Saturday, July 2, 2011

More fun!!

This day started with a tour of the mission control centers again.  Our mentor took us on more of a VIP tour that wasnt rushed and we got a lot of great information.  This one was with our TSF group and we had a lot of time contraints.  We also had to stay behind the glass in the shuttle mission control.  W got a little more information, but it was great to see everything again.  We also did the mock up facility again and were actually able to see some astronauts!!  There were two Russians having a meeting near the simulator and astronaut Mike Fink from STS 134 was giving an interview on camera.  It looked like he was talking about the Soyuz capsule.  The best part was seeing the Neutral Buoyancy Lab!  It is 202 feet in length, 102 feet in width, and 40 feet deep!!  It holds a large portion of mock space station sections.  However, the whole space station doesn't fit, but it was cool to see the divers and how small they looked in the pool.
  In the afternoon we headed back to Ellington field to get our glove box so we could set up our experiment.  All week we didn't have much to work on because we thought we were good to go.  Never assume you have everything ready!  Once we got our glove box everything was going smooth until we tested the video cameras.  We needed it to be about a foot away from the box so we could get the gun and the rest of the box in the field of view.  However, we never thought about GLARE!  The plastic might as well of been a mirror.  It was very difficult to see the clear bubbles through the glare.  We then put black construction paper on the back side of the box so we could see the bubbles better, but the glare just got worse.  Then it got even worser (I know not a word but that is what it felt like) when we loaded the box on the plane.  The padding on the inside of the plane was all white, which made it so hard to see the bubbles because of the reflection.  We then decided to use a black trash bag and attach it to the top of the box and have it then come around behind the camera so it wouldnt reflect anything.  We thought it would work but we wouldnt know for sure until our flight day because we still had to go out and buy the bags.  Personally, my mind was getting fried because I was starting to worry about so many things going wrong at this point.  We thought we had it all together, but we were encountering new problems all the time.  The other big problem was getting our accelerometer figured out.  We had borrowed a vernier interface and probe, but I didnt write down more specific instructions on how to calibrate it (my fault).  However, most of our glitches is what scientists and engineers always encounter.  In science it is very rare to get something perfect the first time so even though it was very stressful it was a great teachable moment.

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