Skip to main content

11 Months at NASA

This week will mark my 11th month at NASA. Holy cow.

We are stretching into the 90s here in Texas, with nearly equal humidity marks. It's hot and humid and the sun stays up forevaaaa. But on the days its not raining I enjoy driving to work in my Miata with the top down, soaking up the sun, and feeling on top of the world when I pull into the "Christopher Kraft" Mission Control Center parking lot. 

This month I accomplished a lot in my training flow. I had three mini sims, two lesson checkouts and a segment review (kind of like several lesson checkouts in one). As far as mini sims go I am now in the "intermediate" level, so I don't have a mentor sitting next to me which means I'm flying the ISS solo (!). Even though they only last for four hours once a week, I feel completely drained when I walk out. A "normal" day on console can quickly turn into a firestorm of activity depending on the malfunctions our instructors put in. 

Rocket science also complicates things, like communication within the flight control team and to the Flight Director. Other systems deal with fairly routine equipment: valves, cooling loops, power systems, computers. But as ADCO, we are stuck trying to explain why our attitude knowledge may have errors or why we need rate sensors in order to control attitude or why other disciplines care about good attitude (power generation and communication mostly). It's not always as black and white as batteries or computer statuses. But I'm working on it. And I'm learning. 

If only it was this easy...

I should be finishing up all of my "knowledge" type training this month and moving into the "planning segment". It turns out the space station is fairly good at controlling itself under normal circumstances, which means my job as an ADCO in the middle of the night is heavy on the planning (reboosts, dockings, undockings, spacewalks, etc). But I'm ok with that...I would rather have something to stay busy than to just stare at data for 8 hours while every other normal person is sleeping ;-)

These summer days also have me missing Huntsville. I just received the Space and Rocket Center's Pass the Torch lecture series email and it made me sad that I would be missing out on interesting talks from the Director of the Kennedy Space Center and the Space Launch System Program Manager. I also miss using the Saturn V as a landmark and volunteering at the SCUBA tank. But I'm trying to get used to this Houston thing...bugs, cowboys and all. 

Today's Nerdy Tip: Check out this website to sign up for e-mail alerts about when the Space Station will be passing over you! Fingers crossed I will be at the controls someday soon!

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

'Subtle Nerdy' Home Decor

In our house you won't hear "Alexa...play country radio..." for two reasons. (1) We are not that into country music and (2) our "Alexa" is named "Computer" just like the interactive onboard computer on the Starship Enterprise. That's how I like my home decor too - it's a style I've nicknamed "subtle nerdy".  #subtlenerdy

Apparently 'subtle nerdy' doesn't have quite the following that 'farmhouse chic' does...yet! So, that means I have to get creative and DIY many of my nerdy touches. And, while you may not be super onboard with the 'subtle nerdy' trend sweeping the home decor world this hole-in-the-wall-internet-spot, I bet you have your own ideas just waiting to be manifested on a blank wall! So, let's jump in, starting in our master bedroom!

The showpiece of this room is that gorgeous four poster bed and amazingly detailed hand-made quilt. Confession number one: I did not DIY the bed (it was an ex…