Skip to main content

NASA: 13 months + 6 days

I'm starting to sound like a proud mom spewing out toddler stats. But yes, its officially been 13 months and 6 days since I began this journey at NASA to become an Attitude Determination and Control Officer. So what have I been up to and how do I feel about it? Glad you asked. Ha.

And if you didn't, I'm gunna tell you anyway.

I have now completed all of my technical "knowledge capture" (in NASA terms), which means I successfully passed an 8 hour long oral exam with questions coming from my entire time here at NASA (exhausting). I also finished mini sim 19 out of 25 this week, and next week I will dabble in the next type of simulations, called "Integrated Sims". This type of sim is as close to the real thing as you can get, read: real Flight Director, real Russians, and all disciplines represented.

These are all the "technical specs" of where I am in training, but working at NASA is so much more than technical information. It is the culmination of years of hard work, determination, and motivation; and day-to-day I learn self confidence, problem solving and teamwork. I am constantly challenged to soak up information and present new ideas. My peers are all of those "super smart" kids in school, and somehow they allowed me access into their exclusive club. I feel absolutely honored.

Today I had a chance to OJT (on-the-job-training) in FCR-1. I didn't do much, in fact I pretty much just sat there and asked my mentor questions, followed along as we completed a reboost, and hawked the data like my life depended on it (this is what you do in sims because they throw everything and the kitchen sink at you). I got to see the astronauts doing their work and the flight control team doing theirs. And in the midst of all that, I made my official NASA TV debut. I'll be signing autographs later ;-)

Front left, where all pilots should be, including this ISS pilot ;-)
Trying to soak it all in!!
What I wore: polka dot dress with stretchy belt and mary janes. #missioncontrolstyle

Comments

  1. I am so proud of you. You are an inspiration and a blessing.
    love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Way to go April! We are really excited for you! You look so professional. Can't wait till your own your own done there on the floor. Mom & Dad

    ReplyDelete
  3. I saw you on Nasa TV!!! I love the outfit. Your polka dot dress is so cute! You are such a great example for my children and I feel blessed to know you!

    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…

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 …

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…
01 09 10