Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kayaking at the Wekiva River

Today I took a day excursion with some friends to the Wekiva Marina to do some kayaking on the river since it was a gorgeous day. It was the perfect day to be outdoors and get a good arm workout too!

I even encountered an alligator but made sure to paddle right past him and not disturb him. On the way back to the marina, I managed to get a close up photo of him. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Help NASA Name ISS Node 3

Voting will be open until March 20th, 2009. NASA will announce the winning name in April 2009.

NASA wants your opinion in naming the International Space Station’s Node 3 – a connecting module and its cupola – before the two segments travel to space and are installed on the orbiting laboratory. The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station, and follow in the tradition set by Node 1- Unity- and Node 2- Harmony.

Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the Node 3 components during the STS-130 mission targeted for December 2009 (but most likely early 2010 with the current delay impacts). Once the cupola is attached to one of the module’s six ports, it will offer astronauts a spectacular view of both their home planet and their home in space.

Visit NASA's website ( to read more about the cupola and to help you decide on a name to submit for the node.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Inside the Lunar Electric Rover (LER)

The Lunar Electric Rover (LER) is still going through design reviews, but here's a sneak peak inside!

Check out this link for some images on the progress of NASA's Constellation Program:

SECME and First Lego League

These weeekend was full of volunteering for me!

On Saturday I volunteered as a judge for SECME. Students registered in competitions for bottle rockets, gliders, bridges, posters, mousetrap race cars, posters and essays. SECME's (Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics, and Enrichment) goal is to renew and strengthen the professional capacity of K-12 educators, motivate and mentor students, and empower parents so that all students can learn and achieve at higher levels. This year's theme was Thinking Out of the Box.

The FIRST LEGO League State Competition Judging was held in Melbourne, FL. at the Florida Institute of Technology. FLL is a competition for teams of up to 10 students ages 9-14 years old. The competition consists of table matches (where their LEGO robot runs) and judging on the design and construction of the robot and software as well as how effective they operate as a team. In addition, they are required to conduct research on a topic related to the theme designated for the year (this year was Climate) and are judged on a presentation of their research.

The robots are constructed from LEGO Robotics kits and are programmed using either the LEGO Mindstorms software or Robolab software which is based on Labview. Software judges have the teams walk through their software and have them talk about the design and how effective their software is. Hardware judges have the teams demonstrate how their robot accomplishes the mission objectives and talk with the team members about how their robot is designed, why they made specific design decisions, etc.

View a Video the Robot Missions: Click Here!

This year I judged the teams on teamwork. They were given 5 minutes to complete 3 puzzles within their team. As judges, we observed the teams working together to solve the problems and then we asked them questions based on teamwork.

Friday, February 20, 2009

National Engineer’s Week

This week was National Engineer’s Week (Feb. 16 – Feb 20). The purpose of celebrating National Engineers Week is to promote engineering principles and innovative ways to teach math and science to students of all ages. Also, companies host events for employees as well! On Wednesday Boeing held a Bottle Rocket Contest for employees. I didn’t have string at home for my parachute so I used dental floss which held up really well (Minty smell too!!)!! We all had a lot of fun with the construction of the rockets as well as the launching!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

STS-119 Delayed...again

There is still much work that needs to be completed to assess the safety of the shuttle's external tank pressurization system. (Read more here)

The new date for the flight readiness review is Feb. 20th.
The new launch date target is Feb. 27th.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

External Tank/Solid Rocket Booster Stack

Yesterday I got to see something a little different. Atlantis' external fuel tank and solid rocket booster (SRB) stack on the mobile launcher platform (MLP).....without the orbiter, of course!

Since the delay of Atlantis' STS-125 flight (now moved to May 12), the Orbiter was removed from the rest of the stack and returned to the Orbiter Processing Facility to continue additional work and modifications while the flight was pushed back. The rest of the stack stayed in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).

These pictures were taken as the stack was moved to another bay within the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) making room for the preparations of Endeavour's stack for STS-127.

Snow Shuttle!!

In Florida, we would never be able to make a snow shuttle, but I had to mention the Beta Sigma Theta fraternity from Michigan Tech who had some time on their hands for the 2009 Winter Carnival. :)

Check out some other photos:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

STS-119 Delayed

The launch of Discovery has been delayed to no-earlier-than Feb. 19th.

The delay is to provide additional time for the engineering team to address an issue with a Main Propulsion System flow control valve.

The next Flight Readiness Review will be held on Feb. 12th at which time a new launch date would be assigned.

As of Friday, Flight Readiness Review will be held on Feb 18, and the launch has now slipped to no earlier than Feb. 22.