Monday, December 12, 2016

Their Halls are My Halls Too

At work I have been plugging away at my "Specialist" training. Once certified as an ADCO Specialist I will be able to sit in the front room (FCR-1) for dockings, spacewalks and other dynamic activities. The training itself is simply a course of simulations that now include talking to a back room ADCO, following a challenging timeline AND dealing with system malfunctions. My job now is less of the down-in-the-weeds technical knowledge (that's what the back room is for!) and more of the "big picture", general situational awareness piece - it's not as easy as it sounds!

Which brings me to my next point - for the first time in my NASA career I failed an evaluation simulation. Whomp, whomp. It's been a couple months now since that happened and last week I was able to get back on the horse and push through with a PASS! It will take a few more sims after the new year and a successful "Final" before I am ready for my new ADCO Specialist title but I can't wait to step up and take more of a leadership role in the group - plus moving the space station and being the woman-in-charge of attitude control sounds like a dream come true for this humble rocket scientist!

Beyond all of these exciting adventures however, my mind has been swirling lately. I've been a little down about my Specialist progression, the election, my contractor-status, financial decisions, mental health, Diabetes health, Christmas stress, acne (ugh, what the heck?), an impending insulin pump switch, foreign travel, etc.... But as strange as it sounds, working console is an excellent way to decompress. In those moments where I am at the helm of ISS I have to tune everything else out and focus. And when we have breaks (as satellite coverage transitions) I walk through the halls and remind myself how lucky I am to be here.

A glimpse down the hall to Flight Control Room 1. 

The floor is worn and creaky but the ISS assembly and astronaut pictures paint the historical nature of this site. Just upstairs sits the consoles that took us to the moon and down the hall is the control room that the Shuttle was flown from. Astronauts and Flight Directors are frequent travelers down these halls - and I am one lucky duck to be among them. Their halls are my halls too.

I love seeing the "Johnson Space Center" sign every morning (or night, depending on the shift), and my head grows three sizes pulling into that reserved "ADCO" parking spot of the "Christopher Kraft Mission Control Center". I live and breathe spaceflight...my "never-give-up" attitude has brought me this far and will keep challenging me to push ahead - even in times of self doubt.

It's a crazy world out there - but these storied halls are part of what brings me peace.