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:

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