A local classical composer is preparing to blast off for the world premiere of his newest symphony.
The suite “Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony” will be performed for the first time by the National Philharmonic at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday (May 11).
Composer Henry Dehlinger, who was born in San Francisco but now lives in Oakton, was commissioned to develop the piece for the orchestra as part of an ongoing collaboration with NASA for the 2022-2023 concert season, according to a press release.
A second performance is scheduled for May 13 at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda.
“Cosmic Cycles is a dream project because it bridges the gap between art and science,” Dehlinger said. “Together with two of D.C.’s biggest stars — NASA and NatPhil — we’re taking the audience on an exploration of the universe through an immersive experience that combines symphonic music and visual storytelling.”
Known for choral music and jazz arrangements as well as symphonic works, Dehlinger previously worked with NASA on “Return to the Moon,” a brass fanfare that debuted with the March 12, 2022 rollout of the main Artemis I launch vehicle for the agency’s new lunar program.
The National Philharmonic has also collaborated with NASA in the past, most recently when it played Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” in February 2022 at Capital One Hall and Strathmore. The music was accompanied by images of planets taken by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
“Capital One Hall is a great venue with an oversized screen that really lends itself to a visual and aural presentation that is designed to project the awesomeness of space and the universe,” said National Philharmonic Director Piotr Gajewski, who will conduct both concerts.
For “Cosmic Cycles,” the process was flipped: Dehlinger composed the music in response to images provided by NASA.
“Henry Dehlinger has been a long-time collaborator with NatPhil and his style of music with sweeping melodies and brilliant orchestrations is perfect, I thought, for the images that NASA was putting forward,” Gajewski said. “When I saw the images, I immediately thought of Henry.”
Gajewski counts Dehlinger as a close friend, per the press release. This will be the third time that the philharmonic has premiered one of Dehlinger’s pieces.
Here’s more on “Cosmic Cycles” from the National Philharmonic:
Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony is a seven-movement symphonic suite that draws inspiration from images captured by NASA’s Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes and visualizations created by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Each movement carries a programmatic title, alluding to the images, illustrations, and videos which informed the composer’s writing process: 1. The Sun; 2. Earth, Our Home; 3. Earth as Art; 4. The Moon; 5. Planetary Fantasia; 6. The Travelers; and 7. Echoes of the Big Bang. In the upcoming performances, these symphonic poems will be paired with HD projections of the visuals.
The concert will be preceded by a lecture and question-and-answer session with a NASA astronaut, along with educational “Ask a Scientist” booths and a kiosk with a touchable lunar rock. At Capital One Hall, those activities will begin at 6:45 p.m., and the booths and kiosk will also be open during intermission.
Tickets are available online through Capital One Hall’s website. Prices start at $19, but all kids get free admission.
More than two decades after he graduated, astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren has been drawn back into Robinson Secondary School’s orbit.
The Fairfax school will welcome its Class of 1991 alum back this afternoon (Friday) for a student assembly, where Lindgren will be joined on stage by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
After helping secure $103 million in federal funding to replace the Wallops Island Bridge linking NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to mainland Virginia, Kaine has been tasked with delivering introductory remarks before participating in a question-and-answer session, according to his office.
“I’m really looking forward to heading to Robinson Secondary School…to connect with students there and hear more about Dr. Lindgren’s experience in space and learn about NASA’s recent work,” Kaine said in a statement to FFXnow. “It’s my hope that this event will help inspire a new generation of astronauts and researchers from Virginia, and I appreciate Dr. Lindgren taking the time to share his story at his alma mater.”
Since graduating from Robinson, Lindgren has notched some out-of-this-world accomplishments, per his NASA bio.
Selected as one of 14 members of NASA’s 20th astronaut class in 2009, he now has 311 days in space and two spacewalks under his belt. That experience came as a crew member on the agency’s 44th and 45th expeditions to the International Space Station in 2015, and as commander of its SpaceX Crew-4 mission.
Lindgren and three other crew members in that mission — NASA’s fourth commercial flight overall and first in the “Freedom” capsule manufactured by Elon Musk’s private company — splashed back down to Earth on Oct. 14, 2022 after 170 days in orbit.
During his time in space, Lindgren helped conduct hundreds of scientific experiments that dealt with subjects like growing crops in space and the impact of life in microgravity on hearing, according to NASA. As part of Expedition 44, he was among the first people to eat lettuce grown in space.
A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Lindgren grew up in the Midwest and England before moving to Virginia for his last three years of high school. His parents still live in Burke.
For his undergraduate education, he attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, serving as an instructor and jumpmaster for the school’s “Wings of Blue” parachuting team. He later went to medical school and got certified in emergency medicine, supporting NASA as a flight surgeon before becoming an astronaut.
Photo courtesy NASA/Flickr
In its quest to minimize waste, the vertical farm housed in a shed behind Merrifield’s Luther Jackson Middle School will one day be sustained by fish feces.
Barely the length of a fingernail, the larval tilapia swimming around a small tank in the shed will soon grow large enough to be transferred into a bigger bucket with a filter that separates fish poop and other solids from water.
“The water goes back in the tank, of course, and then, the solids will go down through the filter system, and they will separate from the water and…be turned into sludge we use as fertilizer,” explained Vivian Nguyen, an eighth-grade student at Luther Jackson.
It took two years of research, experimentation and waiting for equipment and permit approvals to get the farm to this stage — long enough that the eighth-grader who first conceived of the project has moved on to high school.
Driven by a desire to build a farm on Mars, the student began researching hydroponics — techniques for growing plants without soil — and other means of making food with limited resources for his Center for Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, English and Math (ESTEEM) project, according to center director and technology education teacher Mark Smith.
The ESTEEM Center raises funds for STEM resources at the six elementary schools that feed into Luther Jackson. With many students in the Falls Church High School pyramid eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, the center is intended to support kids who otherwise might not have access to specialized STEM programs.
Other projects produced by the center include a solar measuring station installed in front of Luther Jackson.
“When you come to middle school and you join drama, you become part of that tribe, or music, that’s a tribe, but we’re trying to create that for STEM, and then we keep them together,” Smith said. “They go on to get advanced degrees and then they help save the world. That’s the whole mission.”
The students who designed, constructed and now maintain the vertical farm, also known as an aquaponics lab, likely aren’t thinking about saving the world just yet.
Vivian, for instance, joined the project at the behest of a friend who shares her interest in fish. She also wanted to get experience working with a team.
Vivienne Bao, a fellow eighth-grader who got involved earlier this semester, says she enjoys the hands-on experience, even if that means taking care of mundane tasks like cleaning up water leaks or picking beads from the filter system out of fish sludge.
“Everything is connected and one misstep can lead to major problems,” she said. “So, everybody needs to work together to solve it, and then we can be successful and grow vegetables.” Read More
In the near-future, Reston will have an educational space center to call its own.
Interstellar Dreams, a project through The Pearl Project Institute for Innovation in STEM literacy, is actively scouting for a 40,000-square-foot space center in Reston. The center, which is expected to open by next year, will include training and simulations in real-world and virtual learning environments.
The Reston center will be preceded by “a smaller prototype” set to open Sept. 10 at George Mason University’s College of Science Research Hall in Fairfax, according to a press release.
“We are looking for stars to get us to the stars,” said Robin McDougal, founder and CEO of Interstellar Dreams, a nonprofit focused on nurturing future STEM professionals. “Building a Space Center is a needed tool to help inspire, educate, and train emerging and current workers–that are reflective of our whole population — to ensure we are ready to explore the universe. We plan to start here in Northern Virginia where this industry is booming.”
The company is raising $5 million to build a mission command, space station and planetary habitat. These features will have floor to ceiling LED screens and equipments. Visitors can come for an hour or a day to be in the environment, and mission commanders will lead groups in exercised and simulations.
The project will primarily be funded by donations, sponsorships and memberships.
McDougal is a former Fairfax County Public Schools advanced academic educator and describes herself as a STEM literary advocate.
A nearly 40,000-square-foot space center is coming soon to Reston.
The project is the brainchild of Interstellar Dreams, a nonprofit organization by Robin McDougal, a former educator at Fairfax County Public Schools.
The organization hopes to “spark and nurture the next generation of STEM leaders with a focus on aerospace,” according to event organizers. The business also plans to open its first space center location at George Mason University’s College of Science.
The centers will include training and simulations through virtual and in-person methods created by LED walls and technology. The experience is intended to prepare emerging and existing professionals to meet the demand for space workers.
A press conference is planned on Monday (Aug. 29) at 8:45 a.m., following a public viewing of NASA’s launch of the Artemis I “Return to the Moon” mission at Reston Station.
The space agency is poised to launch its most powerful rocket ever for a test flight on a 42-day voyage around the moon. The launch begins at 8 a.m., and the viewing takes place in the plaza of Reston Station (1906 Reston Metro Plaza).
“As NASA prepares to send astronauts to the moon and beyond, Interstellar Dream’s event underscores the need for talent for the booming space exploration industry,” a spokesperson for Interstellar Dreams wrote in the statement.
A spokesperson for the company told FFXnow that more details about the center will be released after the viewing event.
“This region has a lot of space business [and] is ripe for having more emphasis on training a workforce,” the spokesperson said.
The event will be attended by Vint Cerf — one of the “fathers of the internet” — as well as Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, and other local officials. Cerf will discuss the need for an inter-galaxy internet.
Army Nurse Thanks Fairfax County Firefighters — “Sunday, August 7, was a powerful and inspiring day at Station 11, Penn Daw, C-Shift. U.S. Army Captain Paul Petrie, an OR Nurse at Fort Belvoir, stopped by to thank the shift for their role in saving his life in May. Injuries he sustained are fatal a vast majority of the time. Watch to learn more!” [FCFRD/Facebook]
Long-Term Fix for AT&T Service Issues in Reston Coming — A permanent proposal to restore full cell service in the Lake Anne area isn’t expected to come until later this fall, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn. Alcorn says AT&T is looking at installing equipment on the new Fellowship House roof, but that will require approvals from Fairfax County and the Reston Association Design Review Board. [Patch]
Fairfax County Parkway Targeted for Traffic Enforcement — “Officers from our Motor Squad are focusing on traffic enforcement on the Fairfax County Parkway this month. On the first day of this enforcement campaign, an officer stopped a car going 108 MPH on the County Parkway at Barta Road, a 50 MPH zone!” [FCPD/Instagram]
Vienna Trail Closed for Repairs — “The Wildwood Park trail that runs between Follin Lane SE and Niblick Drive SE, along with the Mashie Drive Park entrance, will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 9, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. for repairs. Please use caution when in the area and plan for detours.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Police Seek Help with Centreville Cold Case — “One of the DNA-analysis companies that Fairfax County Police in Virginia have been working with is Texas-based Othram, which is now crowdfunding help to identify a woman who was found dead…nearly 30 years ago. Even today, there isn’t a lot that police know about the woman, whose remains were found in 1993 near a cedar tree around what’s now the corner of Sharpsburg Drive and Calvary Place in Centreville.” [WTOP]
Connector Buses Not Affected by Metro Shutdown — The closure of several Blue and Yellow Line stations next month will have no impact on Fairfax Connector routes, but instead of taking a train, passengers will transfer to free shuttle buses. Drop-off and pick-up locations at the Huntington, Van Dorn Street, Franconia, and Crystal City stations may also be slightly different. [Fairfax County Government]
Reminder to Get Kids Immunized for School — “Parents, you’ve probably reminded your kids about summer reading and started purchasing school supplies. Have you booked your immunization appointment yet? Don’t wait until the last minute, make sure your children are up to date with their school required immunizations.” [Fairfax County Health Department/Facebook]
Maryland Toll Lanes Project on Hold — “A key federal agency has delayed Maryland’s plan to build toll lanes on the Capital Beltway and I-270, the latest setback for the star-crossed project. The move was immediately criticized by Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who said the delay will imperil the state’s efforts to ease one of the nation’s worst bottlenecks.” [Maryland Matters]
It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 94 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:18 am and sunset at 8:12 pm. [Weather.gov]
A new 19,000-square-foot satellite manufacturing facility has opened in the Town of Herndon.
The facility, known as the Advanced Technology and Development Center, is run by HawkEye 360, a commercial provider of space-based radio frequency data and analytics.
The company celebrated the grand opening of the facility at 196 Van Buren Street on Friday (July 22). It will bring 70 jobs to the area.
HawkEye 360 CEO John Serafini said the facility allows his company to centralize its data engineering and satellite manufacturing in-house.
“This gives us more flexibility to adapt and innovate our commercial RF GEOINT technology,” Serafini said. “Our customers will benefit through our discoveries, as we place more sophisticated RF-sensing satellites into orbit and build algorithms that extract value from this important data. We are proud to be investing in the local economy with these high-paying, mission focused jobs that make a global impact.”
The facility also includes a customized clean room and electronics lab for advanced technologies.
The company also plans to launch a sixth cluster of satellites before the end of the year, adding to an existing fleet of 15 satellites.
Police Uses of Force Prompt Town Hall — Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk’s office will host a virtual town hall on July 21 to discuss recent use-of-force incidents by Fairfax County police officers. Lusk, who chairs the Board of Supervisors’ public safety committee, said he shares community concerns “about both the nature of these incidents, as well as the frequency at which they are occurring.” [Rodney Lusk/Twitter]
Possible Reston Arts Center Delayed — Reston Town Center developer Boston Properties got approval to extend the deadline for when Fairfax County has to decide whether to build a new performing arts center by six months. A proffer agreement for the next phase of the center’s development allows the county to require an arts center or a park on the site along Sunset Hills Road. [Patch]
Local Students Take in New Images of Deep Space — “On Monday, the world got a look at the first image from the most powerful telescope ever launched into space, the James Webb Space Telescope…More images were released on Tuesday, and in Fairfax County, students taking part in summer learning programs got their first look with a NASA Solar System Ambassador in Burke, Virginia.” [WTOP]
Prepare for New Running Bamboo Regulations — “The effective date for a new ordinance designed to control the spread of ‘running bamboo’ is still nearly six months away, but Fairfax County’s Department of Code Compliance is already working to get property owners prepared.” [Patch]
Vienna Delivery Company Leases Warehouse — “Vienna-based LaserShip signed a lease for a full 105K SF warehouse building in Chantilly, Virginia, the company announced Tuesday. The property it leased, the Stonecroft Industrial Center, is located at 14850 Thompson Road…The lease represents an expansion of LaserShip’s Northern Virginia footprint, where it already operates in Chantilly.” [Bisnow]
Herndon Police Remind Drivers to Stop — “THIRTY citations were issued over the past two weeks for drivers failing to come to a complete stop. Stop. At red lights. At stop signs. Not only is this the law, but it keeps our town safer!” [Herndon Police/Twitter]
Mini Golf Enlivens Capital One’s Tysons Campus — “Eleven stories up, on a rooftop at the corporate campus of one of America’s biggest banks, grown adults are playing miniature golf…They’re at Perch Putt, an 18-hole mini-golf course complete with bright green Astroturf and undulating greens. It’s one of the more playful, if unexpected, amenities of the corporate landscape.” [Fast Company]
Vienna Community Group Auctions Custom Yard Signs — “Rustic Love and Vienna Arts Society, two nonprofits based in Vienna, have teamed up for an auction that launched Sunday. The auction features 20 heart signs built by Rustic Love volunteers and painted by Vienna Arts Society artists.” [Patch]
It’s Wednesday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:56 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]
Family of Slain Alexandria Man Urge FCPD to Resume Search — Family members and friends of Ahmed Hasheem Ebrahim called on Fairfax County police yesterday (Thursday) to resume searching for his body at a landfill in King George County. Police believe Ebrahim was killed in an attempted robbery in Lincolnia and have arrested and charged two people in connection with his disappearance in mid-January. [The Washington Post]
FCPD Sex Trafficking Lawsuit Allowed to Advance — “A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit against two former police officers accused of protecting a sex trafficking ring in northern Virginia in exchange for sex can move forward…The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a Costa Rican woman identified in court papers only as Jane Doe.” [WTOP]
Local Groups Call for Lockheed Blvd Improvements — “Together, the leaders expressed appreciation for the county’s proposal to add standard bike lanes along the roadway near Huntley Meadows Park but insisted that protected bike lanes or a cycle track were necessary to ensure cyclist safety.” [On the MoVe]
New I-66 Express Lanes on Track to Open This Year — “Although VDOT has not given an exact date yet, spokesperson Michelle Holland tells 7 News that as long as the weather does not cause major construction delays, the new express lanes should open some time in December at the latest. Construction on the lanes has now been going on more than four years.” [ABC7]
Nearby: Landmark Mall Demolition Begins — “After two decades of Landmark Mall redevelopment being just out of reach, city officials and developers alike let out wild roars of satisfaction as the wrecking ball crashed into the side of the building…There’s still a long way to go before the first buildings of the new hospital and mixed-use development start coming online — currently slated for 2026.” [ALXnow]
Man Pushing Stroller Hit by Vehicle in Vienna — A pedestrian told police that he was knocked to the ground by a vehicle while pushing his child in a stroller past the Chick-fil-A parking lot at 538 Maple Avenue W on April 27. According to the Vienna Police Department’s weekly recap, the driver attempted to talk to the pedestrian, who left the scene but later reported the incident. [Vienna Police]
Local Foster Parent Awarded — “Congratulations to Sue Christenson! She’s been recognized as the 2022 Fairfax County Foster Parent of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). Sue has been a foster parent for nearly 15 years, and she is happily spending her golden years giving precious children a new beginning.” [Fairfax County Government/YouTube]
Lunar Eclipse May Be Visible Sunday — “The first of two total lunar eclipses visible to Virginia and DC residents in 2022 occurs Sunday night into Monday and will turn May’s full flower moon blood red. Oh, and it’s also a supermoon — depending on whom you ask.” [Patch]
It’s Friday — Overcast throughout the day. High of 69 and low of 58. Sunrise at 5:59 am and sunset at 8:14 pm. [Weather.gov]
West Potomac Soccer Coaches Fired After Hazing — “In a message to West Potomac High School soccer families, Principal Tanganyika Millard said that after an April 21 practice, a ‘parent reported a student was injured after being singled out to run through a ‘gauntlet/tunnel.” Head coach Ahmad Sasso and two other coaches were fired after the incident.” [WTOP]
Dead Firefighter Escorted to Funeral Home — “#FCFRD members gathered to salute Captain Kimberly Schoppa during her dignified transfer. Units from her last assignment, Fire Station 27, West Springfield, carried her to the funeral home. Thank you to Fairfax County Police Department for the escort.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Facebook]
FCPS Alum Goes to Space — NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, a graduate of Robinson Secondary School, is part of a four-person crew that was scheduled to blast off to the International Space Station this morning (Wednesday) for SpaceX’s next mission. Lindgren was one of 18 astronauts selected by NASA in 2020 for its Artemis Team, an initiative to get humans back to the moon. [Florida Today]
Alpacas Make Fairfax County Courthouse Appearance — “By the time the alpacas arrive outside the Fairfax County Courthouse, it’s not really that surprising…The scene outside the Depp-Heard trial, entering its third week on Monday, has transformed the Fairfax County court complex from a place where Northern Virginia residents contest parking tickets to the stage for one of the biggest celebrity court cases in recent memory.” [The Washington Post]
TJ Tops National School Rankings — “Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County was ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to a new national ranking by U.S. News and World Report. This year’s list of best high schools evaluated more than 17,800 schools nationwide, including 322 in Virginia.” [Patch]
Vienna Students Write Cards for Ukrainian Refugees — “Students at Freedom Hill Elementary School in Vienna wrote stacks of cards to Ukrainian refugees for their principal to deliver on his spring break trip to Germany. Principal Nicholas Zapadka…decided to travel to Cologne in early April to help Ukrainian refugees who had arrived at a Red Cross refugee camp in Germany.” [Patch]
Mantua Home with Squatter Sold — “The home went off the market on April 15 for $805,000. It was built in 1964 and was last sold in 1997 for $319,000. The owner’s name was withheld by request on the Fairfax County auditor’s site. The new buyer’s name also was not listed.” [WUSA9]
It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 55 and low of 41. Sunrise at 6:17 am and sunset at 7:59 pm. [Weather.gov]