Saturday, January 27, 2007

SWE's SUCCESS!!: Introducing Girls To Engineering Workshop

We had such a great turnout today! An estimated 650 young girls attended engineering workshops run by willing and dedicated members/volunteers of the Spacecoast's Society of Women Engineers chapter. I was one of the leaders for the Bottle Rockets Workshop. I explained Newton's Three Law's of Motion and helped them launch their own bottle rocket. The girls had a blast! We have 5 session workshops throughout the day for the Bottle Rockets, and I have to say that I enjoyed every single one of them. There were so many other engineering workshops that they attended (e.g. Robot Designs, Electrical Circuits, Bridges, Fun with Solar Energy, etc....) but I know that by the end of the day they all gained a little extra knowledge and had fun with hands-on applications.

January 27, 1967....Exactly 40 years ago.....

Today marks the 40th anniversary for the crew of the Apollo 1 mission. On January 27th, 1967, astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, (the second American astronaut to fly into space), astronaut Edward H. White II (the first American astronaut to "walk" in space), and astronaut Roger B. Chaffee (a "rookie" astronaut on his first space mission)entered the capsule located on Pad 34 to start a simulation of the countdown sequence. Due to a spark caused by a short in a ciruit and the pure oxygen in the capsule, a fire broke out and quickly spread through the cabin. The last transmission ended within 17 seconds and the crew died from smoke inhalation and suffered severe burns.

Since we first started putting humans into space, there have been accidents, lessons learned, and we have suffered the losses of brave astronauts. Let us remember what they lived for and believed in, the improvements this space program has made, and the successes we have had in space exploration.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SWE's Introducing Girls to Engineering Workshop

This Saturday, I will be volunteering at the Space Coast's SWE chapter for their annual Introducing Girls to Engineering Workshop. I signed up to assist with the Bottle Rocket's workshop module. Unfortunately, the engineering field is still a field that attracts few women. But I am proud to be taking part in encouraging the engineering field to these young women. I'll make sure to post some pictures of our cool bottle rockets!

I've been keeping really busy for the past week. I am wrapping up the three graduate courses I am taking. I still have three research papers to write and 2 finals to go. It's been real busy at work as Atlantis is getting ready to roll over to the VAB in about 2 weeks, Discovery continuing post-mission processing, and Endeavor getting ready for STS-118. By the way...STS-117 will be launching out of pad 39A!!

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. A while back, "I've made the commitment". The committment to support and make others aware of cervical cancer and the ways one can prevent the disease. Whether you are a woman or a man, you can still educate yourself and share with others on the prevention methods. During the month of January and February, $1 to the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation will be donated for every online commitment made during January and February. If you make the online commitment, you will get a free bead bracelet kit. I just got mine in the mail today.

"Reaching for the Moon"

Discovery has acquired rights to show this movie, Reaching for the Moon, on television and is seeking a distributor to put it into theaters. I will be WAITING!! I think true, honest, and sincere recollections from astronauts is what we all need to hear about! Having never been in space, I WANT TO KNOW what astronauts went through, how they felt, and their first reaction to space. Check out this site:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The little things that motivate me.....

I am on 2nd shift for two weeks, and as I was going into work this afternoon, I thought I would share the simple little things that motivate me when I go in to work each day.

First there is the VAB (Vehicle Assemble Building) that can be seen from miles away. Which, by the way, is getting a new paint job!! To me, this building is a great symbol of spaceflight history. On the drive in to work, the building stands out from miles away and I can't help but feel proud of the work I do and the people I work with.

Then, as I walk through the halls at work, they are decorated with large images of the Space Shuttle crew from various missions. Each day, I am reminded of the dedicated men and women who journey into space and bravely risk their lives, not only for this nation, but for all humanity to continue advancing in space exploration.

Just some things that motivate me daily...... :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I am a space advocate...are you?!

Last week I registered at It's a great online tool where you can learn about current space legislation, examine law-makers' voting records and positions on the space exploration program, and get involved by communicating directly with your legislators. I find this site as a great resource to become aware of space-related issues. Our support is crucial to the future of our nation's space program and this site allows our voices to be heard, from the local government to the federal government.

Other good news is that last week I found out that the next selection process for NASA's Astronaut Candidate Program was changed from occuring this summer and is set for Summer 2008! I will be applying in the summer of 2008. :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Do you support the Vision for Space Exploration???

Today I worked on finalizing my presentation for Ridley Park High School in Ridley Park, PA. In doing so, I recalled an important Washington D.C trip, where I met with members of Congress and encouraged them to support America's space program. I am going to explain the experience to the high school to encourage the younger generation to take the initiative to understand the importance of America's space program and the Vision for Space Exploration.

In 2004, I traveled to Washington D.C with members of the Citizens for Space Exploration. During this trip, we presented to members of Congress the benefits of space exploration and why they should support the space program in their budget. It was a great experience for me because people from different professional backgrounds and students voiced their support for the space program to Congress. Both, the professional and students, were very passionate about their message because they were aware of the benefits that space exploration offers to everyone. The next trip to Washington D.C. for the Citizens for Space Exploration is in May and I plan to support the organization by attending and extending my support for space exploration.

During my presentation at Ridley Park, I will be expressing to the students why it is important for them to become involved and to support America's space program. I feel that it is vital for the younger generation to become aware of the challenges, learn from the new findings, and take advantage of the opportunities generated by the space program.

Feel free to browse the following sites if you want to understand and learn more about the goals and benefits of the space program:

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Finish time: 2:49:38 !!!!

My experience of my first half marathon was great! The weather was perfect and there were about 17,000 participants. I had some good tunes on my MP3 player and everything was going smoothly until mile 9. In trying to go around some walkers, I landed on my ankle and sprained my right ankle pretty bad. But, I have to tell you that I am a proud user of Biofreeze(a topical pain reliever). Right when I injured the ankle, I saw the medical tent and sqeezed a big glob of the Biofreeze gel. I walked for a little bit, and when it started to feel a little better from the miraculous gel, I ran lightly. I finished at 2:49:38. After crossing the finish line, I received my medal and had a few snacks. However, the Biofreeze started wearing off and well, now I am sitting on my couch, with a wrapped swollen ankle and an ice pack (R.I.C.E). But, i finished the race!!! Yey! The half marathon was not so bad and I definitely will do it again next year! It was great to see so many people running for their own cause. For loved ones they lost either due to cancer or fighting for a disease. It was cool to see everyone out so early in the morning too!!!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Tomorrow is the big day: Disney's 2007 Half Marathon

Disney's 2007 Half Marathon

Tomorrow I will be getting up at 2:30 am. Leave the house at 3:00am and get to Disney at 3:30am. After taking a bus to the race area, and checking in my belongings, I will be attempting to run 13.5 miles! I'm so nervous!!! This is my first half marathon, and to be quite honest, I didn't eat very healthy over the holidays (ok, you know you're guilty too!) or run as much as I wanted to. But my alarm is set, and I am running tomorrow! Today I went to go pick up my goodie bag and race number! I took my 3-yr. old niece with me since it's the last day I'll see her before she leaves back to Seattle in the early morning. I'm #31868 and ready!!

Inspecting Tile Inserts......

Fused silica threaded inserts and plugs are used in the Space Shuttle tiles to provide access for door removal or panel attachment. Today a coworker and I crammed under one of the main engines of Space Shuttle Atlantis to inspect the inserts on the tiles. We are inspecting the integrity of the insert to make sure it is sound for flight or that it doesn't need to be replaced/pull tested.
Fused silica insert and plug locations on Orbiter