Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and I hope 2009 is productive for what you set out to accomplish and is safe for you all. I am currently in Boston spending New Year's and it is very cold. We had some snow fall yesterday and today it is sunny (still 8 degrees F) but still a great day to walk around to see some highlights of the city.

Thanks to all those who read my blog and for your encouraging comments. Here's to 2009!!! Cheers from Boston!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hello from the West Coast!!!

I have been a little out of touch lately and that's because I have been doing a little bit of traveling to visit family for the holidays. I flew down to Seattle last week (so much snow!!) and then drove down to California where I am right now to spend surprise some more family.

According to the Astronaut Selection Office, everyone should have been contacted by the end of November and invited for interviews or asked to get medical evaluations. I did not get contacted so here's to next time!! :) I'm not down or anything about, but I will continue my graduate studies and explore new space opportunities!

I hope everyone has a great holiday! I return to Florida next week...but then head to visit Boston for New Years!!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Years everyone!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Endeavour lands at KSC

Endeavour flew in to KSC piggybacked on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), or a modified Boeing 747.

It left Edwards Air Force Base on Wednesday. It stopped at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas to refuel. Then stayed overnight in Fort Worth, Texas at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base. The next overnight stop was in Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana on Thursday.

Landing today was on Runway 33, and occurred around 2:45 p.m. EST.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Endeavour to land at Edwards Air Force Base

With the forecasts predicting unfavorable weather at Florida's Kennedy Space Center proving true today and little hope of better conditions tomorrow, NASA has decided to divert space shuttle Endeavour's landing to the backup site at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The deorbit burn is scheduled for 3:19 p.m. EST (12:19 p.m. local; 2019 GMT), leading to touchdown at 4:25 p.m. EST (1:25 p.m. local; 2125 GMT) to conclude the 16-day flight.

No Landing today at KSC

Both landing attempts for today have been waived off and a final decision has not been made to land at Edwards Air Force Base. Even tomorrow's weather here at Kennedy Space Center does not look too great. It's pretty windy, there is a lot of cloud cover, and afternoon thunderstorms should be moving in.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Endeavour Undocks from the ISS

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving with family or friends. The crew of Endeavour and the International Space Station spent Thanksgiving together onboard the ISS. This morning at 9:47am EDT, Endeavour undocked from the ISS to make its way home.

This afternoon, we have some engineers from our group that are at Johnson Space Center to to carry out a final inspection of the Orbiter's reinforced carbon carbon nose cap and wing leading edge panels. The final inspection ensures no damage from space debris has occurred since the inspection performed the day after launch.

Landing is scheduled for Sunday Nov. 30 at 1:19 p.m. EST on runway 15.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Presentation at Florida Institute of Technology

Today I will be giving a presentation to the graduate students of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Florida Institute of Technology. I will be talking about the Thermal Protection System and also of my experience down in Houston supporting Endeavour's STS-126 mission.

Just last night I applied to the Space Science Master's program at FIT. Below is a description of the degree program. I have my letters of recommendation in progress and I have to work on sending my transcripts and statement of objectives over. My goal is to have all this completed by the end of the weekend.

The space sciences graduate program stresses astrophysics, astrodynamics, space and planetary physics, cosmic ray physics, space instrumentation, physics of lightning, solar-terrestrial interrelations, terrestrial geomagnetism and stellar photometry. Graduate study in space sciences at the master’s level prepares the graduate for a wide range of scientific and technical responsibilities in industry and government related directly or indirectly to the space program.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Endeavour's TPS in great condition

I've returned from Houston and I have to say that Endeavour had very little debris hits and was very 'clean'. We didn't notice anything major that would effect a nominal re-entry of the vehicle.

On Flight Day 3 is when we receive the imagery taken by the crew on the ISS. The imagery is taken right before the Orbiter docks with the ISS. We then review the entire outer surface of the Orbiter for any debris hit, protruding gap fillers, or blanket anomalies with the thermal protection system. We have specified criteria for certain zones of the Orbiter that we use to evaluate and assess the damages.

Yesterday, the “Leonardo” Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) was transferred from Endeavour’s payload bay to Node 2 of the ISS for the exchange of cargo/supplies. While today's EVA was going on to service the starboard solar array rotary joint, the rest of the crew inside the ISS worked on moving the two water recycling racks and the new galley from the MPLM into the ISS.

Endeavour is scheduled to return to KSC on November 29, 2008 at 2:10 EST.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Successful Launch of Endeavour

Watching the launch from the beach was so awesome!! It was such a clear night that I was able to see the solid rocket booster separation. I'm currently in Houston and we're about to get the photos that the ISS crew will be taking of the Endeavour's Thermal Protection System (TPS). We'll then inspect the TPS for any anomalies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Segments of Ares I-X for 2009 Test Flight

Below are some photos of the segments for the Ares I-X rocket to be used in a test flight targeted for July 2009.

The upper stage segments will simulate the mass and the outer mold line and will be more than 100 feet of the total vehicle height of 327 feet. The simulator comprises 11 segments that are approximately 18 feet in diameter. Most of the segments will be approximately 10 feet high, ranging in weight from 18,000 to 60,000 pounds, for a total of approximately 450,000 pounds.

The bottom two photos are of first-stage segment (forward skirt). The segment is fabricated entirely of armored steel, weighs 14,000 pounds, and is 7 feet tall and 12.25 feet wide.

1 Day Until STS-126 Launch!

So far we're go for launch tomorrow. We now have a 70% chance of favorable weather for launch!! Be sure to keep up with live mission updates as we get closer to the countdown:

I have some friends that I met over the summer from ISU's Space Studies Program in Barcelona, Spain. They're visiting from the Washington D.C. area, Canada, Spain, and Germany and this will be the first launch experience for most. We will all be watching the launch from the beach. It will be a good mini-reunion before I head out to Houston!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2 Days Until STS-126 Launch!

Yesterday evening, Atlantis was moved to the Orbiter Processing Facility 1, where it will undergo some modifications that would have been done after its flight. However, since we had the Hubble mission delay, we might as well take advantage of time and perform the work now. The date for the Atlantis (STS-125) launch is still projected to be around May 2009.

We’re officially 2 days way from launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-126). There is a 60% chance of favorable weather. If for some reason we are delayed, the next launch attempt would be on 11/15 at 7:29pm EDT. The crew arrived yesterday from Houston and they are ready for their mission.

Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 Air and Space Show at Kennedy Space Center

Over the weekend the 2008 Air and Space Show was held at Kennedy Space Center. Here are a couple of awesome shots of the aircraft at the show (including the F/A-18 Blue Angels, F-4, F-16 and F-104G Starfighter!!)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Update: 2009 Astronaut Selection

The Astronaut Selection Office has selected 450 highly qualified applicants. They are currently in the process of contacting the references the applicants provided and mailing out a medical form for the applicants to get a medical evaluation. From information provided by the references and the medical evaluation, the selection panel will invite 120 of those applicants for interviews at Johnson Space Center in January 2009.

I haven't heard anything yet, so there still may be a chance. :) It's projected that all of the selected applicants should be notified by the end of November.

There are many who have recieved the medical form or have heard that their references have been contacted...Good luck to all that applied!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

10 days until STS-126 launch!

Last week the crew was at Kennedy Space Center for their countdown rehearsal. Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour is currently scheduled for Nov. 14 at 7:55 p.m. EST and landing is scheduled for Nov. 29 at 2:18 p.m.

I will also be preparing to travel to Houston for this mission to assist with the on-orbit imagery inspection of the Thermal Protection System ensuring the vehicle and crew will have a safe re-entry.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Space Shuttle Endeavour Moves to Pad A

Now that space shuttle Atlantis was transferred to the Vehicle Assembly Building, it made way for space shuttle Endeavour to move to pad A.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Atlantis in the VAB awaiting STS-125

Early this morning space shuttle Atlantis was transferred to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Atlantis will be waiting for it's next flight early next year. This week I am on 2nd shift. So I am basically helping out on the night shift with any processing issues for Discovery. In early November we should have a better idea on whether Atlantis or Discovery will be the shuttle to launch February.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crawler on its way to pick up Atlantis!

As I was headed to Pad B to work a contamination issue, I saw the crawler heading to Pad A. The crawler will be picking up Atlantis and taking it to the VAB. This should be around Monday or Tuesday of next week. Endeavour will then be transferred to Pad A for a November 14 launch!!!!

A view from Pad B.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ares/Orion Lightning Protection System

Yesterday afternoon I went to pad 39B to help work an issue with Endeavour, which is currently scheduled for launch (STS-126) on November 14.

Pad 39B is undergoing modifications to support the Constellation Program's Ares I rockets. One of the major additions to the pad is the lightning protection system which is designed to reduce the probability of a direct lightning strike to the vehicle and associated launch equipment during processing and other pre-flight activities.

The three steel towers are going to be 595 feet (181.4 meters) in height and after talking with some of the guys out at the pad, they said a gigantic crane is going to be shipped over to KSC around November to help stack the tower segments. The crane is going to be so huge that it is being shipped disassembled. Estimated completion date is March of 2010.

The is an artist's conception of the final construction of the three towers.

Click here for an animation of the lightning protection system.

Walking back to the car, I stopped to take an overall picture of the pad and to my left...was this guy....

Friday, October 03, 2008

Celebrating NASA's 50th year Anniversary

So I've returned from Houston to premote NASA's 50th Year Anniversary on behalf of the Coalition for Space Exploration.

I had such a great time conversing with Commander Gene Cernan! I mean, what an honor to be sitting next to a man who actually walked on the moon.

We sat through about 30 live live and live-to-tape television and radio broadcasts by stations around the United States. The whole experience was more than inspiring to me! I also had time to got visit Texas A&M University to give a talk to students about the orbiter's Thermal Protection Systems. I hadn't been back to Texas A&M since 2005 and so much has changed! I kinda miss my old college town. :)

Here are a couple of links to some videos that were uploaded by some t.v. stations.

WJZ (Baltimore, Maryland):

KOVR (Sacramento, California): Interview:

NewsRadio740 KTRH (Houston, Texas) - Look for live interview from Wednesday, October 1, 2008.

KIVI (Denver, Colorado) and KWGN (Boise, Idaho):

San Diego 6 (San Diego, California):

KUSA (Denver, Colorado)

KVUE (Austin, Texas):

Monday, September 29, 2008

STS-125 Delayed....

Due to electrical malfunction with the Hubble Space Telescope, the servicing mission that Atlantis and the astronaut crew were going to perform is now going to be delayed. NASA will press ahead with the launch of Endeavour on November 14th, 2008. Atlantis will be removed from pad 39A to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Endeavour would then be moved to pad 39A for normal launch processing and modifications of pad 39B will continue for the transition to the Ares rockets to replace the space shuttle.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Project 10^100

Link: Project 10^100

If you have an idea that you believe would help somebody, Google wants to hear about it. They're looking for ideas that help as many people as possible, in any way, and they're committing the funding to launch them.

People are encouraged to submit their ideas, in any of 25 languages, at through October 20, 2008. Entrants must briefly describe their idea and answer six questions, including, "If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how?"

Google employees, with the help of an advisory board, will narrow the submissions to 100 semifinalists by January 27, 2009. Between January 27, 2009 and February 2, 2009 the public will vote online for their favorite ideas. A panel of judges will then review the top 20 ideas and announce up to five winners in mid-February.

Good Luck!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

NASA's 50 and the Spacecraft Technology Center

Since I have returned from Barcelona, I have been keeping myself very busy!

I have been applying to various schools for another Master’s. I have chosen to pursue a degree in either Materials Science & Engineering or Biomedical Engineering as both fields spark a great interest to me. I’ve rounded up all my transcripts and am about to mail those out along with the letters of recommendation. I hope to complete the application process for all schools by the middle of next week.

Speaking of next week, I will be in Houston on behalf of the Coalition for Space Exploration to promote NASA’s 50th Year Anniversary. Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan and I will be available for various media interviews that will be on live television and radio at Space Center Houston. Together we hope to highlight NASA’s success over the last 50 years and benefits of space exploration.

The day after that, I will be traveling to where I received my undergraduate degree from, Texas A&M University, to do a presentation to the Space Engineering Institute students of the Spacecraft Technology Center (STC). While I was an undergrad, I worked for the STC and I have to say this is what helped my career get started in the space industry. I am very excited to go back and see some of the people I worked with as well as meet the SEI students and tell them of my experiences. Next week will be very busy!!

The following launch schedule changes were announced this morning:
STS-125 (Atlantis) launch has been moved to October 14th @ 10:19pm EDT
STS-126 (Endeavour) launch has been moved to November 16th @ 7:07 pm EDT

Friday, September 19, 2008

Space Shuttle Atlantis and Endeavour at the pads

The Best View of 2 Space Shuttles!!!!

If all goes according to schedule we should have a unique view at Launch Complex 39 tomorrow morning. Endeavour arrived at Pad B this morning and certain operations will keep the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) retracted (as in the launch configuration) until mid morning. Meanwhile over on Pad A, Atlantis is waiting for the delivery of the Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission (HST SM-4) payload. In preparation for the canister delivery and lift into the Payload Changeout Room (PCR), the Pad A RSS will also be retracted tomorrow morning. So for a few hours tomorrow morning (somewhere between 7:30am – 10:30am) we will have a clear unobstructed view of both vehicles on the pads. The only other time this occurred was nearly 20 years ago, in September of 1990 (see photo above). Columbia (STS-35) was on Pad A and Discovery (STS-41) was on Pad B.

Here's a picture of when Endeavour arrived at Pad B early this morning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Astronaut Candidate Selection Process Timeline

It was recently pointed out to me that NASA has made a timeline available regarding the astronaut candidate selection process.

September - October 2008
Qualified Applications reviewed to determine Highly Qualified applicants

October - November 2008
Highly Qualified applications reviewed to determine Interviewees

November 2008 - January 2009
Interviewees brought to JSC for preliminary interview, medical evaluation, and orientation

February 2009
Finalists determined

February - March 2009
Finalists brought to JSC for additional interview and complete medical evaluation

May 2009
Astronaut Candidate Class of 2009 announced

August 2009
Astronaut Candidate Class of 2009 reports to the Johnson Space Center

Monday, September 08, 2008

2009 NASA Means Business Student Competition

Attention Undergraduate and Graduate Students!!!
About a year ago I was a judge for this student competition and I highly encourage students to participate in this!

NASA needs your help in designing a strategy to articulate the many anticipated contributions that its Constellation Program will make to space exploration as well as to everyday life on Earth. In return, NASA wants to give YOU an outstanding, one-of-a-kind educational experience!

The Constellation Program is designing and building America's next generation human spaceflight system, which will replace the Space Shuttle by providing access to the International Space Station and other destinations in Earth orbit. It will also take America back to the Moon and on to Mars.

Your assignment? design and prepare a Constellation Program Branding Strategy, and
Illustrate that strategy in a 30-second video public service announcement (PSA) production.

For this effort we strongly urge you organize a team with a wide range of backgrounds - not just science and engineering, but also business, advertising, marketing, public relations, graphic arts and animation, communication, radio-television-film, journalism and other similar disciplines.

The prize for the 5 finalist teams?
A cash award of $1,000, and an invitation to "behind-the-scenes" visits at both the Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center.

The grand prize?
You have to choose between a cash award of $1000 or a ride on the Zero Gravity Corporation's G-FORCE ONE aircraft.

Read about the eligibility and requirements on the following site:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Back to work...

Yesterday was my first day back at work. It is great to see everyone again and jump right back into things. I'm still a little jet lag and find myself wide awake around 4:30am and extremely sleepy around 9pm. But I'll get over it. :)

Our concern here at Kennedy Space Center is keeping in an eye out on Tropical Storm Hanna, Hurricane Ike and Tropical Storm Josephine. It looks like we may just get some rain from the outer bands of Hanna and that it will dodge the Florida coast. We are still not sure of Hurrican Ike's track, but we will need to keep on eye on it. Tropical Storm Josephine in weakening and we hope it will stay that way.

On a lighter note, there are two things to look forward to tomorrow.....NASA will attempt to roll Space Shuttle Atlantis to the launch pad at 10am....and I will be 27! :)