Monday, April 30, 2007

The crazy month of MAY!!!

Balancing school, work, and my personal life has been a whirlwind lately. The month of May, especially, is going to be very busy!

I am excited for next week as I will be a judge for the 2007 NASA Means Business Student Competition here at KSC. I will be rating and ranking the team finalists that have been working on their proposals since Fall 2006 on how NASA can better promote science and math among middle and high school students, as well as the general public. On May 7-9, I will participate in the Ninth Annual Customer Engagement Conference at KSC where the grand prize recipient will be selected and announced!!! The team finalists are Arizona State University and The Art Institute of Phoenix (ASPIRE), Bentley College and Boston University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Florida), Miami International University, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, University of Houston - Clear Lake, and University of Northern Iowa!!!!! I will definitely post some pictures and recap the conference.

May 12th, I will be in the MUDDY BUDDY RIDE & RUN! It is a trail running and biking race, 6-7 miles with 5 obstacle courses, including the infamous MUD PIT!!!

Then the following week will be my trip to Washington D.C with the Citizens for Space Exploration. I am very appreciative that the organization will be sponsoring me to attend along with other students from different states. I can't wait to attend this function as I will voice to Congress how space exploration benefits us all and the importance of full funding for NASA.

I saw this article last week that Stephen Hawking got to experience microgravity!!! I especially liked his comment for his motive on experiencing microgravity:

"Many people have asked me why I am taking this flight. I am doing it for many reasons," he said before the flight. "First of all, I believe that life on Earth is at an ever increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers. I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space. I therefore want to encourage public interest in space."

F.Y.I.....Rollout for Atlantis (STS-117) should be sometime in the middle of May!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Some pictures from this weekend...

This weekend a friend from college came to visit me as she will be moving to Turkey soon on a work assignment. She had never visited KSC, so we took the KSC Up Close Tour. I highly recommend this tour to anyone that hasn't taken it yet. It is very informational and the tour guides do a great job in giving the right information. We stopped by the launch pads, VAB (which looks like the paint job is almost complete), and the Space Station Processing Facility (SSPF). Shown in the pictures are the ESA's Columbus laboratory and Japan's Kimo RMS module. We also visited the Apollo/Saturn building which provided a great reenactment of a Saturn V launch from the Launch Control Center. They even simulated the windows rattling due to the vibration of the launch. It was awesome! After the tour we walked around the vistor center and found that this summer, the new attraction "Shuttle Launch Simulation Facility" will be opening! Can't wait!

We also made time to visit Epcot and they have this new ride called Mission Space. You have two choices with this ride. With spinning and without. We did the "with spinning" version. I definitely felt about 2 1/2 G's. It reminded me of when I rode in the "vomit comet" and the transition my stomach felt going into microgravity. Definitely my favorite ride! Well, I had a fun weekend..but now I have to catch up on school work! I have midterms coming up next week! (ahh!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

And the new launch dates are..... "drumroll please"

June 8 (STS-117), August 9 (STS-118), October 20 (STS-120), December 6 (STS-122)....Those are the new launch dates for 2007. Get excited! :) As hurricane season begins June 1, I just hope Mother Nature doesn't bring us more surprises.

At the end of the May there may be a LESS/RCC imagery inspection simulation that I might attend. It's still in talk, but I really hope I get to attend the sim. It's similar to the imagery inspection I have been involved in with the tiles/blankets/gap fillers, however, this would include performing an imagery inspection of the nose cap, chin panel, wing leading-edge panels, and the forward ET attachment. It's a different area of expertise to learn about on the Orbiter, so I hope I get a chance to go out for the sim.

Today I received an e-mail saying I was approved for an over-the-limit credit registration. It sounded like a congratulatory e-mail, but I wasn't quite sure if I was supposed to be very enthusiastic at that point. I am registering for another class (yes, this will be class #4) this term that begins May 7. It begins in an overlapping term and the reason I wanted to take it on top of my other classes is to not have to take three classes next term. After these 4 classes, I will only have 2 classes left that I will be taking together, and I will then be complete with my graduation requirements by October if all goes as planned.

Oh and by the way.....4 hours, 24 minutes....Astronaut Sunita Williams finishes the Boston Marathon (26.2 miles)...IN SPACE! She's too cool! (Click here for the article)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Update on STS-117 Launch Date

Well it looks like launch would be no earlier than June 8th. We will be sticking with the current tank that has been undergoing repairs instead of swapping it out with a new one. Roll out to the launch pad could possibly be as early as May 6th. (Yey!)

Today I attended another planning session meeting with the Citizens for Space Exploration as we get closer to our Washington D.C trip. I offered to generate a list of recent NASA spinoff technology by state that can be helpful to use as talking points during our congressional appointments.

Monday, April 09, 2007


My new niece...Haley Ann

As we await tomorrows meeting.....

Tomorrow, the program managers will meet to decide which external tank to use for STS-117. The meeting is to occur no earlier than 6pm. We shall await the outcome!

So let me recap the week.

One of the classes I am taking is called Aviation & Aerospace Accident Investigation & Safety Systems. I love the class. I had to turn in an interesting assignment in which I kept a record over 4 days to determine my sleep debt. My professor considered 7 hours to be the norm for sleep in this assignment. To make a long story short, I only get 5 hours of sleep a night. We had to keep record of the effects of fatigue from lack of sleep and let's just say I can use more sleep! Haha. The assignment was in the form of a sleep matrix (below).

I commented to the professor that a schedule similar to this is used for astronauts during missions. The whole mission is planned out with a detailed schedule which includes their sleep time. Making sure astronauts obtain enough sleep is critical during a mission as it could effect their task performance, EVA's, and crewmembers working together. So the sleep matrix is definitively a useful tool.

So school has been going well with the exception of me having a little difficulty with my graduate research paper. It's been a little difficult forming my problem statement and hypothesis. Today I had a little help from a fellow coworker so I will see if my professor thinks my new problem statement/hypothesis is acceptable.

The best news last week was that my niece was born on Friday. Her name is Haley Ann. My sister is coming from Seattle for a whole month in June so I can spend time with both of my nieces. I love when my niece comes to visit because she watches the NASA channel with me. Ha ha! She knows the word "Space" and says astronaut like "Atronot". The coolest thing is that we both have matching astronaut toothbrushes. I know, I know, kinda cheesy....but I love it!

By the way...If you are or know someone who is an undergraduate student enrolled in a Florida university or community college..see if they may me interested in the Space Academy Program. I found the site while doing some research! Website

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Space Blanket

I've been doing some research for school on commercialized spinoffs that are a result of NASA technology. There are so many useful and life-saving spinoffs used by all of us today which effect our everyday lives! I came across one technology that I have used before, and was not even aware that it was a NASA spinoff! In January I ran my first half-marathon and just after the finish line they provided us with a "Space Blanket"). I knew the intent of the "space blanket" when I received mine, but I 1.) did not know it was referred to as a "Space Blanket" and 2.) did not know it derived from NASA technology. (photo)

The material is made of a strong, plastic, vacuum-metallized film with an efficient, infrared-reflective coating of aluminum applied as a vapor. The thin silver insulation has been used on manned and unmanned missions, such as the Hubble Space Telescope and has served as part of many more applications as well. Since the mid-70's, these space blankets have been distributed to runners to ensure minimum heat loss in their bodies and prevent hypothermia.

As I came across this doing my research, it was a coincident that in the news, Astronaut Suni Williams, will be running next month's Boston Marathon! The only difference is that she will be on a treadmill in space instead of in Boston. (Here's the news release on Suni!)