Caltech Alum Robert Behnken to Blast Off Into History Aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on Saturday

first_img NASA astronaut and Caltech alumnus Robert Behnken (Credit: SpaceX/Ashish Sharma)UPDATE: The historic NASA/SPACEX launch has been rescheduled to Saturday due to bad weather.This week, Caltech alumnus Robert Behnken (MS ’93, PhD ’97) and fellow astronaut Douglas Hurley are scheduled to blast off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, headed for the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.The mission, dubbed Launch America, is historic: Behnken and Hurley will be the first two Americans to take off for space on an American rocket from American soil since the space shuttle program was shuttered in 2011; since that time, spacebound Americans have flown aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.Behnken, who earned his Caltech degrees in mechanical engineering, also served as chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office from 2012 to 2015. In 2014, ENGenious—the magazine of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science—spoke with Behnken at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to discuss his journey to becoming an astronaut, the impact that engineers can have on space travel, and the future of human space flight.ENGenious: What inspired you to become an engineer?Behnken: My father is a construction worker, and when I was young I saw firsthand a lot of the projects that he worked on. Whether it was pumping stations, pipelines, or something else, I was interested in all the machinery being constructed or that made the construction possible. But since I also spent some time working as a construction worker in the summertime in St. Louis, I also learned that it might be nice to have a job where air conditioning was at least sometimes available! At that age, I could do it, and it paid relatively well so it was worth the effort, but as a lifelong career, it can be quite a bit harder on your body than being an astronaut.ENGenious: How has your Caltech education influenced you?Behnken: My graduate adviser was Professor Richard Murray (Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering, BS ’85), and he espoused a hands-on approach combined with a strong theoretical background. That’s probably the thing that’s been the most valuable, being able to translate the mathematics or theory into real things. For example, when we go out for a spacewalk, someone has to understand and then manage the risk associated with the theoretical charging levels on a large structure that’s moving in low Earth orbit. We need to understand the physics behind this and what the repercussions are going to be. Practically, that translates into something very real: What is the risk of electric shock to the astronaut inside the space suit, and how do we best manage that?ENGenious: How has your Caltech experience helped in your career?Behnken: One of the things that was really brought home to me at Caltech was the importance of taking a jack-of-all-trades approach to problem solving. When it came time to do research, we didn’t have the mindset of being a specialist who only looks at one little area. If you needed to learn to write computer code, you learned how to write computer code. If you needed to build an experiment, you built an experiment. You addressed the problem from all directions and picked up whatever skills you needed to go forward on it. Those I learned from at Caltech had the perspective that you’re going to earn one advanced degree, and while maybe it’s in mechanical engineering, that shouldn’t limit you. If you need to learn electrical engineering to do your research, if you need to learn physics—learn those things. The degree you had earned shouldn’t constrain your ability to learn in any area required to address your research.ENGenious: How can Caltech medical engineers assist astronauts and the astronaut program?Behnken: Historically, the space program has been a driver for many of the medical devices that eventually became commonplace. Every time we do a spacewalk, we are instrumented to have our electrocardiogram (EKG) monitored on the ground throughout the entire event. That type of physical monitoring capability is an area that we would definitely like to expand.It is extremely cumbersome to bring samples back from the ISS. As we continue to move toward doing more biological science on board, if for example monitoring devices become implantable, we’d certainly be interested in taking advantage of them. Devices that allow us to not need to return samples would be hugely beneficial as well as medical examination equipment that crewmembers can use on their own with limited coaching from a ground team. For example, we regularly do a significant number of eye exams in orbit now because it’s been discovered that the geometry of astronauts’ eyes are changing during prolonged exposure to the ISS environment. It’s unclear if it’s due to a zero-gravity-induced fluid shift that increases intracranial pressure, carbon dioxide in the environment changing the chemistry of the blood, or some other phenomenon resulting in pressure on the back side of the eye and changing the shape of the eye and impacting the optical nerve. So we have new equipment on board to measure this phenomenon and provide the data to the investigators multiple times throughout the mission (in the past we only had the pre-flight and post-flight measurements). This is one of many biological phenomena that we need to address, many of which are resulting in new, exciting areas of research. There are of course engineering hardware challenges as well, at least as numerous as the medical challenges.ENGenious: What will it take for humans to travel deeper into space?Behnken: I mentioned the eye phenomenon that astronauts are facing right now. There are other areas from a physical-phenomenon perspective that need to be managed in preparation for a longer stay in space than we have on board the space station. The biggest challenge is the radiation environment, and as you can imagine, there are many ways to address this challenge. Adding shielding that physically protects you from that radiation environment is one solution, but spaceships can only be so big and so heavy before they are unaffordable or impractical for other reasons. There’s also a solution that takes a longer view and focuses on healing the cancer after it begins to develop. That solution could help lots of people, not just astronauts in space. A similar but a nearer-term solution is to focus on early detection of the cancer or other impacts of radiation so you have a better chance of effectively dealing with them. It’s interesting because, whether it’s medical professionals or physicists or engineers, there’s room for everyone to contribute to the ability of humans to travel deeper into space.To read the full interview, go to Community News STAFF REPORT Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week Subscribe Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Community News EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS More Cool Stuffcenter_img Top of the News faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena Science and Technology Caltech Alum Robert Behnken to Blast Off Into History Aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on Saturday By NASA/JPL-Caltech Published on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 | 7:38 pm Business News 114 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Make a comment HerbeautyA Mental Health Chatbot Which Helps People With DepressionHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyBollywood Star Transformations: 10 Year ChallengeHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyIs It Normal To Date Your BFF’s Ex?HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty9 Hollywood Divas Who Fell In Love With WomenHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty8 Easy Exotic Meals Anyone Can MakeHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWeird Types Of Massage Not Everyone Dares To TryHerbeautyHerbeauty CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday last_img read more

THE ROLLING STORE: Banks Buy-Rite owner brings back a piece of history

first_img You Might Like Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day Print Article THE ROLLING STORE: Banks Buy-Rite owner brings back a piece of history Published 3:00 am Saturday, December 9, 2017 Latest Stories Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits NEXT STEP: Lady Trojans get the 2017-2018 season off to a good start with a 6-0 record The Charles Henderson Lady Trojans have taken a step further in each of the last two state playoffs. There is… read more Sponsored Content Next Up“I had a good job but I didn’t feel like it was my calling,” Roton said. “I had always wanted to go into business for myself — to own a general store.”The phone call in July 2002 was from Chester Garrett. He owned and operated the Banks Buy-Rite and he asked Roton if he would like to buy it.“I didn’t have to think twice,” Roton said. Email the author Banks is located in rural Pike County. The population tops around 175 and the town’s claim to fame is that it’s where Hank Williams met a local girl, Audrey Sheppard, when he was playing for a medicine show. They married and Banks has that bit of local lore to its credit.“You could say Banks is a sleepy little town but it didn’t use to be,” Roton said. “It had several stores and a good bit of activity. Now, the Buy-Rite is the hub of activity in Banks.”In other places, the Banks Buy-Rite might be considered a convenience store. In Banks, it’s a general store or, some say, a country store.There’s no pop-bellied stove with pot-bellied men gathered around but it has that kind of feel.center_img Tyler, Al and John Randall Roton stand in front of their old rolling store, which serves as a way to advertise their old country store in Banks. The Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies… The Buy-Rite sells general merchandise, “needs and treats,” Roton said.And, it has a deli with some of the best chicken fingers and tater logs money can buy and homemade camp stew that sells out so fast that even money can’t buy it. Biscuits baking in the morning bring in people by the droves.Tables are nudged next to the deli and are crowded during breakfast and lunch hours with farmers, loggers, hunters in season, stay-at-home moms and anybody else with a taste for good food and stimulating conversation or just small talk.But the Banks Buy-Rite on state highway 29 is more than a general store. Some might say it’s a museum but that sounds too stuffy. The Buy-Rite is a storehouse of local lore. Antiques, old-tiques and treasured junk have prominent places around the store – on the walls, on the shelves, on the floor and, if you’re not watching your toes could get run over by a youngster cruising the aisles on an antique John Deere pedal tractor.“A lot this memorabilia is family stuff, some of it we bought and some of it was donated to us,’ Roton said of the antique displays that occupy prominent places in the Buy-Rite. “We wanted the people in the community to feel a part of the store,” Roton said. “The Buy-Rite is all about community. We spend seven days a week here and we want people in the community to feel as at-home at the Buy-Rite as we do.”Roton is passionate about the past as it applies to rural Pike County in general and, specifically to the Banks area.His son, John Randall, 24, might be even more of a Banks-buff.“I collect everything I can about Banks and the people here,” John Randall said. “I’ve got copies of newspaper articles, advertisements, old photographs, business records, just anything I can find about Banks and this area.”John Randall enjoys sitting around listening to the stories and tales that are told around the tables at the Buy-Rite.“Usually, people talk farming, weather, sports and politics and then they get off on stories about things that happened back years ago –things they know or have heard. I like listen to all that,” John Randall said.Those stories peak the interest of the young folklorist and inspire him to dig deeper into the history of the area.One area of special interest to father and son has been the rolling stores that once serviced rural routes, taking supplies to those who were unable to go into town to shop.“Back before World War II, there were about 25 rolling stores in the county,” Roton said. “The rolling stores played an important role in the county. Many people in the rural areas depended on them. It was a highly anticipated day when the rolling store was to come.”Roton said the rolling stores carried everything from canned goods to candy and kerosene.“They carried all the staples and other necessities like nails, tools, thread, whatever might be needed and some things wanted,” Roton said. “There would be an icebox for meats and ice cream. People would sometimes barter for items they needed. They would swap eggs, vegetables, and even live chickens. There was a chicken coop attached to the underside of the rolling store to put the live chickens in until the route was run.”Roton said rolling stores were a part of the romance of the era. So, he and his wife, Sheila, and sons, John Randall and Tyler, decided a rolling store was the order of the day for the Banks Buy-Rite.“We thought a rolling store would be a good way to advertise the Buy-Rite and, too, we just wanted one,” Rolling store. “Every general store needs a rolling store.”When the opportunity presented itself, the Rotons didn’t hesitate.Roton said the rolling store ran its last route around 1994 so it needs a little work and some fixing up. Just what role the rolling will store will be given, Roton said he’s not sure.“It will be parked at the Buy-Rite and we’ll drive it in parades, not so much to advertise the store but for the nostalgia of it,” he said.” Some folks will remember the rolling store and many folks have never seen one. The rolling store is a part of the history of the rural South and we want to keep that part of history alive.”And, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Roton and Sons will stock the rolling store and run a few routes every now and then. Just for old times sake.The Rotons want to keep history alive. And, when a customer rounds an aisle in they Bank Buy-Rite, they just might come face-to-face with a photograph or an artifact that peaks their interest.“Say, Al. Who’s this?” or “Where’d you come by this?”And, one of the Rotons will step around the corner with a story to share. By Jaine Treadwell Al Roton was driving down a long stretch of U.S. Highway 231. He could have been tapping the steering wheel in time to music on the radio. He had a good job with a meat packing company. His financial future was secure. Although he had no complaints about his job, something in his life was missingSo he prayed.As soon as Roton said “amen,” the phone rang and his life took a detour. He has never looked back. By The Penny Hoarder Around the WebMd: Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch)Blood Sugar BlasterIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingHave an Enlarged Prostate? Urologist Reveals: Do This Immediately (Watch)Healthier LivingWomen Only: Stretch This Muscle to Stop Bladder Leakage (Watch)Healthier LivingRemoving Moles & Skin Tags Has Never Been This EasyEssential HealthTop 4 Methods to Get Fortnite SkinsTCGThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancel Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Book Nook to reopen Plans underway for historic Pike County celebrationlast_img read more