Friday, December 29, 2006

My Holiday Vacation so far

I didn't think I was going to be busy.....but who was i kidding!? For 2 straight days I have been studying for a midterm in my space medicine and habitation course. A very interesting class I must say, because it is introducing me to the effects of space on the human physiology. Yesterday I took a break from studying and mapped that I will be graduating with my first Master's next December. Aside from studying I have also been taking care of my 3 year old niece. She is a handful because the girl has got a ton of energy, but so fun to be around. She so innocent and intelligent!!! Ha ha....and then there is me, her crazy aunt, sitting with her to watch reruns on the NASA channel as they broadcast the 13 day STS-116 mission. But hey, now when she sees an astronaut, she'll call it out and get excited!

Speaking of astronauts, a co-worker gave me the best Christmas present ever!!! It's a book by Astronaut Mike Mullane called Riding Rockets, and he even got it personally signed for me! I have been reading it since I opened it and it's so hard to put down. It's GREAT!!! Any space enthusiast has got to get this book! It's hilarious and a good insight on his life, what he went through to become an astronaut, and reflections from particular missions. I highly recommend this book! F.Y.I: The book is geared to adults, and not children.

I hope everyone spent a great holiday with either loved ones or friends. Has everyone been thinking about their New Year's Resolution. Here's what's on my list. 1.) Eating Healhy/Exercising 2.) Strengthing relationships by calm communication 3.) Not spending money where I don't need to and keeping a budget.

Well, I have 3 more lectures to watch right now so I am going to keep studying. I'll be posting next year!! Adios!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Welcome home for Discovery from its 33rd Flight!!

Waiting around yesterday was so suspenseful!! 1st attempt to land at KSC passed us up. Then we thought it was going to land in Dryden and it ended up the it was going to be KSC. We were anxiously listening to weather briefings and getting the latest updates. It was a long day yesterday, but so worth it!! Personally, I think after experiencing my 1st runway landing, it's more exciting than a launch. Although i have to admit that a launch is really cool to watch. There is just so much suspense in a landing. From hearing the sonic boom, to seeing the first sighting of the Orbiter, to having the astronauts come out while you're inspecting. Last night, it was drizzling a little bit but I was under the Orbiter so i didn't get too wet. We took pictures and noted the major points of interest and left a mini tag-up report on the overall condition of Discovery Thermal Protection System. Overall, Discovery came back looking in great shape. Nothing out of the ordinary. Anybody see me in the background on t.v? LOL! Hope you enjoy my little slide show below!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Landing at KSC?

Well i am here and will be leaving in about 5 minutes to go out to the Shuttle Landing Facility. It's a little windy here and there are some low ceiling clouds present. But no rain yet. So if you happen to watch the NASA channel and we do land here, I am wearing a fuchsia colored polo shirt with jeans. Ha ha. We'll know for sure if Discovery will be landing here when it gets closer to the deorbit burn at 2:49pm. If it doesn't look good, well then the crew going out to California/New Mexico will need to get i go to the SLF.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What a week!!! And it's not even over yet!

If Space Shuttle Discovery lands at KSC on Friday, I will be supporting along with another co-worker to be out on the runway. So if it lands on at KSC and you watch the NASA channel, you may see me on t.v. Upon landing and after the astronauts are removed from the Orbiter, we get to greet them and shake their hand, and then perform a walk-down and take pictures of the major visible damages on the orbiter to later compile a post-flight landing report. If the weather is not good here, then they will scrub the landing at KSC and land at Edwards AFB or maybe even White Sands(due to cold temps at Edwards AFB). I'm excited because it will be my first time to be out on the runway for a landing. It will be a great first time experience.

In February 2007, I will be traveling to Ridley Park High School again to give them a talk! They're eager and so am I!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

During the Imagery inspection

Many of you know that after the space shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center, I head out to Johnson Space Center the next day to support looking at imagery obtained as the Orbiter approaches the International Space Station. During the last mission, there were more photos of me and the group at work, but this time, there were only a couple. The first one is, yes, of the back of my head. After we all complete looking at the imagery, we have a tradition of 'milk-n-cookies'. So here's a snapshot of me caught dipping my oreo in my milk!

(milk-n-cookies photo credit: David R. Bretz)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Imagery inspection of Orbiter lower surface

Here's an example of one of the hundreds of pictures that get looked at for damages. you can see here some damages around the external tank door. Various different models were run against the big tile damage, and it was cleared to say this will not pose a threat upon reentry.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pictures from today's launch

Well, I am going to Houston in the morning for imagery support. After the weather deemed 70% chance of unfavorable weather conditions, out of no where it was decreased to only 30%.....and well...we launched!!! Here are some photos

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mission Status

1615 GMT (11:15 a.m. EST)

The Mission Management Team has given a "go" to begin fueling space shuttle Discovery for tonight's liftoff. The weather remains on the major worry in the countdown. Forecasters are predicting a 60 percent chance conditions at Kenned Space Center will be unacceptable at launch time. The emergency landing sites in Spain and France are also expecting unfavorable weather.

The updated outlook is 90 percent "no go" for Friday and 70 percent on Saturday.

But the countdown is pressing forward for liftoff a few seconds before 9:36 p.m. EST this evening in hopes NASA gets a break in the weather. There are no significant technical issues being reported.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For the prospective Aerospace Engineering student....

This afternoon, I was interviewed by a Freshman at Georgia Institute of Technology who wanted more information on Aerospace Engineering. She is not completely decided on the major, but is interested in pursuing the degree. She had some good questions for me and I thought it would be great to share some of my responses in the event there are others out there contemplating the major. Here are just a few questions/answers from my interview today:

What is a typical day like in your field?
My major function at work is to provide engineering support to my customer (NASA, United Space Alliance) which includes evaluating damages/repairs of the Orbiter's Thermal Protection System (Space Shuttle tiles, gap fillers, thermal blankets). Every time there is a documented damage on a TPS component, as an engineer, I go out to the vehicle and evaluate the repair making sure that the proposed repair agrees with my engineering judgment.

What do you like best and least about your job?
Everyday I work with the Space Shuttle Orbiter and THAT is the highlight of my work day because I know that not just everyone can come so close to the vehicle. My hard work gets rewarded especially when I see the Space Shuttle stack out at the launch pad and of course, the amazing site of a launch! What I like least about my job are meetings because I attend so many of them a day and even though they are sometimes necessary, a decision is not always made at one because you may have people exchanging disagreements instead of compromises and solutions. So they are usually followed up by another meeting. They take up the most time and they pull you away from your normal work tasks.

What does it take to excel in your field?
To excel in my field and in any field, you have to be a “go-getter” with a positive attitude, meaning being willing to engage in major issues and offering your help on other tasks than what you’re assigned for.

What should I be reading in school to get myself ready?
If you decide to pursue Aerospace Engineering, decide what specialization you would like to engage in. This would help you determine if you would be interested in the Aviation or Space sector. Based on that, understand your course material, but most importantly, read current news articles on the changing technology to see how your course work is related. This will help you in many ways; you may have an interest in a company coming out with a new technology or you may want to be involved in research or analysis. Reading on current science/aviation/space news articles can keep you up to date and help you become prepared when in comes to looking for an internship or a job upon graduation.

What skills that you learned in school do you use the most in your field?
Organizational, communication, and teamwork are all skills that I use everyday. In school, the professor would dock points for any assignments that were not legible or transferred on engineering paper according to the syllabus. I make sure I follow the guidelines for any reports or documents and that I keep good records of issues through email/documents using organized folders on my computers incase anyone needs to be filled in. Communication with the professor and other students helped me to communicate in the workplace face-to-face and by e-mail. When I talk or e-mail about an issue, I make sure I am to the point in stating the problem, effect, and proposed solution. My projects at school often involved teams. Individuals on teams provide different approaches and ideas, but can also introduce disagreement/conflict. Not much different from the workplace.

How stressful is the work environment?
It can be overwhelming if you do not know how to handle stress. You need to know your own limit. A major skill that you begin in your undergraduate years is to know how to prioritize. In the work environment, there is constant work. You are never going to leave work with all tasks completed. I have learned to prioritize according to deadline and criticality. You can always ask to extend a deadline or ask a manger for more help within the group if it’s too much for one person to complete.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

STS-116 Roll Out to the Launch Pad

Space Shuttle Discovery makes it to the launch pad and the picture under that one is of the payload ready to be installed in the cargo bay.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The week's status.. :)

I started three more courses today towards my masters. I am taking Earth Observation and Remote Sensing, Space Habitation and Life Support, and Space Mission and Launch Operations. I am going to be very VERY busy through February. I hope I'll be able to manage the classes and the Dec. launch, and the holidays!

This week I am on 2nd shift again so I don't go into work until the afternoon, but will get out late. However, today they are planning to roll out Discovery to the launch pad around midnight. So I may get a chance to see the stack and snap a couple pictures. There is also talk about making the launch happen on Dec. 6th instead of Dec. 7th.

Hope everyone is having a good week so far.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Discovery rolls over to the VAB

Last night space shuttle Discovery rolled over to the VAB so it could be mated with the External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Boeing Delta II Rocket launch!

The Boeing Delta 2 rocket carrying the STEREO spacecraft just launched! The spacecraft will study solar eruptions. Here's the view from my house. Not very exciting, but at least i saw a little glow in the sky.

University of Central Florida Engineering & Computer Science Leadership Institute

This Friday I have been chosen to be one of three mentors chosen within Boeing at Kennedy Space Center to participate in a University of Central Florida Partnership program. Through April 2007, I will serve as a mentor to a UCF student who has been chosen to particiate in the UCF Engineering & Computer Science Leadership Institute. It is a leadership developmental institute that is sponsored by Progress Energy. I am excited as this will be the first time I will be mentoring a student persuing an advanced degree. However, I'm excited and hope my student will enjoy the advice and guidance I provide.

USS Trident hosts me as a guest speaker to homeschooled students!

Something I enjoy the most is going out and talking to highschool students to encourage them and entertain them with science, engage them in behind-the-scenes of space shuttle processing, and act as a mentor through the critical years for these students. On Tuesday October 17, 2006, USS Trident, a local Treasure Coast Chapter of Starfleet International, hosted a "Science Night" meeting for local homeschooled students in Port St. Lucie, Florida and I was the guest speaker. It was a great group and I know they enjoyed my talk. Here are some pictures from that night.....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Our crew made it home.

Well I got home at 3am because this week I have been working 2nd shift.. I go into work at 2pm and don't get out till about midnight or later. It messes up your whole sleep pattern and I have found it difficult to sleep during the day when planes are passing by low and neighbors are doing yard work. As I was getting ready to leave, some of my co-workers were getting into work to head out to the Shuttle Landing Facility. They are there at the runway to witness landing and then to walk-down the orbiter to document discrepancies before it is rolled into the bay. Regardless of difficulties in sleeping, after getting home at 3am, i put my alarm for 6:10 because I wanted to hear the sonic boom. I left the TV on tuned to the NASA channel so I wouldn't miss a thing. At exactly 6:18 I heard the sonic boom. It's amazing hearing it. It's like some let a shot gun go off right outside your window, but just enough to make a tiny shake to your windows. I continued watching the landing and when I knew they were safely home, I went back to sleep. I experienced another mission with a great team, and great teamwork!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I'm back, and Atlantis coming home soon...

I'm back from houston and it was a great trip. The team was able to resolve all of the Thermal Protection System issues and approved Atlantis safe to fly home. Landing will happen on Wed. Sept 20th at 6:00 am. Should be nice to wake up to a sonic boom. The NASA photographer got some shots of me working while I was supporting the mission imagery team.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Successful launch for Atlantis!!

I hope those of you in central FL. were able to see the launch. It was a little cloudy, but still a beautiful site. Now, to houston I go to inspect the thermal protection system. Be sure to keep up with the live updates during the mission. Long days awaits our inspection team, but i have a feeling that we won't be seeing much tile damage. Hopefully no protruding gap fillers either!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Let's try this launch again!!!

Sept.6 at 12:28:48 pm. EDT. will be the next launch attempt for Space Shuttle Atlantis. Tropical Storm Ernesto did not effect us like we though, but we still took the hurricane percautions. I helped my mom put shutters up in her home since she lives in south florida, and then we had a day off incase the weather became worse. But to me, it was just like any other rainy day in florida. However, with a few afternoon squalls of rain you just wouldn't want to drive through. I think it's a good idea too that the launch is scheduled to be at 12:28 pm because usually the scattered thunderstorms occur later in the afternoon.

Other major news....Lockheed Martin won the contract to build the CEV spacecraft. They won this contract over Northrop Grumman and Boeing. You can read all about it here.

Hope everyone has a great long weekend. My birthday is on Monday (I'll be 25) and I get to enjoy a holiday.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Atlantis Mission Status...

STS-115 Mission Status Center

Below is a picture of Atlantis heading back to the launchpad.

Shuttle Altantis Status

Today, efforts for rolling back shuttle atlantis were halted when the shuttle was one mile from the VAB. So Atlantis is back at the launch pad. Depending how tropical storm Ernesto makes out, we could be looking to resuming the launch countdown and launching on September 6th or 7th. We have suspended operations tomorrow...(meaning i get to sleep in and not go to work) and we resume work on Thursday. Let's cross our fingers for a launch next week.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Go STS-115!!!

I think this has been the longest i have not written. I completed my 2 graduate courses and got A's. (yey) Tomorrow I register for another course.

Here are some pictures of Space Shuttle Atlantis at the launch pad. The launch is scheduled for Sunday Aug. 27th at 4:30pm. I really hope that the weather will permit us to launch. Today it was rainy in the afternoon I just hope the weather doesn't follow the pattern as it was with STS-121.

Lately at work i have been working on some process improvements and performing thermal blanket inspections with some co-workers on Space Shuttle Discovery. If you recall from STS-114, there was a thermal blanket patch whose stitches became detached next to Commander Eileen Collin's window. We are basically inspecting all the blankets to look for missing stitches exceeding the criteria or for fabric degradation. On top of the blanket inspections, a lot of paper is being kicked out for repairing degraded previous tile repairs. It's amazing how busy everyone is at work.

I am leaving the day after launch to go out to Houston to support JSC during the imagery inspection. This is when the team looks at the high-res pictures taken from the international space station to determine if there are any damages to the thermal protection system (tiles, thermal blankets, RCC).

Man, and what do you guys think about the 3 new planets? Crazy huh? There goes the rhyme I went by to memorize my planets when i was younger: My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. Here's an attempt to a new one from a website I read: Many Verses, Each May Change, Just Stick Under New Planet Called UB313

Hope everyone has a good week!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shuttle Atlantis STS-115

Rollout to the launch pad of shuttle atlantis was delayed due to weather issues out here. Aside from that, we are still looking at Aug 27th, 2006 launch! I've been working long hours lately and we've been very busy at work with all three orbiters.

Monday, July 24, 2006

My status...

I've been really busy lately. I am going through finals, wrapping up one research paper only to start another, and turning in projects. Aside from school Space Shuttle Atlantis rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building. This will be our continuation flight in assembling the International Space Station. Atlantis is going to carry the second set of solar arrays to attach to the ISS. The last solar arrays were in place in 2000, so it's been a while.

Monday, July 17, 2006

They're back!!!

This was the first time I've ever heard the sonic boom. It was amazing! Our friends are home!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Astronauts doing their spacewalk....

While the astronauts are doing their spacewalk, I am helping to quickly prepare the briefing charts to include analysis and recommendations.

Working Hard!

Here's a picture someone took of my co-worker and I while we were looking at the imagery files downlinked from the space station. I just got home and I am exhausted!! If you watch the NASA channel, they are showing the highlights of flight day 4. There are briefings that they're showing from the press release which was exactly what i helped prepare today. We had the crew take better images of the areas we had marked down as damages. There are still some areas that we are evaluating for heating scenarios, some were eliminated or acceptable by criteria; for example, the nose cap. There was a white spot on the nose cap that was thought to be a damage. However, with a better image from the crew today, it was determined it was a bird dropping. Yup. We're all glad it is not a damage. Tomorrow is saturday and I will be at work at 7am to continue to help working on charts with the results of the analysis/recommendations.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Imagery complete...Next, analysis and decision making

Today, with the imagery team, we looked at images downlinked from the space station. There were a couple thermal blankets that had a small tear. However, this is not something that is a threat to the re-entry of the vehicle. There was a small damage in between the commander and pilot's window. Again, the damage is small and is not a threat.

I am extremley impressed as to how "clean" the tiles were. There were damages, but not of them fell out of the criteria we have for size in specific zones of the orbiter. We did have a couple of protruding gap fillers that are undergoing analysis at the moment. The analysis is to be done by the aeroheating group to see what the effects are on the boundary layer. So if the analysis shows it will be a threat upon re-entry, managers will need to decide if an EVA is required to pull the gap filler on a spacewalk, just as in the last flight (STS-114). Today was a long day. I went in at 8:30am and didn't get out till about 8:00pm. And this is that I left early because I have a paper for school that I want to work on. However, there were others that have been there longer, and stayed there longer today. Tomorrow will be an even longer day as meetings will be held and charts for briefings will need to be prepared based on the analysis for these in-flight anomalies. I go in at 7am and i may be working more than 12 hrs tomorrow.

It was a great day though. I have got to say that being part of the mission is the biggest pay-off in my job. I couldn't ask for anything better. I am surrounded by great co-workers and they are all team-players. I was watching the NASA tv downlink and waited for the orbiter to dock to the space station. when it did, it was so great to see the crew come to the space station. My biggest fan right now is Mike Fossum (also a graduate from Texas A&M University!!!). It's his first flight and he just has the biggest smile on him all the time. But it was just so cool how i was just sitting there at work, watching the astronauts downlink the images, and then an hour later, i am looking at them for damages. It's all amazing to me and just makes me want to hop on the next shuttle (Haha...too bad it's not that easy to do)!!

If you want to see pictures of the damages, you can visit this site:

I've arrived in houston

I'm in Houston now. It's late and I should be in bed because I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. I will be looking at the imagery downlink images that the space station crew will be taking of the orbiter's belly. We will look for any damages or discrepancies on tiles, blankets, or regarding gap fillers. I'll update everyone more later. I just checked in to my hotel and need to iron (yuck..not a fan of ironing..)


Monday, July 03, 2006

We have ACCEPTABLE launch conditions. "Go" for STS-121!!!

We are go for launch everyone!!! Here are some pictures of the foam that was evaluated. A borescope was used to inspect the crack and they have evaluated and run further analysis to determine that we can proceed with the launch tomorrow! (yey!)

I did want to mention this: NASA has public phone numbers in the case that if you're unable to listen to NASA TV when they have the press conferences even during the launch countdown, these lines are available at "monitor only". you can call it and just listen in. Its exactly whats being said during on the television. Now there isn't something being said every minute, so if you don't hear something then try back because they may just have the cameras on the shuttle and not be saying anything. 321/867-1220, 321/867-1240, or 321/867-1260

Almost forgot to share some pictures of discovery on the launch pad!!!! Enjoy!

Even tomorrow's launch may not happen.

Yesterday after the scrub, there is an inspecting crew that inspected the external tank for ice buildup and looked for any cracks or missing foam. Well, a crack was found. It's in discussion right now, whether it needs to be repaired and what the options are. The crack was found on the foam insulation near one of the holding brackets that hold the oxygen feed line. It's about 4-5 inches in length.

Read more about the External Tank foam crack here...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Scrub! We'll try again on Tuesday

Someone do a rain dance to make these clouds go away! haha. Well, we are going to attempt another launch on Tuesday because tomorrow's predicted weather forecasts a 60% chance of unacceptable launch conditions.

Let's try this again....

Today i had to provide engineering support so i was at work early enough to beat the traffic of everyone coming to view the launch. However, due to weather and then a boat being in restricted area, the launch did not happen. At work we really though the shuttle was going to take off today because there were absolutely no clouds over the shuttle and on the coast side...but there were some heavy clouds inland. There cannot be heavy clouds within a 25 mile radius of the launch site. Not only is it for visibility, but it is also incase something goes wrong and an abort mode, such as the Return to Launch Site (RTLS) is approved. This is a very dangerous abort mode.

But guess what?! I did get to see Vice President Dick Cheney. While we were working, he was given a quick mini-tour of the obiter processing facility. There were secret service guys all over the place and security was very tight.

Well tomorrow i will be back at work and wait to see if we launch at 3:26 pm. I've been watching the weather channel and it says we're going to have afternoon showers. We'll see, but keep your fingers crossed!! :)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Go STS-121!!

The tank is filled and the crew will arrive in 3 hrs!!!

Here's the time for those who can't be here to see it, to start refreshing this page about every couple minutes, see up-to-date news. Especially when it gets closer to the final countdown...

Click here for Mission Status!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Launch countdown start tomorrow at 5pm!!!!

Starting today is about the day that you may want to be checking this site below more frequently. Hopefully the weather will be good for a launch on saturday. It just finished hailing and storming here in orlando!!

The countdown tomorrow starts at 5pm. This is where the excitement starts y'all!

Before Discovery takes off, I am going to try to get a picture of her sitting out on the launch pad. Hope everyone is having a great week!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Where I am these days.....

Wow, I didn't think taking two courses this semester was going to be so hectic. I guess the stress and workload with the launch has something to do with it too. I am in the middle of writing 3 research papers and i have until the end of this week to complete my midterm. At the same time, i am trying to get ahead because as soon as Discovery launches, i am being flown out to houston for imagery support. I decided that next semester I am going to just take one course to make time for starting flying lessons. (yey!)

Today the flight readiness review (FRR) for STS-121 ended. it was on friday and saturday (today). During the FRR is when managers discuss any final assessments and finalize the launch date. i tried searching all over to see what the outcome was....but unless something comes out tomorrow..then i won't find out till monday.

Again, i will post my most favorite site for everyone to keep track of up-to-date news on the mission:



    My daddy came up for the weekend. So far we have watched the World Cup, ate Sushi at Wazzabi, and now are lounging on the couch getting ready to watch a movie. I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend...To all the fathers out there...have a Happy Father's Day weekend...

    "Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy"
    F.Y.I: The first father's day was on June 10, 1910 in Spokane, WA but became national in 1972.

    I'm going to go read some more. Break time is over. :)
  • Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Tile Coupon Samples Coming Out Of The Oven

    wish you guys all could have been here to do this. First of all, I wasn't able to get pictures of me making my tiles. but i did want to show you this. This is just a test coupon of the material (silica) that the tiles are made of. The pictures shown here are of tiles coupons in the oven at 2200 degrees fahrenheit!!! It was hard to get good pictures because the camera was acting up due to the low light. the ones of me holding the sample coupon did not come out good. Basically, after the tile is coated (black ceramic coating), it goes into the oven to cure the coating, then it is waterproofed. When these coupons come out of the oven, the middle of the sample are hot, but the edges are cool enough to hold, just how one of the techs here is holding. But imagine that.. coming out of the oven at 2200 degrees F, and touching it with your bare hands...!!! :) Too cool.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Coming home from Houston

    What did I miss on Friday?!? Discovery rolling out to the launch pad!! But I was able to get a great picture from a co-worker!! I'm coming home today from houston. i have been here for mission imagery support and yesterday I participated as maid of honor in my best friend's wedding. Come Monday......back to work, bright and early!

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006


    I just arrived today in Houston, Texas for another imagery support training. If you've read my previous blogs when I've been in houston, then you know what I will be doing (Analyzing Hi-res images for damages to tiles/blankets/gap filler). I am working through wednesday and then thurs-sun I am taking vacation because I am the maid of honor in my best friend's wedding. This is the first wedding I have ever been in, but I am excited. I hope you all enjoyed the pictures I posted last week. When I get back to kennedy space center I will post the ones of the tile I made myself!!!! :)