other aircraft components that stand up to the high speeds, temperatures and thrust loads associated with flight. Their split ball bearings are now used on the space shuttle’s main engine.
They are involved in improving the performance and affordability of the next-generation of aerospace gas turbine engine and development of advanced bearing materials to meet specific high-performance characteristics under the Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engine (VAATE) program. One of the program's goals is to increase the affordability of new turbine-propulsion technology over current designs.
As part of ongoing development for the engine program, Timken will demonstrate how advanced bearing materials can survive hotter environments at higher speeds for longer periods of time. Such technology helps to improve engine performance, resulting in reductions in fuel consumption, emissions and operating costs.
Research what progress Timken is reporting on these advanced bearing materials. Talk to someone who works there about their job.
14. Laconia – Included Just For Fun
On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Record carried the story of a recovered UFO. On that same day, a UFO report was also made in New Hampshire, one that made the front page of a NH newspaper: “Portsmouth, N.H. (UP) – Thomas M. Dale, son of Gov. Charles M. Dale of New Hampshire and president of Yankee Airways today (July 8, 1947) was among the saucer-spotters." The former World War II flier said he saw a “mysterious flying object – a long, thin metal thing going about 700 miles an hour " as he was making an air trip from Laconia to Wolfeboro early on the night of July 7, 1947. Dale reported seeing the object when he looked down over Alton Bay. It was flying east towards Wolfeboro, apparently motorless and pilotless. He said it looked like a gray solid metal material flying at 1,000 feet. His plane was flying at 2,800 feet when he spotted the projectile. Corroborating his statement was A.B. Skinner of the Lakes Region Flying Service in Wolfeboro, who claims he "saw the object pass overhead in an easterly direction" at about the same time as Dale's report.
What other UFO sightings have been reported in NH? What is the most common explanation for the objects reported?
15. Manchester – FIRST Robotics
FIRST is exciting hundreds of thousands of young people about careers in science and technology through their robotics programs. Mentors and coaches engage youth from 1st through 12th grade in engineering challenges and solving real-world problems. FIRST Place at 200 Bedford Street in Manchester is an innovative learning center offering a wide variety of hands-on programs including school programs, summer camps and conferences. The facility has a reconfigurable "working laboratory" and exhibits of FIRST challenges and robots. FIRST is open to the public through its scheduled educational programming.
Robotics is critical to future space exploration, so NASA is very interested in creating the human, technical, and programmatic resources to support their required robotics needs. Keeping robots operating reliably in space presents some unique challenges for engineers. The ultra-high vacuum in space prevents the use of most types of lubricants. Temperatures can swing wildly, depending on whether the robot is in the sunlight or shade. And, of course, there is almost no gravity. FIRST teams members see these as opportunities rather than challenges, leading to the possibility of unique designs and innovation.
Attend a FIRST robotics class. Join a FIRST team. If there isn’t a team in your area start one.
16. Manchester – An Astronaut Native
Captain USN Lee Morin is a Manchester native and a UNH grad. Morin was a Navy doctor who served in the Gulf War. In his mid-40s, he then became an astronaut. He went on his first mission on STS-110, the 13th Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station, where he performed 2 EVAs contributing to the installation of the S0 (S-Zero) Truss.
Morin has a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and electrical sciences from University of New Hampshire; Master of Science in biochemistry from New York University School of Medicine; doctorate of medicine and microbiology from New York University; master of public health from the University of Alabama.
In 1983, he entered active duty and attended the Naval Undersea Medical Institute in Groton, Connecticut. He was an Undersea Medical Officer and he joined the crew of the USS HENRY M. JACKSON (SSBN-730) Precommissioning Unit at the Electric Boat Company Shipyards in Groton. He then entered Flight Surgeon training at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI) in Pensacola, Florida where he received his Wings of Gold as a Naval Flight Surgeon in 1986. He remained on the staff at NAMI as Flight Surgeon/Diving Medal Officer until 1989. He then left active duty and entered private practice in occupational medicine in Jacksonville, Florida.
In August 1990, he volunteered to reenter active duty during Operation Desert Shield, assigned to Branch Clinic, Naval Air Station Pensacola as a Flight Surgeon. Morin was Diving Medical Officer/Flight Surgeon to Administrative Support Unit, Bahrain during Operation Desert Storm and during the post-war build-down period. In April 1996 he was selected as an astronaut candidate, reporting to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, qualifying for flight assignment as a mission specialist. He did two spacewalks on STS-110 totaling more than 14 hours. He is now working at NASA on the cockpit of the next manned spacecraft.
In what way has Manchester honored its Astronaut native? How is his present work continuing to contribute to the space program?
17. Mount Washington Observatory –
Scientific Director Joins Team for First Suborbital Flight
Scientist Joach Kuettner began university studies at age 17 in Germany. He was the youngest person to obtain a doctorate at the University of Breslau, graduating in 1931 at the age of 21. Serving as a judge's assistant in small-town German courts while learning to be a glider pilot, Joach realized that his real interest lay in meteorology. He chose to earn his second doctorate in meteorology. Before Joach could begin his career as a research meteorologist, World War II intervened. In the Luftwaffe (the German air force), Joach received intense training in flying single- and multi-engine aircraft, hoping that he would be assigned to weather reconnaissance. His wish was not granted, however, and he ended up flight-testing various aircraft.
Eventually he emigrated to the States and joined the U.S. Air Force/Cambridge Laboratories and its Sierra Wave Project, which studied mountain waves with instrumented gliders and powered aircraft. Soon afterward, Joach became the scientific director of New Hampshire's Mt. Washington Observatory, researching precipitation processes and atmospheric electricity. But his work at Mt. Washington was interrupted in 1958 by an even greater challenge. Wernher von Braun, the German rocket pioneer, invited Joach to Huntsville, Alabama, to develop and direct the first spaceflight project to carry a human.
Joach and his team put together a proposal for the first suborbital flight, which eventually became the Mercury project. Some 2000 reporters witnessed the successful launch of Alan Shepard in his space capsule at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 5 May 1961. In Joach's words, "Everything went perfectly." Soon afterward, President Kennedy agreed to support flying a human to the moon, Congress accepted it, and the Apollo project was born.
Visit the Observatory and ask about the Neutron Monitor. What other connections does Mt. Washington Observatory have to aerospace and space science?
18. Nashua – Brains of the Rovers
BAE systems of Nashua built the "brains" that are guiding "Spirit" and "Opportunity". The Rovers are designed to study minerals in rocks. They travel up to 132 feet each day and operate at temperatures as low as minus 100 degrees Celsius. Both Mars Rovers are outfitted with radiation-hardened RAD6000 computers.
The RAD6000 is one of a family of radiation-hardened protected computers developed and produced by BAE Systems with the support of NASA's JPL and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Since 1995, BAE facilities have delivered more than 300 radiation-hardened computers that have been launched and are operating in space. The RAD6000 was also the single control and data computer used on the successful Pathfinder mission, which landed on Mars in 1997.
What else has BAE Systems contributed to the space program? What aerospace related jobs are there in their Nashua facility?
19. New Boston – Satellite Tracking Station
The Air Force's New Boston Satellite Tracking Station stands on a portion of the government property purchased for a bomb range to train troops in World War II. After the war, the station took a lower profile. The bombing range was deactivated, and after a long debate about the site's future, it became home to satellite tracking antennas. The first antennas went up around 1960 and remain, protected by a geodesic dome resembling a golf ball about six stories high. The New Hampshire Tracking station is a dual antenna site and provides support to the Eastern Test Range at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The station is part of the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) which provides support for the operation, control, and maintenance of a variety of United States Department of Defense and some non-DoD satellites. This involves continual Tracking, Telemetry, and Command (TT&C). In addition, the AFSCN provides prelaunch simulation, launch support, and early orbit support while satellites are in initial or transfer orbits and require maneuvering to their final orbit. The AFSCN also provides tracking data to help maintain the catalog of space objects and distributes various data such as satellite ephemeris, almanacs, and other information.
Although the remainder of the range had been converted to recreational use, since the attacks of September 11th the station has been closed to most non-military personnel.
Some of the tracking stations have been closed. Why? Is the New Boston Station still active? Some of the remote tracking stations have been modernized. In what way have they been modernized? Has the New Boston Station been modernized?
20. New Ipswich – Mars Airbags
Many New Hampshire companies have contributed to the space program including Warwick Mills, in New Ipswich. They made the air bag materials for the Mars Pathfinder and Rovers and they make the parachute material for the shuttles when they land. In 1935 Warwick Mills weaved the material used for the high-altitude helium weather balloon sponsored by National Geographic and the U.S. army Air Corps. In the 40’s they were the first to develop and produce parachute fabric for U.S. Military during WW II. And in the 60’s they developed the substrate material used in the inflatable flotation collars for the Apollo 17 missions.
Warwick Mills is a leader in the engineering of technical textiles for protective applications. They develop complex fiber composites for the most challenging safety applications with technologies in technical textiles, custom adhesives, and performance coatings.
How much did the fabric used in the Mars’ Rovers airbags weigh? What allowed this material to stand up to the harsh environment on Mars’ surface? In what other ways has Warwick Mills contributed to aerospace and space activities?
21. Pelham – Graduates an Astronaut
Richard Linnehan attended Alvirne High School in Hudson, NH, and graduated from Pelham High School in Pelham, NH. He later graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences and a minor in Microbiology.
When New Hampshire astronautRick Linnehan lifted off in the space shuttle Endeavor, he fulfilled the hopes and dreams of another New Hampshire family. An earlier accident had claimed the life of 8-year-old Alex, who attended space camp in 1994 and was certain he wanted to be an astronaut. Alex's parents have kept his dream alive by creating a scholarship to space camp that has helped dozens of children go to camp. Linnehan made Alex's dreams of being ins space come true. When the Endeavour lifted off, Alex's picture was on-board.
Check out Linnehan's flight suit which hangs in the McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center. Linnehan also carried a pin featuring the dedication of the planetarium on his space mission. Can you find anything in Pelham commemorating this graduate’s accomplishments as an Astronaut?
22. Plymouth – Meteorology Touches Upon Virtually all Aspects of Human Activity
Plymouth State University (PSU) is the only institution in New Hampshire to offer BS degrees in Meteorology. The program offers students a solid curriculum in theoretical and applied meteorology as well as an opportunity for independent research and for internships in operational meteorology.
For over 5years, PSU meteorology faculty and students have conducted summer research in Florida in conjunction with the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station investigating and developing tools for improved prediction of strong winds often associated with warm-season thunderstorms. The winds pose significant dangers for launch and range operations and, after lightning, account for an average of around 175 warning per year, which are issued by Air Force forecasters supporting the space launch activities. The research continues throughout the school year and has resulted in three successful MS theses and over a dozen scientific papers by faculty and both graduate and undergraduate students.
A variety of career opportunities are available for graduates. Meteorologists are employed in all sectors—private, government and military. Recent graduates have served with contractors for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and in many positions within NOAA (the parent organization of the National Weather Service) including one graduate as the lead flight director fot the NOAA reconaissance aircraft.
As an alternative to the BS program, students may pursue an interdisciplinary major that incorporates atmospheric science with related fields such as earth science, mathematics, and computer science. These fields all have applications in space research and exploration.
The meteorology facilities and equipment at PSU include a multi-instrumented rooftop weather observation station, advanced weather center including a state-of-the-art electronic map wall, weather technology lab and observatioaln equipment such as a portable GPS-radiosonde system, a portable micrometeorological measurement platform, and a fully instrumented Automated Weather Observation System. One of only a handful of schools with this capability, Plymouth State receives weather data from a full four-channel NOAAPORT satellite system.
Visit Plymouth State University and learn more about the meteorology program and facilities. Talk to one of the students about their career plans.
23. Portsmouth – Emergency Landing Site
The Pease Air National Guard Base, formerly part of the Pease Air Force Base, is one of seven Launch Abort Sites and one of 18 Emergency Landing Sites for NASA space shuttle orbiters.
It is also home to the United States Air Force's 157th Air Refueling Wing. They fly the KC-135R Stratotanker. It shares the runway with the Pease Air National Guard, the New Hampshire Air National Guard, and an Air Mobility Command (AMC).
The Air National Guard's federal mission is to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances). The Air National Guard provides almost half of the Air Force's tactical airlift support, combat communications functions, aeromedical evacuations and aerial refueling. The Air National Guard also has total responsibility for air defense of the entire United States.
Check out the runway at Pease Tradeport by following the signs toward the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge until you come to Short Street on your left. Turn up Short Street and park along the fence in order to view the expanse of the runway. Why is there such a long runway at Pease?
24. Portsmouth – Home of an Astronaut
Former Astronaut Richard Searfoss (also COLONEL, USAF, RET.) considers Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to be his hometown. He graduated from Portsmouth High School; received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the USAF Academy, and a Master of Science degree in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology on a National Science Foundation Fellowship. He was a flight instructor at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, when selected for the astronaut program.
Searfoss is a veteran of three space flights and has logged over 39 days in space. He served as pilot on STS-58 and STS-76 and was the mission commander on STS-90. He has logged over 5,000 hours flying time in 56 different types of aircraft and over 939 hours in space. He also holds FAA Airline Transport Pilot, glider, and flight instructor ratings. He is now involved in the XCOR EZ-Rocket, a test platform for the XCOR rocket propulsion system.
Searfoss served as a judge for what contest? Who did he declare as the winner? Based on what experience? A few years ago, former Astronaut Searfoss was featured in a commercial for what company? What was his argument with a black beetle about?
Former Space Shuttle Pilot, Rick Searfoss, talks about his experience of orbiting Earth and looks to the future. Watch the movie.
25. Waterville Valley – Curious George
Margret and H.A. Rey, authors of the Curious George children’s book series and former summer residents of Waterville Valley, NH, were artists and adventurers, historians and naturalists, gardeners and stewards. Today their spirit lives on in the Margret and H.A. Rey Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the Reys’ legacy through art, science and adventure programs.
Many Rey Center programs relate to the books the Reys wrote including Curious George and the Rocket where George becomes the first space monkey. It was published weeks before the Soviets surprise launch of the Sputnik 2 satellite carrying the first animal into space (a small dog named Laika). In honor of George’s adventure, the Curious George Cottage Family Festival hosts rocket launching demonstrations. If you can, go to this Festival.
A news clipping about two mice sent into space to study the effects of weightlessness inspired the story of George’s own space flight in Curious George Gets a Medal.
Before or during your visit at the Rey Center don’t forget also to read: The Complete Adventures of Curious George
26. Wolfeboro – Center for Computer Learning
The private school, Brewster Academy, in Wolfeboro dedicated their computer lab to Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist who developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. Computers were originally envisioned primarily as scientific instruments. But even in the early years Grace Hopper realized there was potential for so much more including automated command and control and aerospace design.
Grace Hopper spent her childhood summers at a cottage on Lake Wentworth. The University of New Hampshire honored her with the The Charles Holmes Pette Medal for her substantial contributions to computing. The Pette Medal is awarded to a resident or former resident in recognition of outstanding accomplishment or distinguished service.
Grace Hopper is famous for her nanoseconds visual aid. People (such as generals and admirals) used to ask her why satellite communication took so long. She started handing out pieces of wire, which were just under one foot long, the distance that light travels in one nanosecond. She gave these pieces of wire the metonym "nanoseconds." At many of her talks and visits, she handed out "nanoseconds" to everyone in the audience, contrasting them with a coil of wire nearly a thousand feet long, representing a microsecond. Later, while giving these lectures, she passed out packets of pepper, which she called picoseconds.
Visit the Grace Hopper computer lab. See if you can find anyone in Wolfeboro that knew Grace Hopper and ask them about her.
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