Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mars!



What an amazing thing to see such a clear high rez photo from another planet.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seven Minutes In Space!

Check out a great article on KCET Art Bound by Shana Nys Dambrot.  She dropped by my studio and we chatted about being the first artist in space, robots, and other futuristic things.

The model of the White Knight II and Space Ship II was very useful in describing how the flight actually works.  Every time I tell the tale it gets me more excited for the event, which is still probably about 2 years away.  Check out the article, hopefully there will be more interesting space news as the year goes on.  The photo was taken by the ultra talented Eric Minh Swenson.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Barron's Magazine An Animation Artist In Space.

Writing is not my thing.  The blog is as close as I get, that said I was given the opportunity by Ed Finn the editor of Barron's Magazine to write a piece about my trip to space with Virgin Galactic.  I was more then happy to give it shot, but a bit daunted by the task since I am not a writer.  More then then that I find writing to be difficult, the writers I work with in my industry are so talented funny and smart I couldn't even compare what I have done to the work they do.



It helped that at the time I was laid up with a broken leg and had some time to focus on a new task.   Also I created an illustration to go with the piece.  From a pencil sketch and finished in digital using the same techniques that I use with acrylic paints.  Pick up the latest issue or read it online here enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Virgin Galactic Mission Control.




While in London I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to finally meet some of the Virgin Galactic staff at Mission Control.  Gemma was there to greet me and my wife Lisa and give us the grand tour.

You can't walk more then a few feet until you run into something cool, I wanted to swipe this but it was a bit too big to hide under my jacket.

Gemma shows us the finer points of the Space Port in New Mexico.  This is just a computer rendering but it is built and spectacular.

The lens wasn't quite wide enough to fit in the whole slogan "Space Is Virgin Territory".  Along with Gemma and another amazing model of Space Ship Two.  This year will be busy for the Virgin Galactic team, hopefully more to report soon....




Wednesday, February 5, 2014

LET'S START 2014.

2014 is up and running.  The most exciting bit of space news was the third powered flight of Space Ship Two.  One more step closer to going to space.  I understand that VG plans on starting the commercial flights by the end of this year.   Also towards the end of last year I received this amazing model of the Knight One and Space Ship Two.  After all these years I am still such a model geek this was the perfect gift for me.



 Later this spring we are going on a trip to London, while I'm there I am excited to visit Virgin Galactic Mission Control this should be an amazing experience.   Also for those who have asked my recent broken leg should not effect my space flight at all.   Considering I'll be back to walking and completely normal activity by June that should be enough time.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Amazing Astronaut Weekend.

If you have not heard of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation it an amazing organazation started by the Mercury 7 astronauts.  They have an annual event to raise money every Nov there's an autograph show, lectures, dinners and other events where you get to hang out with astronauts.  These guys are my heros and the idea of getting to drink and talk with them is amazing!


I just got back from the latest event and saw the new Space Shuttle Atlantis on display.
You get to be unbelevebly close to it.



The Gemini 9 capsule was the other thing I really wanted to see.  I've always been facinated with the Gemini program and all the things they acomplished to make Apollo possible.

Love the controls!

Later that night at the big fancy dinner we were treated to Eugene Cernan, Richard Gordon and flight nurse Dee O' Hara share their stories about the Gemini program.



Some guy stood up right when I took the picture and blocked Gene Cernan.  I wanted to get autographs  of Cernan and Tom Staford the crew Gemini 9 it turned out Titan rocket models in the middle of the table were signed by both of them and for sale!  SOLD!  I had to get it.



Our table was hosted by Space Shuttle pilot Greg Johnson.


Then I got to meet Gene Cernan Gemini 9 and last man on the moon!

 And Richard Gordon, Gemini 11 and Apollo 12.

Earlier that day we took a tour of the cape and went to the original launch site of the Freedom 7 capsule back in May of 61.  This is the flight that was close to what the Virgin Galactic flight will be.  Wow how far we have come.   There hasn't been any new training or experiences to report I know that NBC announced they will be covering Richard Branson's first flight with his two kids next year.  I can't wait to see that!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A REAL ASTRONAUT?

An Astronauts Guide To Life On Earth is my latest favorite book. Written by Col Chris Hadfield it his journey from when his was a boy in Canada watching the moon landing to becoming an astronaut and all of the work and dedication in between.

In the book he refers to people like me who are going on paid space tourism flights as "Space flight participants"  as opposed to full fledged astronauts.  The definition of an astronaut used to be a person trained to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member on a spacecraft.  In 2004 a new category was created for the commercial space traveler by the FAI ( Fédération Aéronautique Internationale ) the world governing body who decides what the criteria is for going into space.  The FAI code recognizes any flights that exceed an altitude of 100 Kilometers or 62 Miles the participants are awarded astronaut wings.  So technically I will be an astronaut when I do go, but I could never with a straight face say that when compared to people the go through years of training and a lifetime of dedication to achieve that goal. 

That said just the chance to taste a little bit of what these men got to experience would be amazing.
Last November my friend Don Asher and I participated in the Astronaut Scholar Ship Foundations annual fund raising dinner.  One of the memorable moments was the photo with 10 Apollo Astronauts, 6 of them moon walkers.  Top row L to R: James McDivitt, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke, Edgar Mitchell, Richard Gordon. Bottom row L to R Buzz Aldrin, Tom Stafford, Eugene Cernan, Don Asher,  Me, Alan Bean and Fred Haise.  An amazing group to be standing in the middle of.

I would just feel too self conscience and like a poser to go around saying I'm an astronaut.  So maybe I'll just go with a simpler idea of just experiencing the dream flying into space, just for a moment.