Monday, December 21, 2009

Before we go on vacation....

Is everyone ready for this holiday season?

Here at KSC we are! The holiday vacation starts on Thursday and goes through January 3rd. During this time no work will be performed on the orbiters as we’ll all be on vacation (woo hoo!). For half of this week,

Starting with Endeavour….the vehicle is in the VAB and is just awaiting transfer to launch pad 39A which will occur on January 6th, 2010. A new launch date of February 7th, 2010 was approved last week.

Tranquility is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station's life support systems. The cool thing I LOVE about Tranquility is that attached to one end of the node is a cupola, a unique work area with six windows on its sides and one on top. The cupola resembles a circular bay window and will provide a vastly improved view of the station's exterior. The multi-directional view will allow the crew to monitor spacewalks and docking operations, as well as provide a spectacular view of Earth and other celestial objects. The module was built in Turin, Italy, by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency. Here’s the cupola (covered for protection) attached to Tranquility and a picture of it before it was attached to the node.

Discovery and Atlantis are undergoing normal processing, but are also preparing for powering down during this holiday season.

As for me, last week I took my final in the combustion class I've been taking so now I can enjoy my time off of work. I also have about 3 talks to give to schools in January that I am looking forward to!

Friday, December 04, 2009

NASA 2009-2010 Moon Work Design Contest

Listen up college students!!!

NASA has a student design challenge to design tools and instrumentation for human and robotic exploration that will help astronauts perform tasks on the Moon. Students are free to select a task from the following list or propose one of their own:

  • Navigation in the darkness around the Moon's south pole
  • Power supplies for rovers in the dark
  • Sample retrieval and on-site analysis
  • Radiation detection and avoidance
  • Communication with lunar outpost, with orbiters, and with Earth
  • Video capture of sorties for transmission back to Earth
  • Astronaut recovery and transport back to outpost
  • Lunar regolith mitigation strategies for rover and space suits
  • Detect and retrieve water ice for use on the rover

    Interested students should submit a letter of intent to enter the contest by Dec. 15. Final entries for the Moon Work challenge are due May 15, 2010. All entries must be from students at U.S. colleges or universities. Although non-citizens may be part of a team, only U.S. citizens may win NASA internships or travel awards.

    Check out the website for all the guidelines at:
  • Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    This week at KSC

    Supporting Atlantis out in Houston went very smoothly and it was a successful 11-day mission with a beautiful landing at Kennedy Space Center. Now Atlantis is back in the Orbiter Processing Facility preparing for its next mission, STS-132.

    Next in line for flight is Endeavour with a roll over to the Vehicle Assembly Building scheduled for December 12. Roll out to the launch pad is scheduled for January 6th, 2010 with a targeted launch date of February 6th, 2010. continues on the construction of the new Mobile Launch Platform that will serve as the base to launch the Ares I rockets for the Constellation Program. When completed, the tower will be approximately 345 feet tall and have multiple platforms for personnel access.

    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Happy Thanksgiving and Atlantis to Return Tomorrow!

    Yesterday's inspections of Atlantis' wing leading edges and nose cap have cleared the heatshield for re-entry. The astronauts are working through a busy Thanksgiving in space testing the shuttle's re-entry systems and packing up for landing tomorrow Kennedy Space Center.

    View the STS-129 crew's Thanksgiving greeting from space!

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Thermal Protection System (TPS) cleared for reentry!

    The review of all the imagery was completed last night! There were 4 areas of interest for Atlantis, but all have been declared acceptable for entry. We're assembling our charts that will be presented to the Orbiter Project Office!

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver complete!

    ....and now we wait for the photos to be downlinked to us by the astronauts!

    Atlantis to begin Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver (RPM) soon

    We will begin to get imagery downlinked from the International Space Station (ISS) soon. Atlantis will perform the rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM) in about 25 minutes!!

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Atlantis launches!!!!!

    Liftoff of Space Shuttle Atlantis occurred yesterday at 2:28 p.m. It was a perfect launch and the weather definitely played in our favor. I leave for Houston today to assist in the review of the imagery that will be downlinked from the ISS of Atlantis. Tomorrow morning we will begin to get the imagery and start inspecting for any critical damages.

    I have had a pretty crazy couple of weeks! I've been visiting various schools for a talk on the thermal protection system and I took a major exam yesterday on the combustion course I am taking. After taking that exam, I'm am just a lot more relieved and have a tiny bit more time for myself. :) to do my last minute packing so I can catch my flight this morning!!! More updates to come during my week at Johnson Space Center.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Ares I-X launches!!!!!

    Successful launch of Ares I-X!!!!!!!

    NASA launch commentator George Diller says there will be a press conference at 1:30 p.m. EDT to confirm what occurred with parachute deployment. There is still a lack of formal information on recovery.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Ares I-X launch attempt!

    Ares I-X is scheduled to launch today! It has been rescheduled to 11:30am!!

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 13K

    Last night I ran the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 13K. It was an 8.1 mile nighttime road race that ended at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios™. The course took the runners through the Disney's Wide World of Sports® Complex and then through Disney's Hollywood Studios™. It started at 10:30pm and after the run there was a post-race celebration where we had access to some of the attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios™ until 2am!!

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans

    Since June 2009, The Augustine Committee has been reviewing the U.S. plans for human spaceflight to offer possible alternatives. In doing so, it assessed the programs within the current human spaceflight portfolio; considered capabilities and technologies a future program might require; and considered the roles of commercial industry and our international partners in this enterprise. From these deliberations, the Committee developed five integrated alternatives for the U.S. human spaceflight program, including an executable version of the current program. The considerations and the five alternatives are summarized in the following report.

    Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Report


    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Ares I-X Rolls Out to Launch Pad 39B

    Today, the 327-foot-tall Ares I-X rocket, secured to a mobile launcher platform, was transferred out to Launch Pad 39B. The test rocket left the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at 1:39 a.m. EDT on its 4.2-mile trek to the pad and was secured on the launch pad’s pedestals at 9:17 a.m EDT.

    Various modifications have been made to transform the launch pad from supporting space shuttle to Ares rocket launches. The modifications have included removal of unique subsystems, such as the orbiter access arm and a section of the gaseous oxygen vent arm, along with the installation of three 600-foot lightning towers, access platforms, environmental control systems and a vehicle stabilization system.

    The Ares I-X is the test vehicle for the Ares I. The Ares I-X flight test is targeted for Oct. 27 at 8:00 am EDT.

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Tour de KSC! 23 miles COMPLETE!

    Yesterday, NASA held a Tour de KSC event for employees. It was a cycling event to promote cancer awareness and the benefits of exercise and good health. There were three different tours of different lengths (12 miles, 23 miles and 37 miles) and I managed to complete the 23 mile tour which took us up the road passing the Vehicle Assembly Building and around the perimeter of launch pad B.

    This was the first year NASA held the Tour de KSC and it looks like they are going to try to make this an annual event!

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    On my way to another building.....

    Space Shuttle Atlantis is making its way to the launch pad!

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Ares I-X Test Launch - October 27th

    Ares I-X is the first test vehicle in the Ares I development program for future human spaceflight. On October 27th, the Ares I-X vehicle will be used for a suborbital test flight and will be similar in shape, weight and size to the planned configuration of later Ares I vehicles.

    The Ares I-X flight profile will closely approximate the flight conditions that Ares I will experience through Mach 4.5, at an altitude of about 130,000 feet.

    Provided the Ares I vehicle design is not cancelled after the options presented by the Augustine Review, it is currently NASA's launch vehicle of choice to carry the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. On Monday morning, the Ares I-X vehicle will roll out to launch pad 39B.

    Friday, October 09, 2009

    Friday Fun Day Photo!!!

    How would you like that view out your window?!

    Wednesday, October 07, 2009

    Atlantis moves to the Vehicle Assembly Building

    Yesterday morning, Atlantis made its way over to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) from the Orbiter Processing Facility. Now that Atlantis is in the VAB, the next step is to lift the Orbiter over a transom and lower it where it will be attached to its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters. Rollout to launch pad 39A of Space Shuttle Atlantis is planned for October 13.

    Launch of Atlantis on its STS-129 mission is targeted for 4:04 p.m. EST on November 12.

    Friday, October 02, 2009

    Friday Fun Day Photo!!!

    ...and yeah, this Buzz flew on the last mission! :)

    Atlantis to Move to VAB Tuesday morning!

    Here's a shot of the Orbiter Transfer System (OTS) slowly moving in under Atlantis. The OTS will transport Atlantis to the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is scheduled for the morning of Tuesday Oct. 7!!!

    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    STS-129's External Tank and Solid Rocket Booster Assembled!!

    Last week the External Tank that will be used for Atlantis’s next flight (STS-129), was assembled with the Solid Rocket Boosters stacked on the Mobile Launch Platform. STS-129 is targeted to launch Nov. 12th. Atlantis is still undergoing final closeout work before it can be transferred from its Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is targeted for the beginning of October.

    What have I been up to? For the past two weeks, I was in training with our Vehicle Project Manager for Endeavour. It was really cool because I was able to be involved with the integration of the other systems with the Orbiter. It involved coming into work at 5am and understanding what was (or wasn’t) completed on 3rd shift, how it effected the schedule with other groups, testing that was planned, or issues that arose during certain work that was performed. Integration and communication is very key for us to stay on track for a launch. It was a great experience being involved in this and I learned so much more of what goes on outside of the Thermal Protection Systems group. In December, I will be get to do this again, but it will be when Endeavour is transferred to the Vehicle Assembly Building and ready to be integrated in the vertical position with the External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters.

    Aside from that, I’ve been busily keeping up with the combustion course I’m taking and studying for my first exam coming up on Tuesday! I've also been training for some races in October that I'll be participating in.