Skip to main content

LoAC [Low-Ack]

***NOTE: this post is all about a SIMULATION, none of these events happened to the real International Space Station!!!!***

I wrote this part three days ago:

I can't wait to look back at this week and think, "that wasn't so bad."

I'm guilty, guilty, guilty of over-preparing, over-stressing, over-freaking-out when things get tough. And tomorrow, I will see my first Loss of Attitude Control during my mini sim. "Loss of Attitude Control" is a lot to say, so we normally just NASA-it-up and say "LoAC" (pronounced low-ack). As an Attitude Determination and Control Officer, "LoAC" is considered our major malfunction, and we have to lead the team through the recovery. Like I said, hopefully sim LoAC will become routine, but right now its scary to be faced with my first LoAC ever, and be responsible for the response.


I wrote this part today:

Good news: I made it through LoAC (maybe not graceful and perfect, but safely with many lessons learned).
Bad news: After I made it through LoAC and began the cleanup procedure, a Russian command was incorrectly sent and the station went to "Survival" mode. Basically, this means we will be Loss of Attitude Control for an indefinite amount of time and since it is likely our power generation will suffer due to the position of the solar arrays, an automatic set of powerdowns kicks off. Everyone kind of freaks out because a lot of equipment is powered down in a very short amount of time. And everyone is hoping I can come up with a way to avoid the situation during the 10 minute "countdown to Survival mode".

Ok, so looking back it wasn't terrible. You have a situation, you react appropriately, you realize LoAC and Survival Mode are not the end of the world and you move on. It was a great learning experience, and because of scheduling I get to do this specific sim a second time (more practice!).

When you're in the hot seat - [simulating] flying the ISS solo - a great responsibility is on your shoulders. But these are the moments when it is even more crucial to stay calm and think logically. Keep Calm and ADCO On.


I Survived...haha. Ok, dumb jokes over.

Comments

  1. I think the hardest part for me is to let go of the stress afterwards. All the anxiety during prep turns into beating myself up reviewing mistakes. I am working on it and applaud your positive attitude.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Who has two thumbs and loves comments? Nerdy April!!! Type one out and hit publish!

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…

International Travel with Type 1 Diabetes

Whew! Back from one international trip and on to another next week! I will admit my eyes roll every time I get the "we're gunna need to pat you down" talk at TSA, but international travel is a whole different animal. I thought it might be fun to see what goes through my brain and into my bags for these types of trips!


I wouldn't be a NASA Flight Controller if I wasn't good at planning, the key to international travel as a T1D is PLANNING!

3 months prior

Assess supplies. Mine come in 90-days supplies so I like to inventory at least 3 months prior and make a plan to order more early if the trip is going to coincide with the end of my 90-day stock. In my experience supply companies are usually pretty good about adjusting orders as needed if you tell them the reason for the early request - just mention you have an international trip coming up and want to make sure to have plenty of supplies (and backups!) in time. Request a loaner insulin pump. It's likely the comp…
01 09 10