Skip to main content

A Week of Behind the Scenes Tours at NASA: Day 2

Today in our second day of NASA's Training Academy we learned about the ISS processes, visiting vehicles, decision boards, and space flight resource management. Remember, this week is just a very high level introduction to JSC and ISS. Bonus points if you remember what those acronyms stand for.

Today we toured Building 5 (such creative names these engineer folk have). The building is home to the remote hell that will become my life when I start actually doing simulations. You see, I will be sitting over in Building 30 (the Mission Control Center) in a mock-up flight control room proving that I can react appropriately to the malfunctions these guys send me. Also, the facility has a mock-up of sorts for each module on the ISS with some working parts. I know it sounds sketchy, but it is actually quite useful for the astronauts to practice various items.

Additionally, the space shuttle simulators used to be housed in this building, but have since been farmed out to various other institutions. The empty floor is kind of a stark reality that we are without a US vehicle to transport astronauts to/from the space station.

Ooooo, Awwwww....pretty sign!
 
These are both pictures from inside the ISS mock up. Note rolly chairs are not flight rated.

The room designed to inflict pain on young, burgeoning flight controllers.

Flight-like hatch hardware.


This room used to be the home of the Space Shuttle simulator, which has been shipped off to Texas A&M. I believe one of my uncles used to work here (shout out to Uncle Jeff, I'm 97.43% sure he doesn't read this, but still).

T-38 cockpit simulator. Astronauts spend a good bit of time in their sporty little T-38s.

You know all those pretty picture of the Earth you see online, well a lot of those are taken from this area in the space station, known as the "cupola". This mock-up will soon join the rest of the ISS mock-up in a different section of the building.


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…

On 20 years with Type 1 Diabetes

I think it's finally time to hit 'publish' on this post, considering it's been sitting here for, oh you know, like 2 weeks now ;-) Sometimes I "April" about things too much (this is Chris's term), and with my dad here for Christmas I realized that it's definitely a trait passed down, haha, love you dad!


To be honest, I never thought the day would come when I would say, "I've had Type 1 Diabetes for 20 years."

20 years ago a cure was 'just on the horizon' and as an 11 year old kid I took that phrase to heart - I had to. My continued existence was based solely on whatever the endocrinologist said - pancreas, insulin, autoimmune, blood sugar, islet cells, shots. I didn't know what I didn't know at that point. I had never heard of an insulin pump or glucose meter. Ketones and hyperglycemia were just big, meaningless words. Carb ratios and counting might as well have been formulas for travelling at light speed. I wasn't ov…

Type 1 Diabetes - IT life.

Nine years ago (9 years ago?!), I was still waiting for the black-box-doctors at the FAA to clear my Class III medical certificate - a requirement for my then-job flying on experimental Army helicopters. To 'pump' up my diabetes-dejected ego (ha), Dave let me tag along with him for his MH-47G proficiency simulator runs. That tiny taste into helicopter flight dynamics gave me so much appreciation for him - hovering is literally the.hardest.thing, I was tense the entire time and constantly felt like I was one small cyclic movement away from losing control. Even though I knew in the back of my mind we were in a (moving) simulator, my senses got lost in the weight of the flight controls, the movement on the screens, and the hard thumps when I hovered right into the ground.

At the end of the runs I asked him how he has the stamina to pilot this monster of a helicopter for literally 15 hours straight (these special ops versions can mid-air refuel). He sort of laughed, but his answer…
01 09 10