NASA astronaut Jeanette EppsCredits: NASA
NASA has assigned astronaut Jeanette Epps to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, the first operational crewed flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station.
Epps will join NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada for a six-month expedition planned for a launch in 2021 to the orbiting space laboratory. The flight will follow NASA certification after a successful uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 and Crew Flight Test with astronauts.
The spaceflight will be the first for Epps, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 from LeMoyne College in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She completed a master’s degree in science in 1994 and a doctorate in aerospace engineering in 2000, both from the University of Maryland, College Park.
While earning her doctorate, Epps was a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow, authoring several journal and conference articles on her research. After completing graduate school, she worked in a research laboratory for more than two years, co-authoring several patents, before the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruited her. She spent seven years as a CIA technical intelligence officer before her selection as a member of the 2009 astronaut class.
NASA assigned Williams and Cassada to the Starliner-1 mission in August 2018. The spaceflight will be the first for Cassada and third for Williams, who spent long-duration stays aboard the space station on Expeditions 14/15 and 32/33.
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying crews to low-Earth orbit and to the space station. Commercial transportation to and from the station will provide expanded utility, additional research time and broader opportunities for discovery on the orbital outpost.
For nearly 20 years, the station has served as a critical testbed for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight. As commercial companies focus on providing human transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA will concentrate its focus on building spacecraft and rockets for deep-space missions.
(Astronaut Jeanette Epps is slated to soon be the first black woman to live on the International Space Station. She would have made history earlier in 2018 as the first Black woman to live on the ISS, but was later reassigned for undisclosed reasons.)
Follow Epps on social media at: https://twitter.com/Astro_Jeanette
Disneyland Resort Continues its Legendary Comeback with the Return of Expanded ‘Celebrate Gospel!’
– ‘Main Street Electrical Parade’ will light up Disneyland Park this spring for the parade’s 50th anniversary
– Fan-favorites ‘Fantasmic!’, ‘World of Color’ and ‘Disneyland Forever’ fireworks spectacular return this spring
– Lunar New Year event begins Jan. 21, 2022
– ‘Celebrate Gospel!’ expands in February with live choir performances
– More reasons to visit: Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival and the return of ‘Tale of the Lion King’
The Disneyland Resort is celebrating 2022 with the thrills, magic, fun and adventure that have made the “Happiest Place on Earth” one of the most popular family vacation destinations on the planet. In spring 2022, the imaginative “Main Street Electrical Parade” will light up Disneyland Park for the iconic parade’s 50th anniversary year, and guests will be treated to the return of three nighttime spectaculars: “Fantasmic!”, “World of Color” and the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular.
Throughout 2022, the Disneyland Resort will be the place for friends and families to make memories together, for little ones to see a favorite Disney character, for foodies to savor a splendid meal or Disney treats, and for seasoned park-goers to begin their next adventures. The choices range from exciting attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to captivating entertainment, limited-time festivals and seasonal celebrations for Halloween in the Fall and for Holidays beginning in November.
At Disney California Adventure Park, Avengers Campus continues to be a popular destination. Guests are coming to the aid of Peter Parker on WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure and becoming warrior allies with the Dora Milaje, while heroic encounters have included Loki, Black Panther, Black Widow, Ant Man and The Wasp. Festivals return to this park in spring of 2022 with Lunar New Year celebration and Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival.
In addition, guests will find plenty of Disney magic at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort, along with new shops and popular dining locations at the Downtown Disney District.
Disneyland Resort Nighttime Spectaculars are returning in Spring 2022!
Guests at the Disneyland Resort will be thrilled to once again enjoy some favorite nighttime spectaculars, beginning this spring.
- “Main Street Electrical Parade”: When Disney’s classic electrical parade makes its grand return to Disneyland Park, this spectacular pageant of nighttime magic and imagination will be led by the iconic train and drum unit featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy, proclaiming in lights: “Disneyland Presents – Main Street Electrical Parade.” The parade brings back many guest favorites including Elliot the Dragon and floats from “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella” and “Peter Pan.”
- “Fantasmic!” has been a “must-see” show at Disneyland for nearly 30 years. Disney’s longest-running nighttime spectacular is an emotional extravaganza of colorful Disney animated film images, choreographed to an exciting musical score and highlighted by the fire-breathing Maleficent Dragon. The waters of the Rivers of America come alive as Mickey Mouse’s power of imagination enables him to create fantastic events and images as seen in classic Disney films like “Fantasia,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Little Mermaid” and more.
- “World of Color” is a unique combination of music, fire, fog and laser effects, with Disney animation projected on an immense screen of water. This unforgettable kaleidoscope of color at Disney California Adventure celebrates the magic and fun of Disney and Pixar – all set to a soaring soundtrack. Audiences are immersed in some favorite Disney stories with memorable sequences of animation and music, including scenes like WALL-E and Eve zipping through the cosmos and Pocahontas exploring just around the riverbend.
- “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular: “Disneyland Forever” is a sky-high celebration filled with sparkling pyrotechnics and immersive projections that envelop guests in a breathtaking journey with surprising special effects. Main Street, U.S.A., and a few other spots in Disneyland become a magical canvas as guests are swept into a world of dreams, from flying above the London skyline with “Peter Pan” to a dance with King Louie in “The Jungle Book.” The inspiring closing song is “Kiss Goodnight.”
Exciting entertainment at Disneyland Park
“Celebrate Gospel!”: Disneyland Resort will celebrate the soulful spirit of Gospel music with the return of “Celebrate Gospel!” For 2022, “Celebrate Gospel!” will expand and feature live choir performances, each sharing its own distinctive style and inspiration. This powerful event moves to the Fantasyland Theater at Disneyland Park where guests will be able to enjoy uplifting choir performances on select days during the month of February. “Celebrate Gospel!” is offered as part of the Disneyland Park experience. More details will be shared soon on the Disney Parks Blog.
“Tale of the Lion King”: The Fantasyland Theater at Disneyland soon will become home to “Tale of the Lion King,” an imaginative adaptation of Disney’s “The Lion King.” A hit with guests when it debuted in 2019, “Tale of the Lion King” is brought to life by the Storytellers of the Pride Lands, a troupe of traveling performers who present Simba’s beloved and timeless journey in a unique story-theater style with live music and dance.
Festivals and more at Disney California Adventure
Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure is a joyous celebration that commemorates traditions of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures. The festival is filled with multicultural performances, kid-friendly crafts, culinary delights, beautiful décor, celebratory merchandise and live musical entertainment, from Jan. 21 through Feb. 13, 2022.
It’s the Year of the Tiger in 2022 and Tigger will join in on the fun, along with beloved Disney characters including Mulan and Mushu, Mickey and Minnie, and the Three Little Pigs – all donning their festive attire. Cherished Lunar New Year traditions include the Lucky Wishes Wall and “Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession,” a performance that honors family, friendship, and the potential for a fortune-filled new year.
Adding to the excitement, Raya from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ film “Raya and the Last Dragon” will make her first appearance at Disneyland Resort during the celebration. Guests are invited to welcome Raya and catch a glimpse of the glistening dragon gem among the blooming Kumandran flowers, nestled deep in the heart of the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
The Sip and Savor Pass* will be available for select food and non-alcoholic beverages at participating Lunar New Year marketplaces, all featuring delicious Asian cuisine.
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival returns in 2022 with its unique “tour” of California regions and neighborhoods, from March 4-April 26, 2022. This festival is a showcase for delicious fare, vibrant entertainment, festival merchandise and even time with Chef Goofy.
A dozen festival marketplaces will offer mouthwatering bites and beverages for every palate. Complimentary culinary demonstrations with visiting, local, celebrity and Disney chefs will return for park guests to enjoy on Saturdays and Sundays during the festival. To further enhance the festival experience, guests may book and purchase signature events such as the Carthay Circle Winemaker Receptions, and the Wine, Beer and Mixology Education & Tasting Seminars.
Guests may purchase a Sip and Savor Pass* for the festival’s marketplace offerings.
Additional details about the upcoming Lunar New Year celebration and Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival will be shared soon on Disneyland.com.
Cars Land turns 10: The year 2022 is a time to celebrate unforgettable milestones at the Disneyland Resort, including the 10th anniversary of a major expansion at Disney California Adventure. On June 15, 2012, the first guests strolled along the new Buena Vista Street, with shops, architecture and theming reminiscent of Los Angeles in the late 1920s/early 1930s. Guests also discovered Cars Land, where “car” residents like Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater cruise along Route 66 in Radiator Springs. The grand new attraction in the land, Radiator Springs Racers, has become as popular as the blockbuster “Cars” films from Disney and Pixar.
Disneyland After Dark limited-time events
Disneyland After Dark** events return with more “Nites” of after-hours fun on select nights in 2022. Sweethearts’ Nite will be presented on five evenings in February at Disneyland, Villains Nite on two evenings in March at Disney California Adventure, and Star Wars Nite on three evenings in May at Disneyland, including the eve of May the 4th. That’s more nights than ever before for these limited-time events that have unique themes, character experiences, special nighttime entertainment and more. Tickets are limited and will be available at Disneyland.com/DisneylandAfterDark, with sales for Sweethearts’ Nite beginning Dec. 9, 2021, and sales for Villains Nite and Star Wars Nite beginning Jan. 11, 2022.
New shops and new plans for Downtown Disney District
Downtown Disney District continues its evolution as a premiere venue for innovative shopping, dining and entertainment experiences.
Specialty retailers Pelé Soccer and Lovepop will soon be opening shops in Downtown Disney District. Pelé Socceris a stadium-themed store offering soccer gear from renowned global sports brands and national team jerseys from around the world at a shop named after Pelé, the legendary Brazilian superstar.Lovepop offers eye-catching, 3D pop-up cards and gifts that take paper art to new heights. Created by two ship designers, Lovepop combines engineering and modern technology with the ancient art form of kirigami, a variation of origami that intricately cuts paper rather than folding.
Post 21 is a new Black-owned, woman-owned retailer offering curated modern and design-forward merchandise from Black-owned businesses, including products for family, home, gifting and more. Guests will find this specialty kiosk between the World of Disney and Starbucks.
Continuing the momentum that began in 2018, a multi-year project will begin in January 2022 with plans to transform the former AMC Theatres building and adjacent area into a stunning new lifestyle space. Drawing inspiration from Southern California mid-century modern architecture, the area will be a beautiful blend of vibrant color palettes, multi-cultural design elements and patterns, an open lawn for relaxation and future events, and an even broader collection of dining and shopping.
Reimagining work at Mickey’s Toontown begins in 2022
At Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland Park, Imagineers will be working next year to reimagine the land with some all-new experiences for families and young children that will feature new play experiences, as well as open, grassy spaces. Those are expected to open in 2023, along with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
About the Disneyland Resort
The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprising unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club units; the magical, 973-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” theme. For information on attractions and vacations at the Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents. Located in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort opened July 17, 1955. Open daily, year-round.
Guests are encouraged to visit Disneyland.com/updates for important information to know before visiting the Disneyland Resort, including updates on required face coverings and having a reservation for each park ticket. To enter a theme park, guests (ages 3 and older) will need a valid ticket and a theme park reservation for the same day and same park they want to visit.
*A Sip & Savor pass will be valid only for the specific event where it was purchased. A pass will not be valid at any other event or at any other time, other than the event and dates specified on the pass. Passes are nonrefundable, nontransferable, may not be redeemed for cash, and are subject to other restrictions, and change or cancellation without notice. Passes are not valid for theme park admission. Valid park admission and park reservation for the same park on the same date are required for park entry.
**Certain attractions, experiences, and offerings will not be available during the events. Please check the event’s webpage for updated information. Available experiences, attractions, and offerings may be modified and limited in availability, and are subject to restrictions, and change or cancellation without notice. No refunds given for any changes or cancellations whether due to inclement weather or otherwise. The number of tickets available for each event are limited, and event tickets are valid only for the specific event date and hours. Parking fees are not included in the ticket price. Tickets must be purchased online and are not available on the day of the event. Limit eight (8) tickets per person, per event date, and no discounts apply. Tickets not required for guests ages 2 and under. Tickets are non-transferable, non-refundable and may not be resold or transferred for commercial use. Costumes are subject to Disney guidelines and should not be obstructive or offensive; please check special event costume guidelines at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/faq/parks/dress/ for restrictions. Offer, event and event elements are subject to restrictions, change or cancellation without notice.
US Navy’s First Black Female Tactical Air Pilot Earns Wings of Gold in Texas
The U.S. Navy’s first Black female tactical air (TACAIR) pilot received her Wings of Gold July 31, marking a significant milestone for Naval Aviation.
Virginia native Lt. j.g. Madeline G. Swegle was designated a naval aviator and received her Wings of Gold with 25 classmates during a small ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas.
Swegle is assigned to the “Redhawks” of Training Squadron (VT) 21 under Training Air Wing 2 at NAS Kingsville and completed her final undergraduate TACAIR training flight in a T-45C Goshawk jet trainer aircraft July 7. VT-21 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Matthew Maher presented Wings of Gold to each of his graduates during the ceremony.
Amidst the Navy’s response to the global pandemic, instructors and students adjusted to COVID-19 spread mitigation measures including sterilizing surfaces, wearing masks, and social distancing when practical. Despite these challenges, this is the largest graduating class of strike aviators in almost a decade.
Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff oversees all undergraduate flight training from the command headquarters at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.
“We are all incredibly proud of Lt. j.g Swegle and the entire class,” Westendorff said. “This is a wonderful personal achievement but also a testament to their dedication and drive to succeed in the tactical air training pipeline. I wish them all every success at the next level learning to fly our fleet aircraft.” [
A 2017 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Swegle reported to Naval Aviation Schools Command at NAS Pensacola, Florida, where she completed Initial Flight Screening and Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. She completed Primary flight training with the “Boomers” of VT-27 at NAS Corpus Christi, and after selecting the TACAIR, or Strike, pipeline, Swegle progressed to Intermediate and Advanced training with VT-21.
Swegle is part of a new generation of TACAIR pilots to qualify on state-of-the art Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) unique to aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78): the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG). She completed carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast, May 20.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet,” Swegle said. “It would’ve been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it’s encouraging to other people.”
Chief of Legislative Affairs Rear Adm. Sara Joyner, a career naval aviator, served as guest speaker for the ceremony via teleconference.
“I’m incredibly proud of Lt. j.g. Swegle and her classmates and am excited to welcome them all to the fleet,” Joyner said. “There’s more work to do to make sure that we recruit, train and retain a diverse force that represents the best and brightest of this nation. Everything in Naval Aviation requires teamwork, and you will be judged by your professionalism, demonstrated capability, and leadership.”
Swegle and her classmates will advance to graduate-level flight training at their respective fleet replacement squadrons. Specific platform selection for the TACAIR training pipeline (F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, or F-35C Lightning II) typically occurs shortly before the winging ceremony. Swegle will report to the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 at NAS Whidbey Island in Washington to begin training as an EA-18G Growler pilot. VAQ-129 trains new naval aviators, naval flight officers, and naval aircrewmen in electronic warfare tactics, techniques, and procedures in preparation for their fleet assignments.
Swegle follows in the footsteps of Brenda E. Robinson, the Navy’s first African American female naval aviator. Robinson earned her Wings of Gold June 6, 1980 and was the 42nd woman to be designated a naval aviator.
“Lt. j.g. Swegle has proven to be a courageous trailblazer,” Commander, Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe “Bullet” Miller III said. “She has joined a select group of people who earned Wings of Gold and answered the call to defend our nation from the air. The diversity of that group—with differences in background, skill and thought—makes us a stronger fighting force.”
Chief of Naval Air Training trains the world’s finest combat quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it matters, when it matters.
(U.S. Navy video by Austin Rooney/released)
Former Mathematician and “Hidden Figure” Katherine Johnson Passed
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