• You think holiday air travel sucks? Try flying while disabled. On American Airlines.

    If I could walk, I wouldn't have missed my connection.

    If I could walk, I wouldn't have been left onboard, twice, after everyone else disembarked.

    If I could walk, I wouldn't have my feet crushed, dragged under a narrow chair, as untrained staff pulled me off a plane.

    "We'll still have someone contact you," came the message, at last, after two trips in travel hell. "We don't want to lose your business and hope you won't give up on us."

    But I have given up on American Airlines. They have lost my business. I urge anybody who travels with a disability to consider any other airline.

    As a space and aviation writer, I never look forward to writing about a bad experience in the air. Those who use wheelchairs to get around know how unfriendly our friendly skies can become. But I never expected an experience as unpleasant as the one given to me by American Airlines.


  • Atlantis returns to Kennedy: a review of the space shuttle's new permanent exhibit

    "Is it still flying?"

    I have been asked that question many times. Back in 2011, I was proud to answer "yes." But the answer is now "no," which angers many in the space community, and also leads some portion of the public to believe that NASA is dead.

    That is, of course, not true. Manned spaceflight, which is what most people think of when they hear NASA, is in a lull. But fans of America's ongoing national space program point to the amazing robotics work NASA continues to do on other worlds, as well as our constant presence on the International Space Station.

    "Did that really fly in space?"

    That's the question I heard most this weekend, at the grand opening of the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex.


  • Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center: photos from opening night

    Space educator Sawyer "@thenasaman" Rosenstein, 19, might also be described as a space fan. His enthusiasm for space flight was captured in this Boing Boing feature, and shines weekly in his "Talking Space" podcast. He traveled to Florida this weekend for the opening of the new permanent exhibit of Shuttle Atlantis at KSC, and shares these photos with us back home. All images in this post are Sawyer's so ask before you re-use them. —Xeni Jardin.

    The Atlantis exhibit: 90,000 square feet, $100 million, and one precious piece of American space history. Give that to any organization and they'll come up with something pretty cool. Give it to Delaware North, the company that runs the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex, and you get one of the most impressive displays I've ever seen.

    Atlantis is displayed with quotes from the people who worked on her. There are more than 60 interactive exhibits. The orbiter steals the show. These pictures do not do the experience justice, but I hope it'll give you, Boing Boing readers, a glimpse into what was done at Kennedy. And I hope it inspires you to go and see it yourself.

    A view from underneath the model external tank and solid rocket boosters. They are impressive in size and visible for miles.

    Space history is a beautiful thing.


  • Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon

    By Sawyer Rosenstein for Boing Boing

    "It's still flying?"

    This is a question I and many of my fellow space enthusiasts have been hearing a lot lately. As the space shuttle program comes to an end, public excitement around space travel seems to be rekindled. Attention sparked up again as people heard that Space Shuttle Atlantis was preparing to launch for the last time, marking the end of the space shuttle program. But for one young person, that interest had never faded, and witnessing the shuttle's final flight became an imperative, a very personal hope and dream. That person was me. (more…)