Friday, May 30, 2008

The Bluefish vs the Riversharks!

Since I am stuck here in Connecticut for one more week, I decided to go out and support the local affiliate of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (not affiliated with Major League Baseball...), the Bridgeport Bluefish.

The Bluefish were battling their hated rivals, the Camden Riversharks.

I left in the 8th inning with the score tied 8-8. I had a great time but wasn't particularly interested in sticking around for extra innings.

Earlier in the day I went to see 2 movies...I have never in my almost 38 years seen 2 movies in the theater in one day. However, I decided to go see both the Indiana Jones movie and also Iron Man. I really enjoyed both movies, but I think Iron Man was better...What do you think?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tour of ESPN Studios

I am in Bristol, Connecticut...the home of ESPN. Today, I was privileged to have an awesome 2 hour tour of the ESPN studios.

We saw the whole place! From control rooms, audio rooms, master control rooms and yes, even the studios!

The place is so complicated and they are definitely on the cutting edge of high definition technology!

Click on the pictures to see the bigger versions.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger 1913 - 2008

Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger passed away on Sunday, May 25th at the age of 94 in Huntsville, AL

Dr. Stuhlinger was a very well respected member of Dr. Wernher von Braun's rocket team and he was one of 126 scientists who immigrated to the United States with Dr. von Braun after World War II as part of Operation Paperclip.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Stuhlinger many times over the years and found him to be a very fascinating person with a ton of interesting stories to tell...

I took these photos on April 3rd 2006 in our Marshall TV studios. We talked to Dr. Stuhlinger about his past and while the interview lasted over 2 hours, we could have talked for many more...

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Visit to Vermont...State #35

Today I decided to go to another state I have never been to before...Vermont

I drove back roads from Brattleboro to Bennington and was lucky enough to drive through Wilmington, Vermont just as their Memorial Day parade was beginning.

I decided to stop and was very moved by this small town's simple yet powerful Memorial Day parade. I truly was lucky to be there at just the right time...

In Bennington, I visited the very historical "Old First Church", where Robert Frost is buried...

I then headed to the Bennington Battle Monument to learn more about the Battle of Bennington.

Vermont is a very beautiful state where everything seems to revolve around maple syrup. Everything I bought today had maple in it...a maple soda, maple drops, maple suckers and even wine with some maple in it!

Click on the above pics to see bigger versions and if you want to see more, just click this link to see all the rest of the good pics...(I didn't put over 100 more that sucked!)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Put up or shut up...

This world we live in is an awesome creation. I look at nature calendars and wonder where those beautiful photos have been taken. I know there is more to life than Huntsville, Alabama...

My dream had always been to travel the world with my wife...experience the many wonders and sights the Earth has to offer.

Last summer we decided that we were going to fulfill our dream to go to Hawaii in May 2008. I cashed in my Delta Skymiles and began to plan our trip. I have planned dozens of trips that I had absolutely no chance of actually going's just fun to dream, but this trip was for real!

Well, events this year have sunk the Hawaii dream...for now. My wife and I are separated and rocketing towards a divorce...

I reached out to family and friends for support and found that I was not alone. I got back in touch with two college friends of mine who live in what I would consider exotic locations...Spain and Australia.

Both of them invited me to come for a visit and I decided to go to Spain this summer!

This is my chance to put up or shut up when it comes to world travel...

I am flying to Madrid on June 28th and will spend 1 week experiencing my very first European country.

In addition to exploring Madrid, I will taking a high speed train to Barcelona for a few days. The train has a top speed of 300 KPH (about 190 MPH) and will complete the 400 mile trip in 2 hours 45 minutes (with 3 stops!)

Here is a promotional video of the exact train trip I will be taking...

My time in Spain will be spent visiting museums, seeking out places of historical significance and experiencing the local culture.

I do know that I will be attending a bullfight, laying on a beach on the Mediterranean sea (which apparently is topless?) and seeing the Police in concert.

Hopefully, this is the first trip of many to experience this wonderful Earth!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rhode Island...State #34

Rhode Island...don't blink or you might miss it!

I was headed to Providence but I decided that I wanted to see the coast instead. I instructed my Garmin to set a course to Narragansett.

It was nice but not really what I was expecting...After spending a short time there, I headed down the coast.

As I stated yesterday, I really had not planned as to where I wanted to go in each state. I just drove backroads and stopped or turned when the Spirit moved me...well, I somehow ended up at Green Hill Beach and it was awesome, just what I was looking for!

If you would like to see all of the photos from my tour of Rhode Island, just click here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My 33rd State...New Hampshire.

Recently, I decided that I wanted to visit all 50 states. With today's trip to New Hampshire, I have now been to 33 states. I am not including states I have flown over...just been to personally.

I mapped a route from Brattleboro to Concord and traveled down country roads. I had no real agenda mapped out, I just went where ever the Spirit moved me.

To be honest, New Hampshire looked a lot like least Alabama in the spring. I am sure New Hampshire looks NOTHING like Alabama in the winter.

Here are a few photos I on the photos to see a bigger version.

You can see all of the pics I took on this adventure on my Flickr account.

Connecticut river separating Vermont from New Hampshire.

Sugar House in central New Hampshire.

Spofford Lake

Hennaker, New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Capitol building in Concord.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My New Love...

I have a new love in my life...

Her name is Jill...

She is the voice of my Garmin Nuvi 260...

She gets me to where I want to go and keeps me from ever getting lost.

There is no destination she can't lead me to and no corner of the U.S. that she can't lead me from.

With Jill, I feel freer than ever before!

Tomorrow, Jill and I are going for a drive through picturesque New Hampshire...

Wish me luck!

(By the way, Garmin named the voice Jill...not me.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Greetings from Connecticut

I am up in Connecticut for 17 days to shoot video of NASA's newest outreach program, a cool new exhibit that highlights NASA's plans for the future in a fun and interesting way.

Basically we are here to shoot video of the school kids as they come through. They get their picture taken either "on the Moon" or "on Mars"...of course I had to get a photo of me on Mars...

This is a lot different than documenting Ares production. It is a lot more laid back and we have a bit more free time...

Here are a few photos from the last few days...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Arena Football, Baby!

Tonight, the boys and I went to an Arena Football 2 (af2) football game. Af2 is the junior league under the main Arena Football League. A friend of mine has season tickets and had enough for me and the boys to come along. It is a very exciting game played on a smaller field. It is only 50 yards long and has big nets in the end zones to keep the ball in play. We saw our very own Tennessee Valley Vipers defeat the Florida Firecats, 50-34!

The boys had a great time, even though Kevin was fading fast in the second half...I think I should get season tickets next year...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Huntsville's Relay for Life

On May 2nd I was privileged to participate in Huntsville's annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. It is a walk to remember those who lost their battle with cancer, to encourage those currently battling cancer and to celebrate with those who have beat cancer. The event started at 7PM and went until 7AM...I was able to stay until almost 2AM. We walked, chatted and sampled the wares from all the booths set up by different teams. Each booth was either selling some service or items to help raise even more money for cancer research.

With the help of many friends and family, I was able to raise $280 and my team raised well over $1000 for cancer research. It's never too late to donate, if you feel the need...

Click on the picture below to see all of the photos from the event!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ares Quarterly Progress Report #8

The next installment of the Ares Quarterly Progress Report, which I edited a few weeks ago, has been approved and been released to the public...hope you like it!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Article about my NASA Videographer of the Year award

April 23 , 2008

Marshall TV’s James Bilbrey Garners Coveted 2007 NASA Videographer of the Year

Marshall Television Services videographer James Bilbrey garnered
one of the most coveted awards among his peers across the
agency. During ceremonies at the National Association of
Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas on April 15th, Bilbrey
was named the 2007 NASA Videographer of the Year in the
documentation category.

Although Bilbrey knew he had won something in the competition,
it wasn’t until the very last moment that the 10 year vet of
Marshall TV learned that he had secured a first place trophy.

“I just want to say how proud, happy and thrilled I am to receive
this award,” remarked Bilbrey. “I couldn't have done it without
my co-workers, Anthony Orton, Carver Myhand and Sarah Milligan
because shooting great video is a team effort.”

“We started this award as a way to recognize the talent behind
the camera, the men and women whose work becomes a part
of the history of the Agency,” Said Rodney Grubbs, NASA DTV
Program Manager. “Our judges always comment how difficult it
is for them to choose just one entry and are always impressed
by the quality work they review. Winners should be very proud
of their accomplishment--the competition is always close!”

“Marshall TV has placed in this competition since it started, and
James has previously won third and second place awards, but
I knew that it was just a matter of time before our team brought
home the first place trophy,” said Marshall TV Manager George

Bilbrey works for Honeywell Technical Services, Inc., which
operates Marshall TV under NASA’s UNITeS contract at the
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.

A very busy week

This has been a very busy week here at ATK Launch Services. We have documented the following...

1) Filling the forward (top) segment of the Ares I Solid Rocket Booster with an inert propellant...that took 36 hours.

2) Putting "plates" on top of the filled forward segment to let excess propellant "ooze" out.

3) Documenting the upgrades to the T-97 test stand, so that it can withstand the increased forces of the upcoming 5 segment Solid Rocket Booster test in April 2009.

4) "Popping" and removing the core that was in the aft (bottom) segment of the Ares I Solid Rocket Booster

5) Removal of the Silastic J from the same aft segment. I can't explain what it is, because it would take an hour...

6) Tonight we will document the removal of the "plates" on the forward segment (number 2 from above...). This propellant has been curing for 44 hours. We will also document any trimming that will be necessary.

7) Tomorrow we will shoot video of the ATK workers pouring the inhibitor on the newly cured forward segment.

The SRB work being done is all related to the new Ares I vehicle. Although the Shuttle uses SRB's, this stuff we are documenting is using new procedures and hardware developed exclusively for the Ares program.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Worn out...

It's Tuesday night and I have worked 25 hours over the last 2 days...with at least as much over the next 2 days.

The process of filling a solid rocket segment with propellant is a time consuming and labor intensive endeavor. The "clock" starts ticking when the first 3,000 pound bowl of propellant is poured. After about 46 more bowls (about 36 hours later...) are poured the segment is full. Keep in mind, this is 1 of 5 segments...

I do want to mention that this particular propellant is inert...meaning it is not live propellant.

My producer and I have to try and keep up with a first shift, a second shift and a graveyard shift. When one step is completed, they move immediately to the next step and we better be there!

We had to split our day in two both yesterday and today because we needed to shoot something early in the morning and late in the evening.

I am definitely not complaining...seeing this process is fascinating and it gives me a whole new appreciation for the solid rocket motor.

Tomorrow I will shoot video of them "popping" the core from an aft segment...sounds interesting!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Greetings from Utah (again...)

I am back in Utah for the week...we are here to document the pouring of inert propellant into the forward segment of the Ares I first stage. The propellant will be poured around the mold I talked about in a previous blog post.

Tomorrow morning at 5AM the folks at ATK Launch Services will begin pouring the first of 47 large vats of the propellant...and that's only for 1 of the 5 Ares I stages.

We have to be there at 4AM and it takes an hour to drive there from here in Ogden, I will be up at 2AM! That is still "tonight" in my book! I'll be sure and takes some pics.

Also, here is a link to the AresTV channel at YouTube. We have uploaded the first 7 Ares Quarterly Reports and number 8 should be up sometime this week. We are just waiting on final approval...