Friday, May 15, 2015

Flight Control Room - 1

After three nights on the job I'm finally awake enough to tell you about it! This week I have 5 shifts from 11pm to 8am where I am completing my "hot on-the-job-training". Basically, this means I am performing the job all by myself with a certified ADCO watching over my shoulder to make sure I don't mess up or answer any last minute questions. As you can imagine working this late shift required some sleep shifting. It took two nights for me to shift over, the first night I stayed up until about 3:30am, and the second night I stayed up until about 6:30 am when Chris went to work. Then I attempted to sleep during the day...weird. Good thing I have this bum to keep me company:


Honestly, staying up all night hasn't been as hard as I thought. Granted this is only my first stab at it, but I feel awake throughout the shift and haven't had much of a problem sleeping during the day (stop laughing mom...see, my "sleep-anywhere-at-anytime" skill is coming in handy!). The strangest part is eating. I eat dinner with Chris and then I eat about halfway through my shift, but when I get home I just want to take a shower and head to bed...so I've only been eating about 2 meals a day. 

As far as the work goes, I have had plenty to do every night. In fact, the first night it looked like we were going to have to perform a burn to move the space station out of the way of some debris, but at the last minute the burn was cancelled since the debris "probability of collision" dropped significantly. Phewww...I'm glad it turned out to be a fairly uneventful night after starting off with a bang. 

During the shift we have several LOS's (loss of signal) where we lose telemetry from the ISS. It may be caused by switching which satellite we are using to relay information to the ground, or there may be a higher priority user for the satellite (we share communication satellites with other users, including the military). Usually an LOS is about 10 minutes, so it's just enough time to take a short walk and replenish your energy. Here is one of my friends from an LOS walk:


On top of all this excitement, I have also been selected to become an instructor. Eventually this means I will run simulations, dream up new failures, and deliver classroom lessons to new flight controllers and astronauts. It sounds fun, but it is a separate certification, so I have lots of training in my future still. Hope you guys had a great week!!!

Click here to see if the space station is flying over you soon!