NASA Marshall to Lead Artemis Program’s Human Lunar Lander Development

August 16th, 2019

On Aug. 16, 2019, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will lead the Human Landing System Program. Bridenstine was joined by Representatives Mo Brooks and Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Representative Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee. NASA will rapidly develop the lander for safely carrying the first woman and the next man to the Moon’s surface in 2024. The Artemis missions will start with launch by the world’s most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System, also managed by Marshall. Bridenstine made the announcement in front of the 149-foot-tall SLS liquid hydrogen structural test article, currently being tested to help ensure the structure can safely launch astronauts on the Artemis lunar missions.
Credits: NASA Television

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was joined Friday by U.S. Representatives Mo Brooks and Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to announce the center’s new role leading the agency’s Human Landing System Program for its return to the Moon by 2024.

“Marshall Space Flight Center is the birthplace of America’s space program. It was Marshall scientists and engineers who designed, built, tested, and helped launch the giant Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts on the Apollo missions to the Moon,” Brooks said. “Marshall has unique capabilities and expertise not found at other NASA centers. I’m pleased NASA has chosen Marshall to spearhead a key component of America’s return to the Moon and usher in the Artemis era. Thanks to Administrator Bridenstine for travelling here to share the great news in person.”

Bridenstine discussed the announcement in front of the 149-foot-tall Space Launch System (SLS) rocket liquid hydrogen tank structural test article currently being tested.

“We greatly appreciate the support shown here today by our representatives in Congress for NASA’s Artemis program and America’s return to the Moon, where we will prepare for our greatest feat for humankind – putting astronauts on Mars,” Bridenstine said. “We focus on a ‘One NASA’ integrated approach that uses the technical capabilities of many centers. Marshall has the right combination of expertise and experience to accomplish this critical piece of the mission.”

Informed by years of expertise in propulsion systems integration and technology development, engineers at Marshall will work with American companies to rapidly develop, integrate, and demonstrate a human lunar landing system that can launch to the Gateway, pick up astronauts and ferry them between the Gateway and the surface of the Moon.

“Marshall Space Flight Center, and North Alabama, have played a key role in every American human mission to space since the days of Mercury 7. I am proud that Marshall has been selected to be the lead for the landers program,” said Aderholt. “I am also very proud that Marshall has designed and built the rocket system, the Space Launch System, which will make missions to the Moon and Mars possible. We look forward to working with our industry partners and our NASA partners from around the country.”

NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, which manages major NASA human spaceflight programs including the Gateway, Orion, Commercial Crew and International Space Station, will oversee all aspects related to preparing the landers and astronauts to work together. Johnson also will manage all Artemis missions, beginning with Artemis 1, the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems.

The trip to Marshall came the day after Bridenstine visited NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where he viewed progress on the SLS core stage that will power NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission. With the start of testing in June on the liquid hydrogen tank article, and the recent arrival of the liquid oxygen tank at Marshall, which manages the SLS Program, NASA is more than halfway through SLS structural testing.

“The Tennessee Valley, including Huntsville and stretching across Middle Tennessee, is a dynamic, exciting region, home to thousands of men and women – working at both public and private institutions – who are leading the United States into the next age of space exploration,” said DesJarlais. “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am thrilled to visit one of our country’s premier facilities, near Arnold Air Force Base and others, developing the latest spaceflight technology. NASA’s Artemis program will help our country to create another American Century. We can be proud of our achievements, especially here at the Marshall Space Flight Center.”

NASA recently issued a draft solicitation and requested comments from American companies interested in providing an integrated human landing system – a precursor to the final solicitation targeted for release in the coming months. The agency’s human lunar exploration plans are based on a two-phase approach: the first is focused on speed – landing on the Moon within five years, while the second will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. The agency will use what we learn on the Moon to prepare for the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

For more on NASA’s Artemis program, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/artemis/

Meet Hannan Khan, one of Hunter Hall’s new resident advisers

August 14th, 2019

As University of Houston-Clear Lake’s first traditional residence hall prepares to open on Aug. 22, resident advisers are already on campus, preparing and receiving additional training to ensure move-in day is efficient and Hunter Hall’s first residents get off to a positive start to the new academic  year.

Get to know Hannan Khan, a 21-year-old biology major who would like to become a medical doctor.  He is one of the seven Hunter Hall resident advisers ready to help new residents as they transition into life on campus.

Q. What made you decide to become an RA?

Khan: Till now, I have lived away from campus and I wanted to be closer to my professors as well as my fellow students. My first semester I wanted to transfer, but I decided to stay. Now I am active with Student Government Association and I have grown a family here at UH-Clear Lake. Taking care of others is a big responsibility, like what a doctor does. I feel like I’m in training for the role I want—helping people is my main goal.

Q. What are you most looking forward to about living in Hunter Hall?

Khan: I’m excited to meet people living on campus and see the new aspect of life on my own, away from my parents’ home.

Q. What is one thing you’d like residents to know about you?

Khan: I am a first generation American and first generation college student. I am very passionate and competitive, and that’s why I play a lot of sports. I like basketball, football, soccer and ping-pong, but basketball is my go-to. If you want to play ping-pong, I’m the guy! You might not win, but I promise you’ll learn something. There is no such thing as losing, only winning and learning.

Q. What are you doing when you aren’t studying?

Khan: Because I am a science major, there is no “off” because I am learning about the body all the time. When I’m not studying, I am still learning.

Q. What is a goal you have as a resident adviser for the students living on your floor?

Khan: I want everyone to have a good first year experience and a good life on campus. I want to engage with everyone and help people have a positive transition to life here. The best way I can do that is by being right next door to them. I want students to live, learn and engage.

Q. What advice do you have for freshmen or new students?

Khan: College is all about pushing through. Don’t stop, it’s worth it and you can relax later. But right now, you just have to keep pushing. Gaining knowledge is worth the investment.

For more information about Hunter Hall, visit www.uhcl.edu/student-affairs/campus-community/housing/hunter-hall/

‘Dine Out to Donate’ on tap Oct. 7

August 10th, 2019

The Clear Creek Education Foundation is gearing up to host its sixth annual “Dine Out to Donate” on Monday, Oct. 7.

The process is simple – citizens enjoy a meal at a participating restaurant, and in return the restaurant will donate a portion of the proceeds to CCEF to benefit the students and teachers of the Clear Creek Independent School District. All of the proceeds will support CCEF’s many programs including Educational Grants, National Board Teacher Certification and Clear Horizons Early College High School.

This event brings fun competition district wide between all CCISD schools. The top three elementary, intermediate and high schools with the highest percentage of participation  based on student population will each win: 1st – $1,000, 2nd – $500 and 3rd – $250. Overall, the top school wins the “Top Dog Trophy” which comes with very special bragging rights.

Maggiano’s Little Italy – Baybrook has been a longtime supporter of Dine Out to Donate and is passionate about providing schools and nonprofit organizations with fundraising opportunities. “It has been a pleasure participating and helping raise money for education and the educators,” said general manager Eric Landgrover. “What CCEF does touches the lives of every child in our community and Maggiano’s love being a part of that.”

Participating restaurants for “Dine Out to Donate” include:

 

  • Angelo’s Pizza & Pasta, 400 W. Bay Area Blvd., Suite A | Webster
  • Avenida Brazil, 201 W. Bay Area Blvd. | Webster
  • Brick Oven Pizza Company, 903 FM 518 | Kemah
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill, 502 W. Bay Area Blvd. | Webster
  • Chick-Fil-A, 2805 E. League City Pkwy. | League City
  • Chick-Fil-A, 1900 NASA Pkwy. | Nassau Bay
  • Chick-Fil-A, 18323 Gulf Fwy. | Webster
  • Chuy’s, 20975 Gulf Fwy. | Webster
  • Craft 96 Draught House, 2575 E. League City Pkwy. | League City
  • Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack, 310 Texas Ave. | Kemah
  • Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack, 1330 Bay Area Blvd. | Friendswood
  • Eduardo’s, 911 E. NASA Pkwy. | Houston
  • Esteban’s Café and Cantina, 402 W. Main St. | League City
  • Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, 2795 Gulf Fwy. S. | League City
  • Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, 2660 Marina Bay Dr. | League City
  • Gatti’s Pizza, 16607 El Camino Real | Houston
  • Grazia Italian Kitchen, 1001 Pineloch Dr. #1100 | Houston
  • Ichibon Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse, 18206 Egret Bay Blvd.| Houston
  • Jason’s Deli, 2755 Gulf Fwy. S. | League City
  • Jason’s Deli, 541 Bay Area Blvd. | Webster
  • Jersey Mike’s, 2456 Marina Bay Dr. | League City
  • Jersey Mike’s, 2555 E. League City Pkwy. | League City
  • Jersey Mike’s, 933 Bay Area Blvd. | Webster
  • Jimmy Changas, 2504 Gulf Fwy. S. |League City
  • Jinya Ramen Bar, 18299 Egret Bay Blvd. | Houston
  • Joe Lee’s Seafood Kitchen, 1108 Marina Bay Dr. | Clear Lake Shores
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy, 700 Baybrook Mall Dr.| Friendswood
  • McDonald’s, 3140 Gulf Fwy. S. | League City
  • McDonald’s, 102 Hwy. 3 S. | League City
  • Mr. Sombrero Mexican Restaurant, 2640 E. League City Pkwy. | League City
  • Mr. Sombrero Mexican Restaurant, 6011 W. Main St. | League City
  • MOD Pizza, 2875 E. League City Pkwy. | League City
  • Opus Ocean Grille, 1510 Marina Bay Dr. | Clear Lake Shores
  • Opus Bistro and Steakhouse, 2500 South Shore Blvd. | League City
  • Outback Steakhouse, 1503 Bay Area Blvd. | Webster
  • Pappas Bar-B-Q, 20794 Gulf Fwy. | Webster
  • Pappas Seafood House, 19991 I-45 S. | Webster
  • Pappasito’s Cantina, 20099 I-45 S. | Webster
  • Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse, 19901 Gulf Fwy. | Webster
  • Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, 19411-A Gulf Fwy. | Webster
  • Raising Cane’s, 2586 E. League City Pkwy. | League City
  • Red River BBQ & Grill, 1911 E. Main St. | League City
  • Red River Cantina, 1911 E. Main St. | League City
  • Salata, 700 Baybrook Mall Dr. #F160 | Webster
  • Salata, 1780 E. NASA Pkwy. | Houston
  • Salata, 2515 S. Gulf Fwy. #300 |League City
  • San Lorenzo Taqueria, 3020 Marina Bay Dr. #E | League City
  • San Lorenzo Mexican Restaurant and Cantina, 2441 FM 646 W. #D | Dickinson
  • San Lorenzo Mexican Restaurant and Cantina, 3202 Marina Bay Dr. #G | Kemah
  • Schlotzsky’s, 221 S. Egret Bay Blvd. | League City
  • Skipper’s Greek Cafe, 1026 Marina Bay Dr. | Clear Lake Shores
  • Sokols’ Greek Deli and Café, 2410 Bay Area Blvd. #C/D | Houston
  • South Shore Grille, 2800 Marina Bay Dr. #F | League City

 

About CCEF

Established in 1992, CCEF is a 501(c)3 organization located in League City, Texas. Comprised of volunteers with a passion for excellence, the Foundation raises funds to enrich academic achievement within the Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD).

CCISD announces free and reduced meal guidelines for the 2019-2020 school year

August 8th, 2019

Clear Creek ISD students who are unable to afford the full price of school meals will be able to participate in a free and reduced-price meal program. According to Fred Walker, Director of Child Nutrition Service, the District will use guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine eligibility for participation in the National School Lunch/Breakfast Program. Reduced price meals will cost $0.30 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch.

Qualification standards are based on the number of family members and income. Applicants must turn in the following information in order to be considered for the program:

  • Eligibility Determination Group  number for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)

Families who do not have the above information must list the following:

  • Names of all household members
  • The last four digits of the Social Security number of primary wage earner or household member who signs the form
  • Last month’s income and how often it was received for each household member that receives an income
  • Signature of an adult household member

Information submitted on the application may be verified as required by law. For more information about the program call 281-284-0712.

Foster children, who are the legal responsibility of the state agency or court, are eligible for benefits regardless of the income of the household with whom they reside. Applications will be available online at www.schoolcafe.com. To apply for free and reduced‐price meals, households must fill out the online application. Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced‐price meal policy, Rebecca Coronado, Free & Reduced Clerk, will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis at 281-284-0712.

Parents wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally by calling 281-284-0700 or in writing to Child Nutrition Hearing Official, 2145 West NASA Blvd, Webster, TX 77598.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact Child Nutrition. Such changes may make the students of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the levels shown below:

Non-discrimination Statement: This explains what to do if you believe you have been treated unfairly.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email:program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

NASA announces U.S. industry partnerships to advance Moon, Mars technology

August 1st, 2019

Illustration of a human landing system and crew on the lunar surface with Earth near the horizon. Credits: NASA

As NASA prepares to land humans on the Moon by 2024 with the Artemis program, commercial companies are developing new technologies, working toward space ventures of their own, and looking to NASA for assistance. NASA has selected 10 U.S. companies for 19 partnerships to mature industry-developed space technologies and help maintain American leadership in space.

NASA centers will partner with the companies, which range from small businesses with fewer than a dozen employees to large aerospace organizations, to provide expertise, facilities, hardware and software at no cost. The partnerships will advance the commercial space sector and help bring new capabilities to market that could benefit future NASA missions.

“NASA’s proven experience and unique facilities are helping commercial companies mature their technologies at a competitive pace,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “We’ve identified technology areas NASA needs for future missions, and these public-private partnerships will accelerate their development so we can implement them faster.”

The selections were made through NASA’s Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity(ACO) released in October 2018. They will result in non-reimbursable Space Act Agreements between the companies and NASA. The selections cover the following technology focus areas, which are important to America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

Advanced Communications, Navigation and Avionics

  • Advanced Space of Boulder, Colorado, will partner with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to advance lunar navigation technologies. The collaboration will help mature a navigation system between Earth and the Moon that could supplement NASA’s Deep Space Network and support future exploration missions.
  • Vulcan Wireless of Carlsbad, California, also will partner with Goddard to test a CubeSat radio transponder and its compatibility with NASA’s Space Network.

Advanced Materials

  • Aerogel Technologies of Boston will work with NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland to improve properties of flexible aerogels for rocket fairings and other aerospace applications. The material can result in 25% weight savings over soundproofing materials currently used in rocket fairings.
  • Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colorado, will work with NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, to test materials made from metal powders using solid-state processing to improve the design of spacecraft that operate in high-temperature environments.
  • Spirit AeroSystem Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, will partner with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to improve the durability of low-cost reusable rockets manufactured using friction stir welding. This welding method, already being used for NASA’s Space Launch System, results in a stronger, more defect-free seal compared to traditional methods of joining materials with welding torches.

Entry, Decent and Landing

  • Anasphere of Bozeman, Montana, will partner with Marshall to test a compact hydrogen generator for inflating heat shields, which could help deliver larger payloads to Mars.
  • Bally Ribbon Mills of Bally, Pennsylvania, will perform thermal testing in the Arc Jet Complex at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. The facility will be used to test a new seamless weave for a mechanically deployable carbon fabric heat shield.
  • Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, will collaborate with NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and Goddard to mature a navigation and guidance system for safe and precise landing at a range of locations on the Moon.
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation of Sparks, Nevada, will work with NASA on two entry, decent and landing projects. The company will partner with Langley to capture infrared images of their Dream Chaser spacecraft as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere traveling faster than the speed of sound.
  • For the second collaboration, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Langley will mature a method to recover the upper stage of a rocket using a deployable decelerator.
  • SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, will work with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to advance their technology to vertically land large rockets on the Moon. This includes advancing models to assess engine plume interaction with lunar regolith.

In-Space Manufacturing and Assembly

  • Maxar Technologies of Palo Alto, California, will work with Langley to build a breadboard – a base for prototyping electronics – for a deployable, semi-rigid radio antenna. In-orbit assembly of large structures like antennae will enhance the performance of assets in space. Such capabilities could enable entirely new exploration missions that are currently size-constrained and reduce launch costs due to improved packaging.

Power

  • Blue Origin will partner with Glenn and Johnson to mature a fuel cell power system for the company’s Blue Moon lander. The system could provide uninterrupted power during the lunar night, which lasts for about two weeks in most locations.
  • Maxar will test lightweight solar cells for flexible solar panels using facilities at Glenn and Marshall that mimic the environment of space. The technology could be used by future spacecraft to provide more power with a lower mass system.

Propulsion

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, California, and Marshall will design and manufacture a lightweight rocket engine combustion chamber using innovative processes and materials. The goal of the project is to reduce manufacturing costs and make the chamber scalable for different missions.
  • Blue Origin, Marshall and Langley will evaluate and mature high-temperature materials for liquid rocket engine nozzles that could be used on lunar landers.
  • Colorado Power Electronics Inc. of Fort Collins, Colorado, will partner with Glenn to mature power processing unit technology that extends the operating range of Hall thrusters, which are primarily used on Earth-orbiting satellites and can also be used for deep space missions. By integrating their technology with NASA and commercial Hall thrusters, the company expects to provide a propulsion system that can significantly increase mission payload or extend mission durations.
  • SpaceX will work with Glenn and Marshall to advance technology needed to transfer propellant in orbit, an important step in the development of the company’s Starship space vehicle.

Other Exploration Technologies

  • Lockheed Martin will partner with Kennedy to test technologies and operations for autonomous in-space plant growth systems. Integrating robotics with plant systems could help NASA harvest plants on future platforms in deep space.

Through ACO, NASA helps reduce the development cost of technologies and accelerate the infusion of emerging commercial capabilities into space missions. As the agency embarks on its next era of exploration, STMD is focused on advancing technologies and testing new capabilities for use at the Moon that also will be critical for crewed missions to Mars.

For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

Allegiance Bank

August 1st, 2019

We Practice What We Pledge

Allegiance Bank is extremely proud to serve Houston and the surrounding counties as the region’s largest community bank. Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that all deposit dollars are invested directly into the local economy since Allegiance is exclusively focused on Houston and the surrounding area. Their niche is meeting the needs of local business owners, community organizations and residents. Allegiance Bank was founded in Houston in 2007 and currently operates 27 banking offices in and around Houston, Clear Lake, Anahuac, Dayton, Liberty and Beaumont.

The Allegiance culture depends on greater autonomy and open, honest communication. They operate with a decentralized model, which means decisions are made in the local banking offices. Allegiance customers benefit directly from working with experienced bankers who are given autonomy to make decisions in-office, which allows them to have open and honest communication with their customers. As a community bank, Allegiance chooses to get to know its customers on a personal level and pledges to give customers access to the decision makers today or sooner. Allegiance Bankers say, “It’s not what we do, but what we do together that makes the difference.”

Giving community bankers such a high level of autonomy requires a team of skilled, veteran bankers and the Clear Lake office team is led by Bill Holbert, Senior Vice President & Interim Bank Office President. James Waguespack, Barry McMahan, Leslee Farley, Libby McGee, Jay Farley, Jimmy Butcher and Clyde Hart have many years of experience and are passionate about serving the Bay Area. The Clear Lake office conveniently located at the corner of St. John Drive and NASA Parkway offers a “concierge” feel and extraordinary service. Allegiance Bank operates differently from traditional banks. Everyone who comes in gets personal attention from bankers who have a heart for service. There is no traditional drive-through banking, but customers can use the drive through ATM to make deposits, transfers and withdrawals 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The bank’s commitment to personal service also means that when someone calls the bank during business hours, they will speak to a person, not an automated phone system.

Visit Allegiance Bank and experience “The Allegiance Way.”

Bill Holbert, Senior VP & Interim Bank Office President

Bill Holbert, Senior VP & Interim Bank Office President

Jimmy Butcher, Bank Officer/Lender

Movers & Shakers: Mark Geyer

August 1st, 2019

Name: Mark Geyer

Occupation: Director, NASA Johnson Space Center

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Current home: Clear Lake

Family: Wife- Jacqueline Geyer, Daughter Samantha Berno, Son-in-law Alex Berno, Sons Russell and Andrew Geyer

My favorite writer is: John Grisham

Someone I’d like to meet: Living: Drew Brees, Past: Stan Musial

If I could switch places with someone for just one day, I’d choose: The President of the United States. Would be really interesting to see what happens up there.

My favorite performers are: Jethro Tull, Needtobreathe

I like to spend my leisure time: Spending time with my family, playing video games

If I could travel any place, I’d go to: China

My favorite meal is: German Bratwurst

As a youngster, I wanted to grow up to be: Involved in the space program

You’ll never catch me: Eating sushi

The thing that bugs me the most is: The middle seat on a long flight.

My favorite movie is: Dr. Strangelove

Few people know: I went to high school in Boise, Idaho.

America Loses a Legend With Death of Chris Kraft

August 1st, 2019

By Mary Alys Cherry

Those were the words of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein as he announced the passing of the legendary Chris Kraft, who was not only NASA’s first flight director, but a man who played a key role in helping build the Johnson Space Center and create the concept of Mission Control, which is housed in the building aptly named the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center.

Kraft died Monday, July 22, just two days after America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon, which he helped direct. He was 95.

“Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable,” Bridenstein said. His engineering talents were put to work for our nation at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, before NASA even existed, but it was his legendary work to establish mission control, as we know it, for the earliest crewed space flights that perhaps most strongly advanced our journey of discovery.

“Chris was flight director at some of the most iconic moments of space history, as humans first orbited the Earth and stepped outside of an orbiting spacecraft. For his work, he was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal by President John F. Kennedy. Chris later led the Johnson Space Center, known then as the Manned Spacecraft Center, as our human exploration work reached for new heights following the Apollo Program. We stand on his shoulders as we reach deeper into the solar system, and he will always be with us on those journeys.”

Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr. joined the NASA Space Task Group in November 1958 as NASA’s first flight director, with responsibilities that immersed him in mission procedures and challenging operational issues.

During the Apollo program, he became the director of Flight Operations, responsible for all human spaceflight mission planning, training and execution. After serving as deputy director of the center for three years, he was named JSC director in January 1972 – a post he held until his retirement in August 1982, playing a vital role in the success of the final Apollo missions, the Skylab crewed space station, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and the first flights of the space shuttle.

Kraft was born Feb. 28, 1924 in Hampton, Va. After high school, he enrolled at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI, now Virginia Tech) and enrolled in mechanical engineering in 1941 but later decided to major in aeronautical engineering. In 1944, he graduated with one of the first degrees in that field awarded by the Institute and was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor organization to NASA. He worked for over a decade in aeronautical research before being asked in 1958, when NASA was formed, to join the Space Task Group, a small team entrusted with the responsibility of putting America’s first man in space.

Kraft was invited by Robert Gilruth to become a part of a new group that was working on the problems of putting a man into orbit. Without much hesitation, he accepted the offer. When the Space Task Group was officially formed on Nov. 5, Kraft became one of the original 35 engineers to be assigned to Project Mercury, America’s man-in-space program.
As a member of the Space Task Group, Kraft was assigned to the flight operations division, which made plans and arrangements for the operation of the Mercury spacecraft during flight and for the control and monitoring of missions from the ground.

Since his retirement from NASA, Kraft has consulted for numerous companies including IBM and Rockwell International, served as a Director-at-Large of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Board of Visitors at Virginia Tech. In 2001, he published an autobiography entitled “Flight: My Life in Mission Control.” His book is a detailed discussion of his life through the end of the Apollo program, and was a New York Times bestseller.

He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal; four NASA Distinguished Service Medals; the Distinguished Alumnus Citation from Virginia Tech, in 1965; and the John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award for 1996. In 1999, he was presented the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement for which he was cited as “A driving force in the U.S. human space-flight program from its beginnings to the Space Shuttle era, a man whose accomplishments have become legendary.”

Chris Kraft married his high school sweetheart, Betty Anne Turnbull, in 1950. They have a son and a daughter, Gordon and Kristi-Anne.

Clear Lake Chatter: FLIGHT MUSEUM BLUE SKIES GALA RAISES $700,000

August 1st, 2019

Ellington Airport General Manager Arturo Manchuca and his wife, Myrna, look for their table at the Blue Skies Gala.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS from both air and space contributed more than $700,000 at this year’s “Moonstruck: 2019 Blue Skies Gala,” to support STEM-related programs and the Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington Field.

Held at The Revaire on Old Katy Road in Houston, the black-tie event drew a crowd of more than 500 supporters of the Lone Star Flight Museum’s educational mission.
KPRC-TV Ch. 2 meteorologist

Khambrel Marshall emceed the event with board member Ralph Thomas and his wife,Bette,as co-chairmen and Houston philanthropist Margaret Alkek Williams as honorary gala chairman.

Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, a former astronaut, and museum board member, joined Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Doug Owens, museum president and CEO, and Scott Rozzell, chairman of the board of directors, in recognizing special guest Gene Kranz and others who played a key role in the Apollo space program.

An inductee in the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, Krantz was a flight director during the Apollo 13 mission when the spacecraft experienced a malfunction but was safely guided back to earth. Krantz attended the gala, in part, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program and the first manned mission to land on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Flight Museum youth ambassador Marshall Calderon, from left, visits with former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz and Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, former astronaut and museum board member.

Gala patrons included the greater Houston area’s prominent philanthropists, business leaders, elected and appointed government officials, pilots, astronauts, students and others who share the belief that aviation inspires endless possibilities.

“This amazing event,” General Owens told the crowd, was made possible by the generous support of our gala co-chairs, our gala planning committee, and the gala host committee along with underwriters, table sponsors and ticket holders. I also want to thank our amazing volunteers and staff members who dedicate their time and talent day in and day out to the mission of our museum. We are committed to celebrating flight and achievements in Texas aviation as well as educating and engaging our youth through STEM, and the support we received through this amazing gala will allow us to continue with those efforts.”

Guests were treated to assorted wines, champagne, cocktails, and a gourmet three-course dinner and dancing to the music of the Richard Brown Orchestra.

Located at Ellington Airport, just 20 minutes from downtown Houston, LSFM is open Tuesday-Sunday and seven days a week all summer long. Tickets start at $9.95 with senior and military discounts. For details, visit lonestarflight.org or call 346-708-2517.

 

Guendaliwa Rotito, Maria Sumner and Missy Rorrer, from left, make a pretty picture as they mingle with the crowd at the Bay Area Museum Guild Silver Tea.

Museum Guild members a busy crowd

IF YOU RUN INTO members of the Bay Area Museum Guild this summer, and they look a bit tired, they probably are.

For them, it has been a busy spring that included four events — the annual Silver Tea, picnic, wine tasting and installation luncheon.

Many prepared food and punch for the events, while others made preparations in the museum, lining up helpers, etc. — all in an effort to brighten up our community, as they have been doing for the past 35 years.

 

Silver Tea honors Webster church

USUALLY, the Museum Guild honors some well known person at its annual Silver Tea. But this year, the Guild recognized Webster Presbyterian Church, which has been a part of the Bay Area for 126 years, showing off items from the original church – a part of which became Bay Area Museum when the new church was built back in the 80s.

Tea Co-Chairmen Jill Smitherman and Belinda Scheurich were at the door to welcome the dozens and dozens, including many Lunar Rendezvous princesses and lieutenants, who dropped by to sample the array of savories and sweets and the punch served up by Louise Russell, Diana Dornak, Cindy Kuenneke, Badiha Nassau, Gail Devens and Sally Jordan.
Among the many dropping by, we spotted Judy Raiford, Mary Williams, Michelle Holland, Kim Woods, Mary Ann Baxter, Missy Rorrer, Maria Summer, Karen McCorkle, Shirley Brasseaux, Angie Weinman, Anita Fogtman, Jill Reason and Ava Galt, to name a few.

Bay Area Houston Magazine To Sponsor Bridal Show Sept. 29

August 1st, 2019

Come join us for the 2nd Annual Bay area Bridal show on Sunday Sept. 29 from at 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Hilton NASA Clear Lake ballroom.

This show is a must for all brides, groom or anyone planning an event. The best of the Bay Area wedding vendors will be featured. The Bay Area Bridal Show is designed to be a convenient, no hassle one-stop event for wedding planning.

The focus of the Bridal Show is to provide wedded couples with the opportunity to meet any and all vendors they are looking for, and answer any questions they may have.
The bridal fashion show cocktail hour is from 4 – 5 p.m. in the majestic upstairs ballroom, and is included in the ticket price. Some of the many features include stunning wedding attire, a cash bar and entry to the wedding shower giveaway, valued at $2,000. Winners must be present to win.

Bridal experts and vendors will be there to take the stress out of wedding planning and put your mind at ease. So come and have a glass of champagne and see all the latest fashions!

Tickets are only $10 at the door (or on EventBrite)

  • Includes a glass of champagne
  • Entry to the bridal shower giveaway

Board Members

  • Chairman: David Robertson (Musical Cheers DJ)
  • Vice Chairman: Kristi Allen (His & Hers Foto)
  • Immediate Past chairman: Amy Doherty (Robinette & Company Caterers)
  • Secretary: Mackenzie Walker: (Nothing Bundt Cakes)
  • Membership: David Raciti (Darker Side DJs & Photo Booth) Jan Jordan ( Jordan Limousines)
  • Treasurer: Janice Gunnin-Wilson (Weddings by Janice)
  • Member at Large: Danielle Smith (Jill’s Fashions and Bridals)
  • Marketing: Christy Lyons (Who’s That Girl Wedding and Events)