Skip to main content

Table Space

"I feel so adult," he said as he sat across the table from me, typing away on his work laptop.

"Here we are talking about our finances and planning out America's next spacecraft. You know, just normal, adult conversations." I had to chuckle.

Even though Chris works a lot, and I am heading into a future that includes overnight shift work, there is nothing we would rather do. Contributing to America's space program is in our blood. And just those few words, a few nods to our reality, made me realize how incredibly lucky we are.

I sometimes joke about "living in a zoo" at work. Space Center Houston tours bring trams full of tourists onto the Johnson Space Center everyday, and I feel a little exposed walking through hallways near Mission Control or even walking to my car in the parking lot. I'm sure I'm the photo-bomb in many a tourist picture as they click away hoping to catch a glimpse of an honest-to-goodness astronaut.

But being here, at NASA, sort of brings it full circle for me. I was once those eager eyes on the outside, clinging to the words of the recorded tram messages, yearning to take lots of pictures to somehow relive the feeling of being at Mission Control. I proudly displayed my rocket and rocket engine pictures on the front of my Junior High binder (wow, do kids even have those anymore?!), and I always included "being an astronaut" in any and all "about me" projects. When I landed an internship at Boeing during high school I felt like a rock star, and while other kids were lucky to work a job at Target, I was driving 10 miles to the Boeing plant to work on multi-million dollar helicopters. Even in college I had to pinch myself every time I added a dream internship to my resume...NASA Space Grant, Orbital Sciences, Marshall Spaceflight Center. It felt like the universe could read my heart and put opportunities out there to meet it's desires.

And here I am. Midway through my planned trajectory - so far, mission success. I'm lucky to have a husband who challenges me intellectually and works so hard to support not only our little family, but our nation's space goals as well.

I can think of worse things than personal finances and America's next spacecraft two people could talk about over dinner ;-)

Comments

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…

Dolla-betes

Healthcare is such a tricky subject. Ironically, it seems the conversation has shifted away from health CARE in favor of divisive politics with a healthy side of cash. But I'm here to tell you there are real people dealing with real diseases behind all those numbers. And with a laser focus on the rising cost of insulin lately and advocacy groups like #insulin4all making waves, it prompted me to take a look at my own T1D cost breakdown.

**Please keep in mind I have (pretty good!) private insurance through my husband's employer and our income allows us to absorb these costs without pinching too many pennies. We have also been graced with good health (diabetes notwithstanding) and rarely order any prescriptions outside of those for my T1D. But its clear only a slight shift in this delicate equation can make for a dire situation.

Here's what my out-of-pocket looks like to cover type 1 diabetes annually:


The numbers above reflect simply the "baseline operating costs"…
01 09 10