Last time my parents came to visit the government decided to shutdown. And hence, giving them a true behind-the-scenes tour at NASA was out of the question. It sucked, and I was upset, but I knew there would be other times.
So, the parental units made another trek to ye old Houston this past weekend, what an Easter treat! And I finally got to show them all of the cool stuff I get to do everyday at work.
First, I took them to the historic Apollo mission control. It may look familiar in the pictures from Apollo 13, Ron Howard decided to exactly replicate this room in a studio, but when I watch the movie I can't tell the difference. My dad (a fellow space nut) was soaking up all of the nostalgia - the green consoles, prehistoric email systems, projection screens, cigarette stains, and those ancient screens where telemetry from Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 was viewed. Even my mom enjoyed sitting in Gene Kranz's chair and thinking about all of the young men who had the smarts to land men on the moon.
After Apollo mission control I showed them the simulation room where I hope to get certified within the next year before we went downstairs to Flight Control Room - 1. Here they are in the viewing room. I like to say, "This is where the magic happens these days," when I give tours, but spaceflight is a lot more than magic.
I am coming up on 10 months in this new job at NASA and its becoming more challenging. Not only am I still taking classes and studying for checkouts, but now I have the added stress of mini-sims once a week. Going into the sim we don't know what kind of malfunctions they will throw at us, so its a chance to review all of the material we have learned and prove that we can make the right decision, sometimes in a time crunch or with added constraints. I really like troubleshooting real-time, but I don't always feel 100% confident and often take extra time to come to a path forward. It's ok right now, and in fact many of the failures in our system are not time critical, but I hope I continue to improve as I get more sims under my belt.
Keep Calm and ADCO On.