Countdown To Mars Has Acadiana Ties
On Thursday, December 4th, at 7:05 EST, NASA will test launch the space capsule it hopes will transport astronauts to Mars in the next 25 years.
As the countdown begins to see if that vehicle is safe to transport men and women to explore the red planet, the voice heard over the monitors counting down "T-minus 10, 9, 8" and so on will be that of U.S. Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Jacob Myers from Crowley who is with the 1st Range Operations Squadron stationed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He is leading the Range Control team for this mission.
Lt. Myers says, "I am excited to be trusted with this honor and to help usher in this new era of manned spaceflight."
As for the spacecraft, it's called the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (built by Lockheed Martin) and will be carried by the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. It will take off, travel at an altitude of 3,600 miles, and orbit Earth twice (which will take about four-and-a-half hours). It will then re-enter Earth's atmosphere at a speed of about 20,000 miles per hour and land in the Pacific Ocean. Engineers, analysts and scientists will be evaluating several components of the craft as it operates, including heat shields, parachutes, and avionics. You can read about all the preparation that's gone into this project on NASA's Orion blog.
Lt. Myers is the brother of GMA anchor and 97.3 The Dawg weekend announcer Tracy Wirtz, and the uncle of 97.3 The Dawg overnight announcer Terryn Wirtz. He lives in Satellite Beach, Florida, with his wife Lauren and his two little boys, Zane and Lincoln. They are expecting another child early next year.