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Museum of Flight and LIGO

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On March 13 Night Lights co-host Bruce Fryer and I teamed up with Eastlink/Coast Cable crew Steve Sleep and Brittany Broderson and drove down to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle to capture some footage for the 4th season of our Centre’s Night Lights program. Ted Huetter, the museum’s public relations director, took us into the Space Shuttle Simulator that was used to train all Space Shuttle crews. You can still see boot marks on the sides from those crews practicing escapes from the cockpit hatches. We got footage of Saturn V engines, an Apollo capsule, a lunar ascent module, a lunar rover, and a Viking lander (the third in the series which was never launched). We got great footage inside the mid-deck and flight-deck of the simulator and lots of other shots in the cargo bay.

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Bruce Fryer standing beside a Rocketdyne F-1 engine. 5 of these massive engines sent the Saturn V rocket of the Apollo missions into space.

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Ted Huetter and Brittany Broderson checking out the mid-deck of the Space Shuttle. That ladder in the foreground goes up to the flight deck above. 

fH41UM4M_400x400The next day we went to LIGO Hanford where gravitational waves were measured for the first time in 2015. Amber Strunk, LIGO Education and Outreach Coordinator, met us at the lobby of the administration building where devices like the Weber Bar used in the past in attempts to detect these waves are displayed. We were allowed into the massive building housing the near infrared laser, the device that splits the beam to send it down the two 4-kilometer long tunnels, the interferometer and beam detector. Fortunately for us, this was a maintenance day where upgrades were being installed so workmen (and our crew) would be allowed into this secure area. This is an ultra clean area, so we had to put on booties, bouffant hair nets, and $700 laser safety glasses: The laser beam is infrared, so if it got loose in that dust free room you’d never see it before it blinded you. The vacuum in the tunnels that house the laser beams have fewer atoms per cubic meter than you’d find in outer space!

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Brittany filming Bruce interviewing Jeff, the man in charge of operations in the LIGO control room.

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Bruce, Brittany, Steve, and Charles all ready to go into the laser room with their safety goggles in place. All nerded up!

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Brittany getting “b-roll” while Amber Strunk describes the laser tunnel in the background to Steve and Bruce.

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Looking down one of the 4-kilometer long arms that house the laser beams at LIGO Hanford. That white rectangular structure you see in the distance is only the half-way house in this arm!

Charles Ennis, Past President


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