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Friday June 17, 2011

Page history last edited by Monteith 9 years, 8 months ago


Space Academy Day 2

     Day 3 started with the 1st day of no early wake-up call from roommates, just from a storm, before loading the bus for another big breakfast of potatoes, eggs, bacon, and french toast sticks.  Then we loaded the bus again and headed to Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology.  It was a really awesome place and an interesting concept.  They have researchers working across the hall from for-profit businesses to increase the communication and decrease the lab table to product time from roughly 20 yrs to 6-8 years.  They also have placed a high importance in education.  At Hudson Alpha we received more great resources including new cell video apps and activities.  They also walked us through extracting the DNA from fruits.  I have 3 samples in little containers to bring back for my students, could make security interesting, all in the name of science education :-)

     That was the morning so it was time for lunch of Brats and Grilled Pork Chops.  Delicious once again!  Next we went into a session on Expedition Living on the orbiter and International Space Station.  This covered the day to day living conditions and routines the astronauts go through, and yes we discussed pretty much everything from the space barf bag to Mr. Thirsty and the target. Great after lunch conversations!

     Next Ed Buckbee gave a wonderful presentation on the History of Early Space Flight and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.  He started for NASA when they chose the first Mercury astronauts, has worked as NASA public affairs officer, helped get the U.S. Space and Rocket Center going, helped establish the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, and also helped develop Space Camp.  His experiences, knowledge, passion, and stories were outstanding!  He also touched on the future of NASA and the opportunities for our future generations.  He is the author of the book "The Real Space Cowboys" and signed and gave a copy of his book to each of us!  He had many great stories like the native americans and moon people, making sure your part works and many others.  My favorite quote was at the end.  We last walked on the 39 years ago, "and it's time to go on another walk"

     In the afternoon we worked on integrating math and using graphing technologies by creating Lunar Vehicles that would carry a payload as far as possible.  We collected all of the data and then created a graph to look at the comparisons and trends.  From there it was time for the Astronaut Simulations.

     This was an incredible experience!  I started off on the 1/6 gravity chair, and what it would be like to move on the moon.  There were 3 different required movements to execute to get across the moon surface, and then an opportunity to return with you choice.  I have some video footage, but my memory card filled up so my roommate recorded it for me and I need to get the footage off and it is late.  Besides that it gives something for you all to look forward to.  I also have footage of myself in the Multi Axis Trainer that simulates what it would be like to be in a tumbling aircraft.  That was also a great experience I won't soon forget, and best of all no need for the space barf bag :-).

     We quickly ate our Italian supper and went for a walk around Rocket City to look at all of the full size models of the different rockets.  We started with the shuttle Pathfinder which is one of the  only shuttles on display that is completely assembled in the stacked position with the orbiter, external tank, and solid rocket boosters.  Then we went on to the Mercury, Saturn, Apollo, Redstone rockets, an early lunar concept vehicle and so many more.  Before long it was time to head for our space mission aboard Discovery.

     My position was in Mission Control as the scientist.  My part did not have a lot of scripted lines, therefor I found it necessary to adlib and improv with  the International Space Station Commander who is one of my roommates.  During the mission there were some anomalies such as an escaped spider experiment, a fire, a solar flare, many problems in the aft of the shuttle and an unbalancing of the center of gravity with the space station.  Many of which left the Zarya crew in tears.... laughing because of the conversations and the way we problem solved.  We are beginning to wonder if they are rethinking putting the only four guys on the team as roommates and having them work together.  We will just say there was a lot of laughter, improv and dancing!?!  It was a good thing the cameras do not film the shuttle mission we completed, however rumor has it YouTube may be carrying parts of it.  The good news is Team Zarya landed safely, completed its mission and has left a long lasting impression on both team members and space camp staff that will not be soon forgotten.

     Tomorrow we are looking forward to a writing session, a trip inside the museum, our aviation water challenges.  Our second mission position assignments and practice session, a rocketry workshop and a visit to see a dinosaur exhibit, and I am sure more good food!  Once again, this seems to good to be true!


Space Academy Adventure

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