My rocket club had a launch over the weekend. I organized some contest events which were held during this launch. High winds caused the Saturday portion to be cancelled, so we were only out on Sunday. Turn out was rather light due to this. Hopefully more people will participate in our next contest.

There are a bunch of photographs of the launch here.

Happy Yuri’s Night!

On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space. Many people celebrate this aniversery by hosting parties around the world. You can look for one near you on the Yuri’s Night website.

Instead of hosting a party myself, I am posting some related photographs from my recent trip to the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This first photo is the exterior of where Yuri Gagarin stayed before his historic launch.

We were able to spend a brief time inside this building. It has been turned into a small museum of sorts. On display are the bed Yuri slept in, one of his uniforms, and a phone which was connected directly to the Kremlin.

One the highlights of our trip was visiting the launch pad. This is where many of space exploration’s milestones started including Sputnik 1 (first satellite), Laika (first dog in space), and Valentina Tereshkova (first woman in space). In a far cry from the tours at Kennedy Space Center, we were allowed to walk around on this amazing location.

The launcher itself has some designations to commemorate many of these flights. Here is a closeup view of the one for Yuri‘s launch.

The audio guy at my company enjoys growing plants. He is hoping to start a small business selling items he has grown. This year he offered to obtain trees for anyone who wished to buy them. We decided to purchase two.

The first one is a fruit cocktail tree. It will eventually grow six separate types of fruit: nectarines, peaches, plums, and apricots. I do not recall the exact variety of each fruit right now.

We also ordered a 5-on-1 Dwarf Pear tree. This one will grow five different types of pears: Bartlett, Kieffer, Moonglow, Orient and Ayre.

You can see the plastic fencing I placed around our pear tree. The information we received with the trees said rabbits will eat young fruit trees. As mentioned previously, there are some rabbits which live in our neighborhood.

While outside with a camera, I took a couple pictures of wildflowers growing in our backyard. I have been mowing around them since they add some attractive color. The first picture is of a bluebonnet.

The other picture takes advantage of back lighting to obtain some interesting shadows. This is my first attempt to utilize that technique.