Skip to main content

The Place

Maybe it is just a coincidence that the two shuttle launches I attended actually launched on time. Two years ago today I experienced what I consider to be the most exhilarating, intense, emotional moment of my entire life. I witnessed STS-123 launch into the night sky from only 3 miles away.

Even though I have dedicated my life to space, I never thought I would have that opportunity. I would compare the experience to something my dad always talks about: The Indianapolis Speedway. To him (a huge Indy racing fan his whole life) just being in the presence of this place, a place where history was made, terrible accidents happened, victories were achieved….just knowing you are standing in the presence of those memories is such a powerful experience. And I’m sure others have those “places” they have been or the “places” they would one day like to go. I learned on this day two years ago, that my “place” was right there at Kennedy Space Center. I was standing where millions of pounds of propellant carried brave men and women into space, where some of the most complex machines ever designed were assembled, and where men and women sacrificed everything to ensure that now, at that moment I was experiencing my “place.”

At that moment, shortly after the crowd I was amongst sang the national anthem, and the clock reached 00:00:00…something happened. There were no racial or cultural boundaries, no one said a word, and at that moment I was so grateful to be an American and to have the chance to see such a marvel. It was absolutely overwhelming. I cannot deny the tears streaming down my face, as I realized at more of an emotional level rather than technical, that WE did this. All of us together as a country, as engineers, as technicians, as controllers, as astronauts…WE did it.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution?

On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there is b…

Hot OJT

Last week I had the chance to mentor a newly certified ADCO trainee - the NASA process is called "Hot On-The-Job-Training", or Hot OJT. What makes it "hot" you ask? Well, essentially I am hands off - he is sitting at the console, working all the plan reviews and updates, making calls to other flight controllers and to the flight director, reacting to anomalies and preparing material for the shift handover. My job is to act as the fault tolerance - a backup ADCO of sorts.

Tuesday was his last official day and by Wednesday morning he was in the backroom sending commands to ISS in preparation for the docking of a three-person Soyuz.


The beauty of this system is the gradual buildup in responsibility. There is a subtle shift from student, to subject matter expert, to fresh operations trainee to advanced trainee and finally to certification and real-time operations flight controller - the process takes two years on average and is considered by many to be enough specializ…

Dolla-betes

Healthcare is such a tricky subject. Ironically, it seems the conversation has shifted away from health CARE in favor of divisive politics with a healthy side of cash. But I'm here to tell you there are real people dealing with real diseases behind all those numbers. And with a laser focus on the rising cost of insulin lately and advocacy groups like #insulin4all making waves, it prompted me to take a look at my own T1D cost breakdown.

**Please keep in mind I have (pretty good!) private insurance through my husband's employer and our income allows us to absorb these costs without pinching too many pennies. We have also been graced with good health (diabetes notwithstanding) and rarely order any prescriptions outside of those for my T1D. But its clear only a slight shift in this delicate equation can make for a dire situation.

Here's what my out-of-pocket looks like to cover type 1 diabetes annually:


The numbers above reflect simply the "baseline operating costs"…
01 09 10