This month at our monthly workshop (#36!) Evidence Design (EVD) was treated to yet another interesting event in the life space shuttle Endeavour as the orbiter was opened to remove her water tanks. Project manager Dennis Jenkins posted the following newsletter refereeing to this procedure:

Greetings from Los Angeles,
The International Space Station Program requested the potable water tanks from Atlantis and Endeavour for possible future use aboard ISS. The OV-104 tanks were removed in May; OV-105 gave up her tanks this week. Here are some photos of the operation. Mark Kelly (STS-134 CDR) and Drew Feustel  (STS-134 MS3) made guest appearances while the ship was open. The removal has no affect on the outer mold line so nobody will ever know they are missing.

A great crew came from KSC to perform the work. They treated the ship with the care and respect she deserves. CollectSPACE ran a nice article

We are proceeding with the design of the new building and planning for stacking OV-105 with ET-94 and a set of boosters. Two years and counting… More info and pictures.

Congratulations to the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago (MSI)!!! Last night at the American Alliance of Museum’s annual conference, Future Energy Chicago won a Gold MUSE award, which recognizes an institution that uses Media and Technology to enhance an experience and engage an audience. “[T]he Muse awards celebrate scholarship, community, innovation, creativity, education and inclusiveness.”We are proud to have been a part of Future Energy Chicago from the beginning, collaborating the MSI team, media partners Potion Design and Donna Lawrence Productions, as well as multiple specialty consultants, to create this unique exhibit experience that uses media, interactive technology and collaborative gaming to imagine our energy future. Bravo everyone!

Hosted by Nik Honeysett, former chair of the Media and Technology Network, representatives of the Future Energy Chicago team spent an evening of irreverence and celebration at the 25th Annual MUSE awards at this year’s American Alliance of Museums  (AAM).  Shari Berman of EVD shared the event and the Gold MUSE Award  with our partner in all things daring and bold, Kurt Haunfelner, Vice President of Exhibits and Collections at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, along with Abbey Palmer of Potion Design. (You may not have recognized us in our disguises.)

We’d like to give a shout out to Mike and Doug of Awkward Family Photos. Highlights from their hugely popular website warmed up the crowd. We are now enlightened and will visit often.

The holidays are upon us, and that means presents! Engineer consultant Frank Weigand brought these Fly Ball drones to our monthly meeting—some of us are better operating them than others! And EVD brought specially made aviation chocolates by our good friends at Bon Bons Chocolatier in Huntington, Long Island (yes—this is a plug for Bon Bons).  Good times!

This month the California Science Center exhibits team performed a lighting test inside Endeavour’s flight deck to understand how the orbiter can be internally lit in the permanent exhibit. Manager of Exhibit Services David Gansen experimented with the placement of lighting strips so that the interior is visible with a diffuse glow–no glaring hot spots. He also enjoyed the distinguished view from the commander’s seat! Lucky guy.

After a long workshop session this month, a handful of us ambled over to California Science Center’s Frank Gehry building, no longer used for active exhibits but for artifact storage. We climbed around some of the Center’s vintage pieces that will return to the floor in the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, like the Police Bell Helicopter and the Bell X-1 Rocket Plane Replica, a movie prop made for “The Right Stuff.”  We got a look at rocket engines, solid rocket booster sections, and opened some boxes recently received from NASA containing CRITICAL SPACE ITEMS!

Another exciting field trip! This time we ventured to Mojave Air and Space Port,  a test center for cutting edge aerospace ventures like SpaceShipOne, which won the Ansari X Prize in 2004 for completing the first manned private spaceflight.  Now it is home to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo facility (which we visited but cannot tell you about!), the National Test Pilot School and other cool operations, and a final resting boneyard for an impressive fleet of retired aircraft. We also heard from legendary aviator Dick Rutan, who piloted the non-stop Voyager flight around the world. And on the way home we swung by the U.S. Air Force Production Flight Test Installation to ogle at some more amazing planes… a VERY full day.

Can you say The Right Stuff? Early one morning our lucky team drove across the desert to tour Edwards Air Force Base, home of cutting edge aviation and daring test pilots.  We took a look at several artifact candidates, including a  LLRV (Lunar Landing Research Vehicle)  similar to the one from which Neil Armstrong ejected during a test flight. Other highlights included seeing a Global Hawk drone and watching Senior Vice President Diane Perlov try her hand at piloting a NASA flight simulator!