Thursday, January 17, 2013

3 Astronauts to be Inducted to Hall of Fame at K.S.C.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida -- Curt Brown, Eileen Collins and Bonnie Dunbar, Ph.D., join an elite group of American space heroes as they are inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® on Saturday, April 20, 2013, during a ceremony at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, according to a Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex news release.  They are being welcomed to the ranks of legendary space pioneers like Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Jim Lovell, Sally Ride and John Young – distinguished members of the Hall of Fame.

This induction is the twelfth group of space shuttle astronauts named to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and the first time two women will be inducted at the same time.  These retired space shuttle astronauts also share a commonality in their spaceflight history, as they each flew aboard space shuttle Atlantis during their careers.  Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex welcomes these former Atlantis astronauts to the Hall of Fame in the same year as the opening of space shuttle Atlantis’ new home.  The 90,000 square-foot interactive experience, scheduled to open in July 2013, tells the story of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program and highlights the future of space exploration.  

Earlier inductees represent the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs.   The addition of Curt Brown, a veteran of six space shuttle flights; Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot and command a space shuttle; and Bonnie Dunbar, who served as a shuttle mission specialist and payload commander, brings the number of space explorers enshrined in the Hall of Fame to 85.

Curt Brown is a retired NASA astronaut and a retired United States Air Force colonel. Brown, a veteran of six spaceflights, began his career with NASA in 1987 as a pilot and has logged more than 1,383 hours in space.  Brown’s missions aboard the space shuttle include STS-47, STS-66, STS-77, STS-85, STS-95 and STS-103.

Brown served as pilot on his first spaceflight in 1992 aboard space shuttle Endeavour.  The STS-47 Spacelab-J mission was an eight-day cooperative research between the United States and Japan focused on experiments in life and material sciences. 

Serving as pilot again aboard space shuttle Atlantis on STS-66 in November 1994, Brown assisted the crew as it performed an Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 (ATLAS-3) mission to determine the Earth's energy balance and atmospheric change over an 11-year solar cycle.

Brown’s missions into space include numerous scientific achievements.   On STS-77, his third time as pilot, Brown assisted the crew aboard space shuttle Endeavour as it performed a record number of rendezvous sequences, including the deployment and retrieval of a Spartan satellite, which carried the Inflatable Antenna Experiment designed to test the concept of large inflatable space structures.  A small Satellite Test Unit was also deployed to test the concept of self-stabilization by using aerodynamic forces and magnetic damping. 

Brown commanded a 12-day mission aboard space shuttle Discovery on his fourth spaceflight in August 1997. The focus of STS-85 was to deploy and retrieve the CRISTA-SPAS payload, operated by the Japanese Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) robotic arm.  This satellite allowed the crew to study changes in the Earth’s atmosphere and test technology destined for use on the future International Space Station.
In the fall of 1998, Brown was commander of Discovery when Senator John Glenn returned to space on STS-95.  The crew supported a variety of research payloads including deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Systems Test Platform.  A year later, Brown commanded Discovery on STS-103.  The focus of this mission was to install new instruments and upgraded systems on the Hubble Space Telescope.

During his time at NASA, Brown served as the Astronaut Office Lead of Shuttle Operations and deputy director of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate.  He retired from NASA for a position in the private sector.  He is a member of the U.S. Air Force Association, the United States Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Classic Jet Aircraft Association.

Eileen Collins is a retired NASA astronaut and a retired United States Air Force colonel.  Revered for commanding STS-114 on the Return to Flight mission following the space shuttle Columbia disaster, Collins’ career with NASA is full of accomplishments, including becoming the first woman space shuttle pilot and the first woman commander.  As a four-time spaceflight veteran, Collins logged more than 872 hours in space and her missions include STS-63, STS-84, STS-93 and STS-114. 

On her first spaceflight in 1995, Collins made history as she took the controls of Discovery on STS-63 and became the first female space shuttle pilot.  STS-63 mission highlights in space include a rendezvous between Discovery and the Russian Space Station Mir.  The crew also performed the deployment and retrieval of an astronomy satellite and completed a spacewalk.

Collins’ second spaceflight was aboard space shuttle Atlantis on STS-84, which was the sixth Shuttle-Mir docking mission for NASA.  The highlight of this mission was the transfer of the fourth U.S. crew member to the Russian space station.

In July 1999, Collins became the first woman to command a space shuttle on STS-93.  The crew aboard space shuttle Columbia deployed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, a telescope designed to conduct comprehensive studies of the universe.  This telescope has enabled scientists to study exotic phenomena such as exploding stars, quasars and black holes. 

Collins commanded a shuttle for the second time in 2005 on the Return to Flight mission following the Columbia incident.   The STS-114 crew docked the space shuttle at the International Space Station to test and evaluate new procedures for flight safety, shuttle inspection and repair techniques. 

Collins retired from NASA in 2006 to spend more time with her family and pursue other interests.  Since her retirement from NASA, Collins has worked with CNN as a space shuttle analyst, covering shuttle launches and landings.  Currently, Collins serves as an advisor to the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and as a consultant in the aerospace industry.

Five-time spaceflight veteran Bonnie Dunbar, Ph.D., is a celebrated astronaut who has received numerous honors, including NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Award in 1993 and NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal in 1998 and 1991.  During her career with NASA, she served as a mission specialist and a payload commander.  Dunbar logged 1,208 hours in space and her spaceflights include STS 61-A, STS-32, STS-50, STS-71 and STS-89.

Dunbar’s first spaceflight, STS-61A, was on space shuttle Challenger in 1985.  The payload activities of this mission were controlled from the German Space Operations Center near Munich.  As a mission specialist, Dunbar was responsible for operating the German Spacelab and performing more than 75 scientific experiments.  As a mission specialist on Columbia STS-32, Dunbar helped successfully deploy the Syncom IV-F5 satellite and retrieved the 21,400 pound Long Duration Exposure Facility using the remote manipulator system.

Dunbar’s achievements in space contributed to setting various benchmarks for NASA.  As the payload commander on STS-50 in 1992, Dunbar helped complete the first dedicated United States Micro-gravity Laboratory flight, which laid the groundwork for Space Station Freedom science operations.   The Space Station Freedom project was originally planned to be a permanently manned Earth-orbiting space station in the 1980s, but it was never constructed or completed as designed.  The Freedom project evolved into the International Space Station program.

In 1995, Dunbar flew aboard Atlantis on STS-71, the first space shuttle to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir.  As a mission specialist, Dunbar assisted with the transportation of a Spacelab module in the payload bay. This mission also involved an exchange of Mir crews.  The STS-71 crew performed medical evaluations on the returning Mir crew.  These evaluations included ascertaining the effects of weightlessness on the cardio/vascular system, the bone/muscle system, the immune system and the cardio/pulmonary system. 

On her final mission in January of 1998, Dunbar served as payload commander on STS-89, the eighth Shuttle-Mir docking mission.  The crew transferred more than 9,000 pounds of scientific equipment, logistical hardware and water from space shuttle Endeavour to Mir. Dunbar was responsible for all payload activities and conducted 23 technology and science experiments.

During her time with NASA, Dunbar served as assistant director to Johnson Space Center and deputy associate director for Biological Sciences and Applications.  Dunbar retired from NASA in September 2005 to serve as president and chief executive officer of the Seattle Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington

The 2013 inductees were selected by a committee of current Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians and journalists.  The process is administered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.  To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction year and must be retired at least five years from the NASA astronaut corps.  Candidates must be a U.S. citizen, NASA-trained, commander, pilot or mission specialist and must have orbited the earth at least once.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. Closing times vary by season.  Admission includes the Kennedy Space Center Tour, featuring an actual Saturn V moon rocket, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and all exhibits. Admission also includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® featuring the world's largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia.  Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11.  The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Commander's Club Annual Pass is $63 + tax for adults and $53 + tax for children ages 3-11.   For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation participated in creating a venue where space travelers could be remembered – the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which opened in 1990.  Today, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation serves as a consultant for the Hall of Fame, which includes conducting the selection process of astronauts for enshrinement by an outside committee.  The Foundation's mission is to aid the U.S. in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships to exceptional college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in these fields.  ASF funds twenty-eight $10,000 scholarships annually and has awarded $3.5 million to deserving students nationwide.   More than 100 astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs participate in this educational endeavor.  For more information, call 321-455-7012 or log on to

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rockledge Police Seek Suspects in Faucet Theft

ROCKLEDGE, Florida -- Rockledge Police Department is seeking information on two unidentified black males who stole four boxes of bathroom faucets on December 21, 2012 from Aquadraulics, a plumbing business located at 111 Edwards Drive, according to a news release from Public Information Officer and Specialist Michael A. Cadore Senior with the Rockledge Police Department.

The boxes of faucets were stolen from the receiving area of the business.  The two unidentified black males pictured loaded the boxes into their vehicle and drove away. 

The driver of the vehicle is described as a fairly large middle-aged black male with a shaved head and was wearing blue jeans and a black shirt.and walks with a limp.

The second individual is described as being a thinly built middle-aged or older black male wearing dark pants, a white shirt, and a green baseball cap. 

The vehicle is described as a black Nissan four door with Florida tag UB14FG, possibly an Enterprise Rental, out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Should any agency have information on identifying these subjects, Rockledge Police Department asks that you please contact Detective Quiroga at 321-690-3988 extension 3108 or email at [email protected]

Video and photos courtesy of Rockledge Police Department.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012 Space Coast Light Fest Ceremony at Wickham Park

MELBOURNE, Florida -- The 2012 Space Coast Light Fest will begin with a Grand Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 19, 2012 at Wickham Park.

The Boys Scouts of Brevard County have teamed with Brevard County Parks and Recreation to bring Brevard families this well-loved holiday tradition.

County Commissioner Andy Anderson, Chairman of Riverside District for the Central Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America, will host a reception for local officials and dignitaries that will begin at 6 p.m.   The lights are scheduled to be turned on at 6:30 p.m., officially opening the lighted drive through the park.

The Space Coast Light Fest in its 12th season will begin at 6:30 p.m. and run nightly through New Year’s Eve.  Prices are $10 per car Sunday through Thursday and $15 Friday and Saturday.  

Check out our website for discount and special event information.

For additional information, call scouting executive Shanna Michel at (321) 576-7556.

Brevard Supervisor's Reminders for Voters on Election Day

VIERA, Florida -- Brevard County Supervisor Lori Scott would like to remind Election Day voters of the following:

1. Polls are open until 7 p.m. All voters in line by 7 p.m. will be permitted to cast their ballot

2. Voters must cast their ballot in the precinct in which they legally reside

3. Voters can find their designated polling location on their Official Voter Information Card, their Sample Ballot, by calling (321) 633-2124, or by visiting the website, which includes maps and addresses for polling locations

4. Voters who arrive at the polls without a valid photo and signature I.D. or who have not completed their out-of-county address change into Brevard County prior to arriving at the polls will be allowed to vote a Provisional Ballot

5. Pursuant to Florida Law, Mail/Absentee Ballots must be returned to any one of the five Supervisor of Elections offices by 7 p.m. on Election Day

6. Election night returns can be viewed at

For additional information about the November 6th General Election, please call (321) 633-2124 or visit

Friday, November 2, 2012

Brevard's Beaches to Benefit from Emergency Declaration

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida -- In an effort to expedite the permitting and repair process for beachside property owners, Brevard County has declared a local state of emergency in response to Hurricane Sandy’s impact on its beaches.

Permitting is further streamlined by a State of Florida Emergency Final Order.  In most cases, the repair and replacement of dune crossovers damaged during Hurricane Sandy will not require a Brevard County or Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) permit.  However, unincorporated Brevard County residents must obtain a no-cost Exemption Letter from the Brevard County Natural Resources Management Office, and are required to observe the following guidelines:

  • Repairs and replacements must restore the crossover to its pre-storm configuration only.  Any expansions will require both County and FDEP approval. Please contact Wesley Cich, FDEP, at (321) 474 1627 for information regarding State permit requirements for crossover expansions.
  • If the east terminus of the crossover is overhanging the eroded beach, you may also obtain a no-cost Letter of Consistency from the Natural Resources Management Office to restore your dune with beach quality sand at your own expense.  It is unknown at this time when, or if, Brevard County will conduct any dune restoration in response to Hurricane Sandy.  If you do not wish to purchase sand, repaired crossovers should be reconstructed in such a manner that does not extend the structure further seaward than the original structure.  Extending a crossover further east to intersect the lower beach profile will require an FDEP permit and is not authorized by the County’s Exemption Letter.
  • Reconstruction of dune crossovers that were initially built without the benefit of the proper permit(s) will require a permit.  However, this will legitimize the crossover without the applicant having to pay for an after-the-fact permit fee (triple fee).
  • Unless previously permitted by the County, non-conforming portions of crossovers (e.g., sitting areas/decks that are too large, or too close to the dune) cannot be reconstructed.  The exemption letter process will allow staff to evaluate whether the proposed project is consistent with County ordinances.
  • Non-conforming, previously unpermitted crossovers constructed prior to September 1988 (with or without non-conforming attachments) can be repaired with an Exemption Letter; no permit will be required.
  • Please take before and after photographs.
  • Crossovers repairs must start after November 1, 2012, and be complete by January 31, 2013.
  • For a Brevard County Exemption Letter, please contact Darcie McGee at (321) 633-2016.
  • It is the owner’s responsibility to obtain required State permits as applicable.  The Natural Resources Management Office will forward all exemption letters to FDEP per their request.  In some cases you may be referred to FDEP prior to issuing an exemption letter from Brevard County.

Brevard Declares State of Emergency After Hurricane Sandy

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk Raises Over $7K

MELBOURNE, Florida -- Pink bra-clad ladies (and gentlemen) went out in public on Saturday, October 20, 2012 for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  Florida Institute of Technology’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) teamed with the Rotary Club of Indialantic to raise more than $7,000 through the 3.2-mile walk, which took place at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, according to a Florida Institute of Technology news release.  Captain of the joint Team Courage Heart and Soul was WBC Director Beth Gitlin, a one-year breast cancer survivor.

“This was a celebration of survivorship.  It was an occasion to express hope and our shared goal to end a disease that threatens the lives of so many people we love,” said Gitlin.

The WBC at Florida Tech is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.  It is an outreach of the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business.  The WBC provides women with opportunities, tools and connections to advance their global influence and success.  The center offers well-equipped facilities conveniently located at Florida Tech, teachers, mentors and volunteers with expertise and business knowledge, partnering with community organizations for broad outreach, and training and resources that are onsite and online to accommodate busy schedules and provide easy access.

Founded at the dawn of the Space Race in 1958, Florida Tech is the only independent, technological university in the Southeast.  The university has been named a Barron's Guide “Best Buy” in College Education, designated a Tier One Best National University in U.S. News & World Report, and is one of just nine schools in Florida lauded by the 2012 Fiske Guide to Colleges and recognized by Bloomberg Businessweek as the best college for return on investment in Florida.  A recent survey by ranks Florida Tech as the top university in Florida for salary potential.  The university offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.  Fields of study include science, engineering, aeronautics, business, humanities, mathematics, psychology, communication and education.  Additional information is available online at

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brevard Declares State of Emergency After Hurricane Sandy

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida -- Brevard County has declared a local state of emergency in response to Hurricane Sandy’s impact on its beaches, in an effort to expedite the permitting and repair process for beachside property owners.  Permitting is anticipated to be streamlined further when the State of Florida executes an Emergency Final Order for counties damaged by Hurricane Sandy to authorize specific emergency protective measures seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line.

Some private homes and structures have been damaged by erosion or are in immediate danger from bluff collapse.  There is evidence of impact to crossovers and decks and, in some cases, the dune has retreated to only a few feet from residential foundations.

Citizens should be aware that if they have a deck or dune crossover that has been undermined, it is likely a safety hazard and not stable.  If the dune has receded to within 10 feet of a home, property owners should have the home assessed for stability and to determine whether it is safe to occupy.  Finally, if a property owner wants to take immediate action by restoring the dune with beach-quality sand, the county’s Natural Resources Management Office can facilitate the permitting process and provide guidance.  The State Emergency Order is likely to delegate authority to the County to authorize debris removal from the beach and dunes, repair of the seaward end of surviving beach access structures or repair of walkovers to conform with current codes, and placement of beach-quality sand to restore damaged dunes.  To reach Brevard County Natural Resources, call (321) 633-2016.

The county’s Natural Resources Management Office and Emergency Management Office are working to ensure that all damage is identified. An initial damage assessment has been completed, and those numbers have been submitted to the State, along with a request for a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment from the state and FEMA.  This is the first step in determining whether federal assistance for public infrastructure will be available as a result of Hurricane Sandy’s impacts.

Beach erosion along Brevard’s 72 miles of coast has been preliminarily estimated at $25 million.  Losses from 14 miles of shoreline in the North and South Reach nourishment projects are approximately 18 cubic yards per foot of shoreline which will cost roughly $15 million to replace.   Along the 18 miles of Mid Reach and South Beaches shoreline, where Brevard County has constructed and maintained an engineered dune/beach project for the last 8 years, losses averaged roughly 3-4 cubic yards per foot of shoreline.  Rebuilding the engineered beach/dune in these areas will cost roughly $10.5 million.

The full assessment of the beach condition and actual damage is expected to take several days.