Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Before Atlantis Rolls Back to the VAB

I figured I'd get a picture with me and Space Shuttle Atlantis before she rolls back to the VAB for repairs due to the hail damage from Monday evening.

My visit to the press site

I had never been at the press site until this afternoon. Behind me in the picture is the launch countdown clock. And if you look really closely at the picture, you can see the top of Space Shuttle Atlantis's External Tank in between me and the countdown clock. I have never been at the press site during a launch, but I think I will for this next launch. It would be exciting to see the media do their live coverage during the launch and there is a great view from the press site as well!

Pegasus Barge

This is a picture of the Pegasus barge which is towed from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. This is how the external tanks are transported to Kennedy Space Center! Here's a series of pictures to show you how the external tank arrives to the Vehicle Assembly Building to get ready to mate to the Solid Rocket Boosters and the Orbiter.

Launch delayed due to hail damage

I'm sure you're aware by now of the hail damage to the external tank of Space Shuttle Atlantis. Below is a picture of some of the damages found on the external tank from the strong thunderstorm Monday evening. Here's a picture of a large piece of hail from that evening and some damages to the external tank. This impact will require the shuttle stack to be moved back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for repairs, delaying launch on a space station assembly mission from March 15 to late April.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Talking to Ridley High School

I just got home from Pennsylvania. Here are some pictures from the talk I did at Ridley High School today. By the way, Happy National Engineers Week!! :)

Monday, February 19, 2007

This past weekend!

Thursday through Saturday I attended the annual conference in Orlando, FL. for Women in Aviation International. I had a blast networking with people from all over and listening about the different professions and leadership positions the women are in. The guest speakers were phenomenal as well (among them was Bonnie Dunbar).

After the conference, I hopped on a plane to Philadelphia, PA. as I will be speaking to Ridley High School on Tuesday. My friend, Melissa, is a teacher at the high school and I am currently staying with her. When I arrived into town, we decided to take a train into New York as I had never visited the city. Despite the freezing weather, we saw a lot in one day! Some of the highlights from the day trip were Rockefeller Center, seeing the Broadway musical The Color Purple, World Trade Center ground zero site, Times Square, Empire State Building, and so much more! I had a great time and will definitely be going back, but when the weather warms up. Below is a slideshow that captures some of my special moments. I'll be sure to post some pictures from my talk at Ridley High School tomorrow.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Space Shuttle Atlantis Roll Out

Space Shuttle Atlantis rolled out to LC-39A. Here are some pictures a co-worker took as I was unable to be there.....Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One more semester complete!

Well first off, I am relieved to say that I am through with my 3 grad courses I was taking! 3 research papers: DONE! Three finals: DONE! Next semester I will be taking three more, then two the following...and I will have a Masters in Aeronautical Science.

Yesterday I went to my first meeting with the Citizens for Space Exploration in Cocoa Beach. The organization conducts an annual trip to Washington D.C to express to Congressmen and Senators the value and benefits of space exploration. What I strongly admire about the organization is the interest of the people. The name says it all. "CITIZENS" for Space Exploration. Not everyone is an engineer, scientist, or directly works in the space industry, BUT they do have a passion to support America's investment in space exploration.

Thursday through Saturday I will be attending the annual Women in Aviation International conference. There are some good leadership workshops and seminars planned and it will be a great networking opportunity! Then after the conference is through, I will be flying to Pennsylvania. Next week I will be talking with the students of Ridley High School. I just hope the "winter" weather cooperates!

At 7am tomorrow, Space Shuttle Atlantis is planned to move out of the VAB and roll out to the LC-39A. March 15th, here we come!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On my lunch break.....

During a lunch break and I went to visit LC-19. 27 launches occurred from LC-19, 10 of them were manned. This was the launch pad that launched America's first two-manned mission, first spacewalk, first spacecraft rendezvous/docking and space emergency, and other historic events all began here when astronauts rode their Gemini-Titan vehicles into orbit.

Launch Complex 19

The remains of the launch umbilical tower

Me standing next to the flame deflector (bottom) and hold-down arms (top)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Google "Solar System" Maps???

Google has signed on to help 19 universities and laboratories with an ambitious telescope project in Chile. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will have a 27.5-foot diameter and will produce 200 terabytes worth of images each week.

Instead of financing the project, Google will be help the scientists organize data. The search-engine giant is also reportedly going to make that information "accessible." Might that mean Google will make the images public via "Google Solar System?" After all, we already do have these limited maps of Mars and the moon.

Check these sites out!!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

LC-39A awaiting Atlantis for STS-117 launch!!!!

Where were you on February 1, 2003?

The morning the accident happened, I was driving from College Station, TX. to Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Family and friends were calling me as they knew I was supporting the mission.

I, along with other co-workers from the Spacecraft Technology Center at Texas A&M, were supporting the payload operations of StarNav I. StarNAV I was a star-tracker experiment built by STC at Texas A&M onboard Columbia's SpaceHab payload module.

About three days prior to the end of mission, we had finished receiving all the data we needed during the mission and were able to go back home to College Station. The next time we needed to go back to JSC was during landing to pick up our stuff. When I was driving back to Houston, I thought I was going to pick up our binders, computers, and other belongings. As I arrived at Johnson Space Center, there were balloons and flowers at the front gate from locals who were impacted from the accident. As I walked through the halls at JSC, it was quiet. The JSC community was sad, disappointed, and mourning the loss of 7 friends.

We were unable to take any of our belongings with us. We had to back-up our data on CDs and then our data and hardware were confiscated. We were able to retrieve everything at a later date once the investigation was underway.

You can view the 13 minutes of flight deck audio and video recovered before the tragedy occurred: Click HERE

The 28th and final flight of Columbia (STS-107) was a 16-day mission dedicated to research in physical, life, and space sciences. The seven astronauts aboard Columbia worked 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, successfully conducting approximately 80 separate experiments. On February 1, 2003, Columbia and its crew were lost over the southern United States during the spacecraft's re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.