You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

Launch Day, late 60s-early 70s?

My career in the aerospace industry was influenced from a young age by my father, a mechanical engineer. I remember not being able to sleep on a Christmas Eve due to the repeated thumping on the living room ceiling, which happened to be the floor of my bedroom. It turned out that it was caused by my dad and Uncle Bob playing with one of my presents, a toy launch pad with a rocket that launched pretty well.  Well enough at least to keep a 6 year old boy awake with odd noises.

In Baltimore we lived in a suburb called Lutherville, which was adjacent to another suburb called Timonium. My dad and a couple of his buddies went through a model rocket phase which led to the creation of the Lutherville-Timonium Rocket Launching And Martini Drinking Society. I was the Beer Drinking Division.

We went out several times to “launch” and the experience directly benefited my later career by training me in the acceptance of failure. Let’s just say that Rocket Science was not their strong point. The white rocket shown above was mine, and one of the few that launched successfully. BTW: that’s my dad on the left. The gentleman who is showing us his derriere is Mr. Morris. Mr. Morris had a little yellow two stage rocket that never did launch successfully. He ended up giving it to me in disgust. I never got it to go either.

Years later, while living within the Baltimore City limits, I would go next door to the high school field and launch. I think I shot a total of maybe 20 times from that site. Seven or eight of those times I had to get the local kids to climb on the roof of the school to retrieve the rocket. Three or four times I had to get the Duty Officer of the Marine Corps Reserve outfit that was next door to go on their roof for the retrieval. He wasn’t very happy with us, but he got used to it.

These were fun times that I had with my dad and his friends. This was at the beginning of my teens, a stretch of time that was, well, turbulent for all concerned. It was one last period of bonding until I emerged on the other side of being a teenager. Nowadays I’m still involved in shooting off things that go whoosh into the sky. The scale is a bit different, but the idea is the same. And just as much fun.

STS-121, July 4, 2006, KSC, FL

OK, so I haven’t been posting recently. Here are some random images from the last several months to get back into the swing of things. First up is the view from the balcony of our hotel room on Thanksgiving morning. Fog & sunrise combined to provide an interesting shot.


Lake Buena Vista, FL, 11/25/10

From our New Years camping trip, here’s a couple of critters. First up, a Sand Hill Crane with a broken leg.


Moss Park, Orange County, FL, 12/31/10

The deer came through our site twice a day.


Moss Park, Orange County, FL, 12/31/10

Moss Park, Orange County, FL, 12/31/10

Finally, another deer shot from 2 years ago. This is on the Johnson Space Center property in Houston.


JSC, TX, 1/22/09

Stay tuned…I’ll be posting more regularly.  No, really.