Thursday, March 27, 2008

Working in the Payload Bay

A "bunny suit" is required when I have to look at certain documented discrepancies within the Payload Bay. It's a clean environment to make sure nothing is dropped or contaminated within the payload bay. In this picture I was reviewing the document on a tile along the door hingeline.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Going down 60 feet on Sunday! Yikes!

I'm feeling quite relieved. Last night....LATE last night, I turned in my research to my professor to look over. My term ends April 22nd and by then, I will have completed my first Masters. It was just such a relief to complete the main content of the research. Now I should have a little more time to devote to my astronaut application. :)

On Saturday, I went with my SCUBA class to De Leon Springs to complete our first open water dive. We only went about 24 feet deep. However, this Sunday, we'll be traveling to dive off the coast of West Palm Beach and will be going about 60 feet under water! I'm really enjoying SCUBA and it's just a whole different world underwater with sounds and I think the coolest thing is looking up at the surface of the water. I can't wait to see all types of aquatic life on Sunday. Here are a couple of shots from Saturday. SCUBA gear is not quite flattering, but let me tell you, that cap kept me really warm. Even in our classes in the pool, I've been shivering. As we lose 70% of our body heat through our head, the cap keeps me warm in the cold water.

Endeavour will be landing at KSC on Wednesday. There will be two landing attempts. One at 7:05pm and the other at 8:39pm. It's going to be a little difficult to get some good shots as it's a night landing, but I'm hoping to get some photos once the orbiter is on the runway.

I am looking forward to my Seattle trip coming up in April. There is still snow on Crystal Mountain. I'm so excited I want to start packing my ski stuff now! It's my niece's 1st birthday and baptism so I figured I'd sneak in a little skiing while I was up there and enroll my 4-year old niece, Ashley, in a class too. I've promised Ashley I would talk to her school, St. George Parish Catholic School. I hear the pre-school through eighth-graders are looking forward to my presentation.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

SCUBA and Flying....

Yesterday I did some night flying with a friend and he actually let me help with takeoff and do a couple of turns. We flew a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior around the coast and performed a couple of landings. It was exciting just to control the aircraft for the time I did. The only drawback to this plane was that I am short and could barely see over the cockpit. So...I had to use a pillow to boost me up. :(

SCUBA has been going great! On Tuesday I got to go in the pool and do certain things like assembling my gear, taking my mask off underwater for a minute, taking the regulator out and putting it back in, some emergency procedures, etc. It's alot of fun! I was a little nervous at first, but I think I have the hang of it now. Tonight we'll be going over chapters 3 and 4 and then I have to take some quizzes. Tuesdays are in-pool days and Thursday's are lecture days. I can't wait for our open water dives. We're supposed to do a spring dive and then a drift dive off the coast of West Palm Beach. But that's not until the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

...and LIFT-OFF of Space Shuttle Endeavour!

The launch lit up the sky as if it was a 7am sunrise. We had such a flawless launch! I put my alarm to wake me up at 12:30am and then drove out to work to see the launch at 2:28am. You could imagine I'm a bit tired this morning. But it was SO worth it. The night launch was such an amazing view and experience.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What a week!

Endeavour sits on the pad awaiting a launch on March 11th and the crew is ready! Launch is set for 2:28am

I've been quite busy as the work is starting to roll in from Atlantis returning. I've also been working some of the issues related to the in-flight anomalies we had. For example, we have to do some testing on the blanket that lifted up in the corner and assess the situation. Certain issues had to be cleared before we could say Endeavor was ok to fly.

I start scuba diving classes this week!!!! Tonight I have to read a couple of chapters in the book and complete the tests at the end of the chapter. I am very excited for scuba and I have all my gear ready. I'm new to scuba and was so excited when my instructor said we'd be able to see ship wrecks on our open water dives. That's too AWESOME!

I took a day off of work on Friday because I had the GRE test on Saturday. On Friday, a prototype of the Orion heat shield was actually at Kennedy Space Center! I had a co-worker take a snap shot of the heat shield. Here's a good site that gives a quick overview:

Now that I have completed my GRE tests, I plan on filling out graduate school applications to some universities in Materials Engineering and hope to start another Master's degree in the Summer or Fall. I'm also in the process of completing my research for my current Master's. I told my professor I would have a draft of the final report to him by March 15th as my term ends on April 22. I still plan on submitting my astronaut application in April as well. :)