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(Wired)   Peanuts, blackjack and public urination. Nope, not a Fark party, it's the things necessary for a safe launch into space   (wired.com) divider line 22
    More: Obvious, Baikonur Cosmodrome, blackjacks, Alan Shepard, web crawler, rocket booster, Yuri Gagarin, superstitions, space missions  
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1808 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Aug 2012 at 10:56 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-11 11:08:03 PM
The peanut tradition started in the 1960s during JPL's Ranger missions, which were spacecraft designed to fly into the moon and take pictures of it. The first six Ranger spacecraft failed during launch or while leaving orbit, but on the 7th launch, someone brought peanuts into mission control, and the mission succeeded. It's been a tradition at JPL launches and landings ever since.

*facepalm* Please tell me it's just a tradition and nobody actually believes the peanuts help the rocket get into space. I might be able

The suit-up room, where astronauts must wait an hour while purging their bodies of nitrogen, contains the same recliner chairs as it did during the Apollo era.

Heh, that one could just be a budget issue.

After the shuttle orbiter was successfully transported from the Orbital Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building, the managers would provide the team with round donuts and bagels. It may have to do with the fact that these foods are round like the wheels of the shuttle transporter.

Oh, for the love of...

After a successful launch at Kennedy Space Center, the launch controllers enjoy a hearty meal of beans and cornbread. The tradition started when Former NASA Test Director Chief Norm Carlson brought in a small crock-pot of beans after the first space shuttle launch, STS-1. Here's his recipe (.pdf).

OK, that one's just a tradition, a link with the past.

Most of the rest seem to be traditions rather than good luck superstitions. I really hope a collection of highly educated scientists and engineers doesn't put any stock in magical thinking.
 
2012-08-11 11:33:52 PM

Bondith: The peanut tradition started in the 1960s ...

*facepalm* Please tell me it's just a tradition and nobody actually believes the peanuts help the rocket get into space.


Of course it's just tradition. When I was flying the U-2 back in the late 80's my navigator (a Lt Col when I was just a Capt) used to bring a box of Dunkin' Donuts in for "planning day" ... the day before a high-altitude mission. The flight crew would eat the donuts while we briefed the mission. Then on mission day I would eat scrambled eggs and a T-bone steak after getting my pre-flight physical. And one cup of coffee. Plus two pieces of rye toast with real butter. And a glass of orange juice.

It was many hours between that steak-n-eggs and the first tube of Gerber's baby food after level-off. And not a little tradition.
 
2012-08-12 12:04:02 AM

Bondith: Most of the rest seem to be traditions rather than good luck superstitions. I really hope a collection of highly educated scientists and engineers doesn't put any stock in magical thinking.


Hey man, you make your own luck.

I'm a relapsed Catholic, but my better half isn't. I carry a St. Jude medallion; blessed and everything; because it makes her happy. If she's feels that I'm safe, I don't have to worry about her being worried.
 
2012-08-12 12:15:10 AM

zato_ichi: Bondith: I really hope a collection of highly educated scientists and engineers doesn't put any stock in magical thinking.

Hey man, you make your own luck.


Not entirely. When I qualified in the Deuce I was the 330th pilot to do so...yet in spite of all that preparation and training 33 men had died in the airplane. Not all of that was lack of 'making your own luck'.

Neither was Challenger or Columbia. Not "all" of it.
 
2012-08-12 12:24:41 AM

Bondith: *facepalm* Please tell me it's just a tradition and nobody actually believes the peanuts help the rocket get into space.


It's a tradition. But do you really want to be the guy who breaks with tradition? Particularly in something as risky as spaceflight? I mean, something can go wrong and then you're the asshole who forgot the peanuts.
 
paj
2012-08-12 12:33:25 AM
The bean recipe from the linked PDF in TFA:

Successful Launch Beans:
Courtesy of Norm Carlson, former NASA Test Director Chief

Put 6 lbs. of dried Great Northern Beans in an 18-quart electric cooker.
Cut 10 lbs. of smoked ham into cubes.
Add ham and ham bones to beans.
Add ½ shaker of lemon pepper.
Add 3 lbs. chopped onions.
Add 2 stalks chopped celery.
Add 1 tsp. liquid smoke.
Cover with water and cook for at least 8 hours.
Enjoy!

Famous Launch Day Cornbread:
Martha White Self-Rising Corn Muffin Mix
Follow directions on box.
 
2012-08-12 12:43:12 AM

erveek: I mean, something can go wrong and then you're the asshole who forgot the peanuts.


Absolutely. If it is your turn to bring the peanuts - bring the farking peanuts.

I mean, it's like Pascal's Wager. The odds of it mattering are pretty much a certain no. However, if bringing peanuts is the magic beans, do you wanna be that guy?
 
2012-08-12 12:46:53 AM
What's really ironic is that peanuts are totally not welcome among racers in the automotive world.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_are_peanuts_bad_luck_in_racing
 
2012-08-12 12:47:19 AM

StoneColdAtheist: Bondith: The peanut tradition started in the 1960s ...

*facepalm* Please tell me it's just a tradition and nobody actually believes the peanuts help the rocket get into space.

Of course it's just tradition. When I was flying the U-2 back in the late 80's my navigator (a Lt Col when I was just a Capt) used to bring a box of Dunkin' Donuts in for "planning day" ... the day before a high-altitude mission. The flight crew would eat the donuts while we briefed the mission. Then on mission day I would eat scrambled eggs and a T-bone steak after getting my pre-flight physical. And one cup of coffee. Plus two pieces of rye toast with real butter. And a glass of orange juice.

It was many hours between that steak-n-eggs and the first tube of Gerber's baby food after level-off. And not a little tradition.


Okay, that, was a cool story. Bro.
 
2012-08-12 12:50:32 AM

Znuh: What's really ironic is that peanuts are totally not welcome among racers in the automotive world.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_are_peanuts_bad_luck_in_racing


That's because turning left is a solved problem.
 
2012-08-12 12:55:22 AM
NTD: "OTC?"
OTC: "OTC is Go."
NTD: "TBC?"
TBC: "TBC is Go."
NTD: "PTC?"
PTC: "PTC is Go."
NTD: "LPS?"
LPS: "LPS Go."
NTD: "Peanuts?"
PEANUTS: "Peanuts Go."
NTD: "Houston Flight?"
Houston: "Houston Flight is Go."
NTD: "MILA?"
MILA: "MILA's Go."
NTD: "STM?"
STM: "STM is go."
 
2012-08-12 01:12:32 AM

erveek: Znuh: What's really ironic is that peanuts are totally not welcome among racers in the automotive world.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_are_peanuts_bad_luck_in_racing

That's because turning left is a solved problem.


I definitely LOL'd.
 
2012-08-12 01:12:40 AM
I

What Plants Crave: NTD: "OTC?"
OTC: "OTC is Go."
NTD: "TBC?"
TBC: "TBC is Go."
NTD: "PTC?"
PTC: "PTC is Go."
NTD: "LPS?"
LPS: "LPS Go."
NTD: "Peanuts?"
PEANUTS: "Peanuts Go."
NTD: "Houston Flight?"
Houston: "Houston Flight is Go."
NTD: "MILA?"
MILA: "MILA's Go."
NTD: "STM?"
STM: "STM is go."


If they had done a scene like that in the movie, heads would have exploded.
 
2012-08-12 01:51:59 AM

What Plants Crave: NTD: "OTC?"
OTC: "OTC is Go."
NTD: "TBC?"
TBC: "TBC is Go."
NTD: "PTC?"
PTC: "PTC is Go."
NTD: "LPS?"
LPS: "LPS Go."
NTD: "Peanuts?"
PEANUTS: "Peanuts Go."
NTD: "Houston Flight?"
Houston: "Houston Flight is Go."
NTD: "MILA?"
MILA: "MILA's Go."
NTD: "STM?"
STM: "STM is go."


*someone* needs to get this idea to NASA. it must become part of the flight readness poll for the next major probe that NASA/JPL pull off for the lulz if nothing else.
 
2012-08-12 04:05:27 AM

StoneColdAtheist: zato_ichi: Bondith: I really hope a collection of highly educated scientists and engineers doesn't put any stock in magical thinking.

Hey man, you make your own luck.

Not entirely. When I qualified in the Deuce I was the 330th pilot to do so...yet in spite of all that preparation and training 33 men had died in the airplane. Not all of that was lack of 'making your own luck'.

Neither was Challenger or Columbia. Not "all" of it.


I get where you are coming from. My point is if your mind is at ease from performing a ritual, or rubbing on some talisman, then your mind is centered on the task it needs to be focused on.
 
2012-08-12 08:53:02 AM
FORD PREFECT:
I bought some peanuts.

ARTHUR DENT:
What?!

FORD PREFECT:
If you've never been through a matter transference beam before, you've probably lost some salt and protein. The beer you had should've cushioned your system a bit. How are you feeling?

ARTHUR DENT:
Like a military academy - bits of me keep on passing out.
 
2012-08-12 09:49:45 AM
I'm gonna start my own space mission! In fact, forget the peanuts and blackjack!
 
2012-08-12 10:03:46 AM

Bondith: I really hope a collection of highly educated scientists and engineers doesn't put any stock in magical thinking.


You're probably just better than all of them.
 
2012-08-12 11:10:51 AM

whooter: StoneColdAtheist: It was many hours between that steak-n-eggs and the first tube of Gerber's baby food after level-off. And not a little tradition.

Okay, that, was a cool story. Bro.


Thanks...and while I belong to several informal U-2 "clubs", I'm pleased to say that the "Strato-Shiaters Club" is not among them. ;^)

zato_ichi: StoneColdAtheist: Not entirely. When I qualified in the Deuce I was the 330th pilot to do so...yet in spite of all that preparation and training 33 men had died in the airplane. Not all of that was lack of 'making your own luck'.

I get where you are coming from. My point is if your mind is at ease from performing a ritual, or rubbing on some talisman, then your mind is centered on the task it needs to be focused on.


Fair enough. I always thought of the little rituals as equal parts process control and stress relief. You mentally click off pre-mission milestones by completing tasks in a certain prescribed order, with any deviation being like a mental splinter, serving to highlight that something was missed. This approach extended even to how one said things, like, "Ground Control, Piñon 51 engine start.", not "Ground Control, Piñon 51 starting engine." The example may seem trivial, but IIRC the actual checklist is titled, "Engine Start Checklist", and fanatical adherence to the exact language of checklists 'challenge & response' items helps reduce errors and ambiguities during high-stress inflight situations.

The 'useless little rituals' also reinforce the team element of a large, complex operation like a space launch. By having a serving of beans and cornbread, the launch team individual members are cementing their commitment to each other in a very primal and fundamental way. It's not so different to a paleo hunter who threw the killing spear ritually sharing the heart or liver of the beast with the other hunters. In so doing he acknowledges their critical support and communicates that next time it may well be he who has the supporting role.

We may be talking about flying in and near space, but at heart we are still hunter-gatherers in many ways.
 
2012-08-12 02:37:39 PM

zato_ichi: StoneColdAtheist: zato_ichi: Bondith: I really hope a collection of highly educated scientists and engineers doesn't put any stock in magical thinking.

Hey man, you make your own luck.

Not entirely. When I qualified in the Deuce I was the 330th pilot to do so...yet in spite of all that preparation and training 33 men had died in the airplane. Not all of that was lack of 'making your own luck'.

Neither was Challenger or Columbia. Not "all" of it.

I get where you are coming from. My point is if your mind is at ease from performing a ritual, or rubbing on some talisman, then your mind is centered on the task it needs to be focused on.


OK, that I'll buy, along with StoneColdAtheist's post immediately above this one. That makes a lot more sense, especially the part about exact use of language.
 
2012-08-12 03:09:19 PM
On their way to the launch, Russian cosmonauts are known to urinate on the right rear wheel of their transfer bus, an act supposedly performed by Yuri Gagarin. Female cosmonauts are excused, but certain women have been known to carry vials of their urine to spill in solidarity.

Only two Soviet women and one post-Soviet Russian woman have ever launched into space. None in the last 18 years. The last one subsequently flew on a U.S. shuttle 15 years ago.

Other women have been launched by Russia as recently as 2010 but they were American astronauts, paying passengers such as Anousheh Ansari and/or from other countries.
 
2012-08-13 08:49:53 AM
I must say, the Russian rituals seem much more interesting and reverential.
 
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