Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nose Landing Gear Broom Crew :)

When the main landing gear and nose landing gear door operations are complete, it means were pretty close to wrapping things up for the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA - modified 747) to be towed underneath the orbiter for mating.

The main landing gear and nose landing gear door are hydraulically closed. Sometimes the nose landing gear needs a little extra boost to close at the end if it doesn't clear completely. I was so excited today as the crew let me help them close the doors. It literally is using a modified broom-design tool. At first I thought I wasn't going to be able to reach the tiles with the broom tool, but I could. Below are some pictures of us performing the final closure of the nose landing gear doors.

It still looks like take off for Atlantis will be early Monday morning.


Anonymous said...

Hey Damaris! These photos of you around the shuttle are just spectacular! Compliments to the person who took the overhead shot of you and Atlantis, I really like that one.

I have a couple questions to ask you in regards to Embry-Riddle. I understand from your profile that you went there for your M.S. degree. I'm thinking about transferring to the university and wanted to know more about your experiences and talk to you about my future education plans. I would appreciate to hear from someone like you who shares the same fascination and passion for human space exploration as well as the same occupation I am striving for.

If it is possible to either contact you through e-mail or if I could write to you other than by blog comments, that would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

** Keep up the great work over there at California. You have been a great inspiration to me as I am sure to many others out there. So with that, you deserve another thank you! :o)

Christopher Lusardi said...

The hole concept of the broom to me sounds strange because I'd be fearful of breaking something! I've never done anything like that.

Now I'll brag a little to explain a little more.

I've been studying various aircraft, and they probably never would ride on the back of anything. So, closing the various wheel well doors would only be done in the air from within the cockpit with a switch that says in bold letters "LANDING GEAR".

How you ever got them to let you help amazes me.

(Personally, I'd be holding my breath the next time Atlantis lands if I did that. Also, why touch something and become responsible for anything that goes wrong with it in the future. Why cause other people other costly work. I'd feel I could get fired. But, we all know this is not the case. They were just working and let you help because you were knowledgeble. If something is wrong it will be caught by someone else in the cycle. The results are you should be commended for a good job all around.)

You are also getting chances to learn via on the job training. It's the best way to go. I mean it's one thing to read something in 4 minutes, but it's a totally different thing spending the entire day doing it. You'll never forget it.

You're increasing your intuition about the shuttle fleet, aircraft in general, and NASA vehicles. You know what to touch and how, invaluable.

You make me feel that I'm really missing something.

Julien said...

Thats so cool Damaris. Are they special "NASA" broom handles? Hope they wernt too expensive.

sidd said...

looks awesome..great experience for you i bet

Anonymous said...

Lusardi, seriously?!?! The "broom" tool is quite obviously padded. It's designed that way for a reason, so that you don't break anything. Ms. Sarria is certainly of sound mind and able to operate this complex instrument.

Bragging, LOL... if you want to call it that, fine...

Dude, when OV-104 gets back to KSC, they're going to drop the landing gear once they're in the OPF's - LOL again - gotta check everything out, install pyro, etc. to be functional for the next mission. It'd still be cool if you held your breath for the next landing, though - why don't you start with the OMS burn and keep that up until the vehicle comes to a stop on the runway?

Yes, I agree, you are definitely missing "something"...

Calli Arcale said...

Oh, sweet. That is incredibly cool, and I think you have an awesome job.

Say, I notice that there are some brown thingies around the edges of the gear doors -- kinda look like masking tape and paper, like you'd use to mask off an area before painting a wall. Are those there to protect tile edges during the ferry flight or something? Because I'm sure I've never noticed anything like that in pictures of the Orbiter in KSC. (That doesn't mean the brown stuff wasn't there; just that I never noticed it. I can be dense sometimes.)

Damaris B. Sarria said...

Calli, the brown paper you see is called Armalon. The purpose of it is to protect the thermal barriers around the perimeter from rolling as the doors close. As soon as they close, they pull those sheets out.