Thursday, January 31, 2008

Atlantis's kinked flex hose

You may have heard about another issue that could potentially effect launch. There is a kinked flex hose in Atlantis’s Freon coolant system.

It’s not the first time this has occurred on a vehicle, but it was definitely unexpected when it became detected on Atlantis. There are four hoses aboard Atlantis that lead from the Orbiter's fuselage to radiators on the inside of the payload bay doors. The concern with the kinked hose is that launch vibrations, coupled with stress on the line, could cause a leak. Last night, technicians performed x-rays and took some photos and they are currently being evaluated by engineering. Currently, there is no indication of leakage in Atlantis’s hose and when this problem was detected before on Discovery, we flew at least twice with the hose this position. So right now, some labs are doing tests on the hose that was removed from Discovery to clearly understand the condition we have and the threat is poses.

There is a possibility that engineers may be able to manually straighten the hose, but replacing it might not be possible at the launch pad due to access and regulations on releasing Freon into the atmosphere. So it really boils down to either being able to straighten the hose or accepting the risk for flight.
Saturday, NASA managers will announce their decision on whether we will proceed with launch preparations.

However, we’re very optimistic about the ECO sensor system being fixed! Yey!

Liftoff is targeted for 2:45 p.m. on February 7th, 2008.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

SWE's Introducing Girls To Engineering!

Today I volunteered my time in being a workshop leader at SWE's annual Introducing Girls to Engineering event. The girls get a full day of workshops related to an engineering field. Some examples of the workshops are programming robots, designing/building roller costers, straw structures, alkaseltzer rockets, and truss bridges. I could go on with the list as there were so many workshops the kids could choose from. I was the leader for the chemistry of lip gloss. The girls made their own lip gloss with different bases, flavoring, and coloring. I made sure every girl knew what hydrogenation meant by the end of the workshops. I had a great time teaching them how chemical engineering tied into making lip gloss and they were so thrilled when they got to take the lip gloss they actually made home in a container. I led 5 workshops, am a little exhausted, and have red food coloring all over my hands which is a little hard to wash off. But overall, it was well worth it!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Looking good for a Feb. 7th launch....

Technicians are on pace to finish work Friday on new foam insulation applied over a replaced external wiring connector on space shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank.

Speaking at Ridley Park High School!

Yesterday I spoke to Ridley Park High School about what I do at Kennedy Space Center. I realized I have visited the school for 3 years now around this time. The kids loved the presentation and here are some pictures from yesterday's talk....

Monday, January 21, 2008

STS-120 crew visits Italy!

Massimo Martini was able to get this shot of the STS-120 crew members when they visited Italy.....but of course home to Paolo Nespoli!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

In South Philly....

So I visited the Italian Market in South Philly. They had fresh produce on the sidewalks, specialty cheese, meats, and seafood stores..YOU NAME IT! I stopped in at Anthony's Chocolate House and bought some Tiramasu and Kahlua White Chocolate truffle and chocolate-covered strawberries. Of course I indulged in my Philly Cheesesteak at Geno's. I also made a stop by an Italian bakery called Termini's! The BEST cannoli's ever!!! And there was this little band playing "It's Amore" when we walked in! It was awesome!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Had a great time at Merion Elementary!

Today I gave a presentation at Merion Elementary and the kids were so engaged. They asked some great questions and were excited to see the cool demonstrations I had for them. Below is a slide show of the great day I had today. I will definitely make an effort to visit Merion next year!

Monday, January 14, 2008

An update on me....

I was able to fit in a quick run today. When I thought I was going to go skiing during Christmas, I had purchased some hot chillys to keep me warm. Well tonight it's a little cold out and I decided to wear my hot chillys out running....They are absolutely awesome to run in!! (when it's cold out, of course)

Last week I was on 2nd shift and I am back working on 1st shift this week. I received some comments back from some of my colleagues I had asked to review my resume. I've been working on revising a couple of things and adding some info like all my community involvement.

I have a long list of things to work on before March. I need to acquire recommendation letters for the next graduate schools I am applying to, prepare a Statement of Purpose on why I want to pursue an advanced engineering degree, continue working on my resume for the astronaut application, study for the GRE, order transcripts, continue my current graduate research.....and somewhere in there is my job!! HA!

Luckily, I do have things under control and organized. Yikes! I still need to pack for going to Philly this week too!! I can't wait to indulge myself in milkshakes from Nifty Fifty's and Geno's Philly Cheesesteaks! Yummy! I'll probably have to double my run by the time I get back. It's supposed to snow over there this weekend and I don't think I want to run in the snow. :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Launch Schedule Update!

It looks like Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-122) will have a next launch attempt on February 7. Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-123) was originally supposed to launch on February 14, but has been delayed to March 13.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Next Stop: Pennsylvania!!!!!!

I am looking forward to next week as I will be traveling to Pennsylvania to talk with Merion Elementary School on Friday. As I am on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition for Space Exploration, I met Penny Glackman, a NASA-trained educator at Merion Elementary, when I visited Washington D.C last year for an annual board meeting. Mrs. Glackman highly incorporates space science into her curriculum for the students.

Then on Tuesday of the following week, I will be speaking with the students of Ridley Park High School. I have been visiting Ridley Park for about two years now and have had such a great experience.

I enjoy visiting students at their schools because they are enthralled with the presentation, and sometimes after my talk, some will ask to speak with me for guidance or merely just to say thank you. It's a great feeling knowing you've inspired and made an impact on a student's life.

Monday, January 07, 2008

One step closer to launching.....

Workers are finished soldering the pass-through connector as work continues to make space shuttle Atlantis ready for launch. The connector is undergoing testing and will be waterproofed before being installed on the external fuel tank for Atlantis' STS-122 mission.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Getting my resume ready for the astronaut application.....

Yesterday I updated my resume for the Astronaut Candidate Program. I have not submitted it yet because I have certain colleagues looking it over to give me feedback. I've already ordered my transcripts from Texas A&M, but I will wait until April when I finish my master's program to order the transcripts from Embry Riddle.

Next week I am going to proceed in the continuation of my research for grad school. I will basically begin to distribute my research questionnaire to get the general public's opinion on what they know about space exploration. Once I collect all my data, I will have to start analyzing the data and write the remaining chapters of the research.

I just got back from a good run. I think I am going to stick with running days of Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. On my off days, I am doing more of a muscle target workout at the gym with my friend Nicole. For some time now, I have had a friend rave about how awesome is. So starting today, I am giving it a shot. is a good way to log calories, exercise, and help you reach whatever weight goal you are trying for. I have to admit, the program is organized and set up pretty cool. My goal right now is to lose 13 lbs. by March and by using this program I can watch my trend and see how I stick to trying to reach this goal! Just try out tracking one day of eating using You'll get hooked, I promise.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Atlantis to launch late January or early February......

The next launch will be no earlier than January 24th....but with the amount of work that has to be done and other factors in the way, launch could take place either the end of January or in early February. In 7-10 days, a more achievable launch date will be set by NASA managers.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

We're actually going to get a "winter" day!

Tomorrow, NASA managers will meet at 10 a.m. EST to decide on actions that will allow them to set a new launch date for Atlantis. At 5 p.m. EST shuttle program manager Wayne Hale will update the status of efforts to launch Atlantis. It's unlikely a new launch date will be set on Thursday, but managers should create a plan for correcting the faulty sensor readings.

In the meantime, we're supposed to get freezing temperatures here tonight! Apparently, the last time it got this cold was in 2003. I guess I'll actually have to dust off my jacket to take it to work tomorrow! To protect Space Shuttle Atlantis from these temperatures on Pad 39A, technicians have prepared heaters that will be activated for the orbital maneuvering system and the solid rocket boosters. Additionally, systems that contain water will be protected by keeping that water flowing so it cannot freeze.

Now, to start off 2008 right, I've created myself an eating plan to make sure I am not going overboard on calories and incorporating more veggies and protein, and less fat. I am about to go running and I already created my little map using As soon as I get back, I'll have to get back to studying for the GRE.