Tag Archives: Kingsville

Did You Know?—Deep Space Network, Goldstone Antennas, and InSight

Did you know?

I was fascinated yesterday when the InSight successfully landed on Mars. Facebook memes immediately began cropping up. This is my favorite:

Mars landing meme

When I joined the Boy Scouts in 1966 after my wise old grandmother had adopted me, I became fascinated by the stars, the clouds, the sky. Space Boy Scouts Space Exploration merit badgeexploration. The Boy Scouts’ newest merit badge was the Space Exploration merit badge, created in 1965.

I was on it.

To help me along, Gene Roddenberry created “Star Trek, debuting on television on Thursday, September 8, 1966. On Thursday nights, my wise old grandmother forced me to study or practice my violin.

School nights.

Blah.

TV Guide "Star Trek" coverFriday afternoon, though, were daytime repeats of the previous week’s shows, and TV Guide indicated that “Star Trek” would be televised at 3:30.

I was on it.

School let out at 3:00.

I was home by 3:15,
grabbed a loaf of bread,
a butter knife,
a jar of peanut butter,
a jar of jam,
and sat myself in front of the television from 3:30 to 4:30
to watch “Star Trek.”

I was mesmerized.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I have been a “Star Trek” fan my whole life.

A Trekkie.

A Trekker.

Mesmerized by space exploration television shows and movies. Books. Museums. Exhibits. Just cannot get enough of them.

St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Kingsville TexasWhen Apollo 11 landed on the moon, a landing to be televised live, I was the saddest kid in the world because the landing would be at 12:17 p.m. on Sunday. I would be in church with my wise old grandmother. I’m not sure what I did to convince her that the moon landing was more important than church on that day, but we did not go to church. I watched the moon landing, and collected Corpus Christi, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston newspapers the next day with their bold headlines and pictures. Sadly, the newspapers got left behind in April 1993 when I escaped Texas and settled in San Diego.

Corpus Christi Caller moon landing paper

When I was in Barstow, California, on July 30 & 31, 2018, the historic Harvey House railroad depot, renovated and re-purposed, had a Goldstone Deep Space Network Visitor Center and a permanent exhibit about the Deep Space Network and the Goldstone Antennas.

I was on it.

Trains at the historic Barstow rail yard took a back seat for an hour.

Deep Space Network

Goldstone Antennas

NASA’s Deep Space Network is a worldwide network of spacecraft communication facilities specificially for United States spacecraft. Russia, China, India, Japan, and the European Space Agency have similar networks. NASA’s is located in Barstow, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia.

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Each facility is located in bowl-shaped terrain surrounded by mountains to help shield against radio frequency interference. The facilities provide nearly 120-degree separation, which allows for constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates, thereby making DSN the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world. The Deep Space Operations Center is at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space is defined as more than two million kilometers from the Earth’s surface, so missions to the Moon do not qualify to use the network. Missions to Mars, however, do.

The antennas are located on government property northeast of Barstow, near Fort Irwin. According to staff at the Visitor Center, they are not visible from any roads since they are in a bowl surrounded by mountains.

Deep Space Network locations

And now, we return you to trains and the historic Barstow rail yard.

Barstow rail yard

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Google Maps Street View is kind of neat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Did you know?

 

When I first discovered Google Maps’ Street View, I was not impressed. I saw it as an invasion of privacy. Still do. However, that has not prevented me from using it for my own personal needs. Hypocritical? Probably. Nonetheless. It’s the world we live in. lol

I recently endeavoured to find all the homes that I had ever lived in. What an interesting project.

The following is the home that my parents were living in, in 1955 when I was born. It was my mom’s parents’ home in Kingsville, Texas, all the way up to the mid-1990s:

802 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville, Texas

 

This is the home in Kingsville, Texas, that we lived in ca. 1956 to 1960. At the right side of the house you see a somewhat pointed roof. That’s the living room, and there is a row of windows under the eaves. Birds would always fly into those windows, cracking the windows and killing themselves in the process.

728 Santa Barbara Drive, Kingsville, Texas

 

When my dad got a promotion with Missouri Pacific Railroad, we moved to Palestine, Texas, ca. 1959. This is where we lived until my dad killed himself in January 1961. It took me forever to find this home because no one remembered the address. I finally found a death certificate online which had the address of the home. Imagine 55 years of not knowing the address where you lived when your dad died.

302 Inwood Drive, Palestine, Texas

 

The following is where we lived in Brigham City, Utah, after my mom remarried. I lived here until December 1965 when I was shipped off to Kingsville, Texas, to live with my paternal grandparents.

301 Englewood Drive, Brigham City, Utah

 

My wise old grandmother’s house in Kingsville, Texas. I lived here from December 1965 to August 1973 when I went off to college at Texas A&M University:

420 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville, Texas

 

I helped plant those two Texas live oaks in the Spring of 1967. Nice to see that they are still there. You can see storm shutters on the windows. Granddad and I installed those after Hurricane Beulah had destroyed Kingsville in September 1967. Our house escaped with just shingles torn off the roof, although we lost the two trees that my Great Horned Owl and the Screech Owls lived in. I was so sad. Granddad built that house in 1937, and I can assure you that they don’t build them like that nowadays. By the way, I intensely disliked mowing that lawn twice a week. Explains why I’ve never had a grass lawn.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Santa Fe #3751 along the Pacific Ocean

San Diego Then & Now — #1: Today is the birthday of Ansel Adams

San Diego Then & Now

#1
Today is the birthday of Ansel Adams

I’m hoping that all the photographers reading this know who Ansel Adams is. If not, see Wikipedia.

When I was about 12 and living with my wise old grandmother in Kingsville, Texas, she had a big book on her coffee table (do people still have coffee tables?). It was titled “These We Inherit: The Parklands of America,” and it was by Ansel Adams. I thought it contained the most beautiful pictures in the world.

Adams probably is most famous for his beautiful landscape pictures and I thought that I would post my most beautiful landscape picture today in his honor. Guess what? I have about five landscape pictures, none of them particularly good! Scratch that idea.

I thought about what type of photography I would like to be known for. I couldn’t answer that question. What do I like to take pictures of the most? Ah-ha! Maybe we’re getting somewhere. My favorite photography subject is trains but the trains and the tracks are not as accessible here in San Diego as they were back in my native Texas.

Then it came to me….

A couple of years ago, Liz Flint, a real estate agent in Tomball, Texas (northwest of Houston), sent me a train calendar. As I was looking through the calendar, I saw this:

Santa Fe #3751 along the Pacific Ocean

I recognized that spot because I’ve driven over that bridge many times, and walked that beach many more times. It’s my favorite beach in San Diego — Torrey Pines State Beach. Here it is on a Google map:

Del Mar Bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach

The railroad tracks are still used, so shortly after receiving the calendar, I went out one Saturday determined to recreate the scene, albeit without a smoking steam locomotive. I got several pictures during the course of several hours; trains don’t run frequently on Saturday. The best picture I got was with Amtrak’s Surfliner:

Amtrak under the Del Mar Bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach near San Diego, California

There are about 50 years between the two pictures. If you look at the trees on the top of the hill in the background, you can see that the silhouette is still very much the same:

Torrey pines

The trees on the top of the hills are Torrey pines. San Diego is one of only two places in the world where the Torrey pine grows. The other is an island off the Southern California coast.

Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat