Monday, June 27, 2011

Best Day So Far Pictures....

Getting ready for our Test Readiness ReviewIMG_7078IMG_7079IMG_7080NASA's weightless wonder pulling into the NASA hanger and our work area.IMG_7082
IMG_7089IMG_7090Lunch after TRR phew!IMG_7092IMG_7093One of the original vomit comets!  Apollo 13 was shot on this plane as well.

Jun 26, 2011, a set on Flickr.

Best Day So Far....

   Today started at 5am packing for our big Test Readiness Review at the NASA hanger.  I was very nervous because as team lead, I would be doing most of the talking.  I was fine with talking to groups of people, but this would be around 20 engineers determining if we would be safe to fly or not.  The A teams (or teams that would fly first) were working really hard to put the finishing touches on their experiments inside their glove boxes (large clear boxes to keep the experiment contained and everyone else safe).  We have a very simple experiment so we finished early, but it felt weird because I kept thinking we needed to be doing something.  Of course, we ended up going next to last so I just kept watching everyone and getting more nervous.  Our time came and went and we all did a great job.  Looking back it is getting worked up over nothing because most of them have already looked at and approved our Test Equipment Data Package.  I just hope I get to do this again down the road so I wont be so nervous!
   After the craziness of the morning we had a huge chunk of time to work on our experiment in the afternoon.  However, we have everything done so our AMAZING NASA mentor Sarah Ruiz said that she would take us to mission control for a special tour.  Sarah is not just an amazing mentor, but an amazing person.  She has been so helpful throughout this process and now she continues to volunteer her time for us.  I have seen other mentors that are not very connected to their teams and I seriously doubt that they are giving them behind the scenes tours of places at NASA.  Anyway, she ends up taking us to the Apollo mission control, and we are not behind the glass like the tours.  We are on the floor that all those men stood on as they cheered on the successful Apollo missions and scrambled to keep 13 alive.  It was an amazing feeling to sit in those same chairs and look at those old computers.  From there we went to see the Shuttle Mission Control.  Again, very cool because we were able to see it before the last shuttle mission and a few people trickled in and out.  Finally, we saw the International Space Station mission control.  This one is operated 24/7 so we had to be behind the glass for this one, but it was fun to see everyone at work.  The best part was seeing a sunset in real time from the ISS on their big screen.  It was so fast, but so powerful.
   We then had an amazing opportunity to see the STS-134 debrief ceremony at the JSC visitor center.  It was so cool to see the crew of the mission, hear their bios, watch their videos, and view their pictures.  It was also really neat because Mark Kelly's wife Gabrielle Giffords was there along with Mark's brother.  It was a funny and awe inspiring tale from the space station.  They took a question and answer session at the end and my friend Beth told me to ask Kelly to come up to Flagstaff to talk to our students.  So I did.  I raised my hand, told him where we were from and what we were doing.  I asked if he would come talk to our students (maybe he could help inspire our next generation of astronauts), and he said to email him.  Hmmmm.  Getting an astronauts email is like... finding a needle in a haystack.  I am going to try to contact him in some way to see where it leads, because you never know if you don't try.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's adventure!

Vomit comet

One of the original vomit comets and Apollo 13 wad filmed on this plane.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Houston Day 1


Houston 1, a set on Flickr.

Teaching From Space Flight Week Day 1 Houston!

Well we all arrived safely in Houston and yesterday was a successful start to our experiment set up and implementation on board the zero G plane.  We had physiological training in the morning, which started making me really nervous about all the possible ways you could get sick or be in pain. If you have air pockets in your teeth the change in pressure can cause severe pain.  Our ears could experience a lot of pressure due to the extreme ascent and descents.  Of course the vomit, but one I had no idea about was passing gas.  I know, it's gross.  However, it WILL happen and they said not to hold it in. Yikes! However, it is very rare that we will experience any pain or vomit if we prepare ourselves properly.  After that long morning of how we could be in pain in so many ways we headed to Ellington field.  We found out our team will fly on Thursday and Friday.  Beth Sanborn and myself will fly Thursday and Ronnie and Bejanae will fly on Friday.  There is also a chance that our alternate, Mary Lara, will be able to fly on Friday! We headed out to the NASA hangar where we would be setting up and testing our experiment.  I couldnt believe how big it was!  There were jet engines, all sorts of parts, a really big jet, work areas for the school, and yet there was tons of room to spare. The other school teams had some amazing (and elaborate) experiments.  I thought other teams wouldn't take our bubble experiment too seriously, but so many of them are interested!  Everybody loves bubbles!  Since we are in the B group we were able to go on the zero G plane (it is contracted by NASA for us to fly on) to check out where we would be working.  There are about 6-7 rows of seats in the back of the plane and then from there forward it is padded like a mental institution!  The floor is super soft and squishy to where I almost lost my balance. It was neat to see the set up of the plane before we fly so we can see how to set everything up and know what to expect.  On Monday we have the tough job of presenting our experiment to a bunch of engineers to make sure we are safe to fly.  It is a little intimidating, but I am more nervous for the team beside us with all the flammable and explosive materials!  I hope they are in the A group!  It is so cool though to meet and work with all of these amazing teachers from all over the country.  It is a very special and unique program that not many people get to say they have been a part of.  I consider myself to be very blessed and honored.  I am also really excited though because we have 5 alumni from space academy for educators! Four of us went last summer and Mary went in 2007.  It is amazing what one professional experience can do to change your life as a teacher.  Obviously, it affects others in the same way as well!  Stay tuned for Monday!  There should be a lot to write about and more pictures to post! Cheers!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I just arrived in Houston and the first thing I see when I get off the plane is a model space shuttle! I'm so excited for our team to get together tonight and we start first thing tomorrow with all the physiological info. I also can't wait to meet our NASA mentor. If it wasn't for her we couldn't have pulled this off. More tomorrow! If you have questions post them and I will try to get an answer for you!