Skip to main content

They Came, We NASA-ed!

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. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

MCM - Certified Mom

This morning I woke up early, the baby monitor was chirping just a few minutes before my alarm was set to go off. Chris graciously rolled out of bed and set out to re-insert Otto's paci. Meanwhile, I pressed my clothes, curled my hair and brewed some coffee - my standard pre-console routine. After a quick breakfast Zara peeped her head over the railing and I heard a gentle "mama" echo down the stairs. It was still dark, but this little one was ready for her daily breakfast of oatmeal and milk in preparation for a fun day at swim lessons and school. As she sat, eating her "oatsss" (as she calls them), I whirled around the kitchen prepping bottles, gathering outfits for school, and ensuring all the swim lesson supplies were set out. It's hard leaving Chris to take care of both kids in the morning (#momguilt) so I try my best to complete as many get-ahead tasks as possible, in hopes his morning goes smoothly. 
This morning schedule description may seem mundan…

MCM - On Call

It's definitely Monday. Otto spit up on my work clothes this morning, I forgot to brush my teeth and I sat down in my car forgetting to clean the layer of sand from the beach yesterday. Whoops. But, it's also MONDAY!!!!! Which means you get a special look behind the proverbial curtain of Mission Control in a series I'm dubbing "Mission Control Monday". We all need a little "boost" (pun intended) at the beginning of the week, so why not get it from the heart of Manned Spaceflight itself - NASA's Mission Control
This week I am highlighting the little known fact that sometimes, as an ADCO Specialist, I am scheduled to be "On Call". It just so happens I am "on-call" this week! Even though we don't have a sweet 1990's pager, the ADCO on-call is a Specialist with the cumbersome responsibility of having their cell phone strapped to them at all times. Yes, even during the night. Yes, even when you have a 3 month old. Yes, just…

Critical Space Item: Handle With Extreme Care

Someday I want to open a box. The box will be neatly wrapped up with an excessive amount of packaging. Its contents will have been years in the making, and even though it won't weigh much, this small box will represent a huge step forward.


As most flight hardware begins, the space-rated closed-loop insulin delivery and monitoring device inside the box will be sterile and stark. But as the batteries whir to life and insulin is placed within, it will become an extra appendage, an external pancreas, for this Type 1 astro-hopeful. Bluetooth connections will be made and doctors, hungry for telemetry from my bionic body, will be at the ready. We will rely on each other - he on I for his very existence, and I on him for my continued existence. Together we will make up one whole, completely functioning, Type 1 Diabetic astronaut.

Admittedly, this dream feels further and further from reality. I have lived with this disease just under 20 years now, and the cure has always been "just 5 …
01 09 10