Making the grade so the experiment can fly
Text and photos by John DeLooper
Our goal today was to pass the NASA safety review so that our experiment could fly. We completed our assembly, solved some problems (missing power supply for a camera and broken support) and set the top of the glove box into position. As we were working, several of the folks who would later be part of the review stopped by and asked questions - the Electrical Safety engineer reviewed each of our power supplies and how much current was required. Some time just before the review, we were required to go to the flight line to take a class photo in front of the Zero-G plane.
Our team mate Darrell was responsible for presenting the experiment and our safety documentation to the 20 NASA folks performing the safety review. After the review, the entire glovebox had to be weighed - we did have a weight limit of 40lbs for all of our experimental gear - and we had to put the gloves on the box since we have more than 6 fluid ounces of soap and water solution (we are going to make bubbles and experiment with oscillators). We met the weight requirement and loaded our box onto the forklift that would bring it to the plane. Darrell and Nick then went on the plane to help load the glovebox.
During the afternoon we received additional briefings - primarily trying to make sure we are prepared for the event and do everything we can to make sure this is a "nominal" event - in other words - we don't hurl anything. Nominal is the "NASA" word.... Instructions were also provided on how to properly place any extraneous materials into one of two plastic bags each of us will carry. We also signed more releases - I've given away my firstborn away several times already - and were issued our flight suits. We have to give the flight suit back but we get to keep our official name tag. Adam is shown modeling the flight suit in front of a NASA experimental aircraft in the hangar where we are assembling our experiments. He's gone from the depths (subs) to the peaks....
Tomorrow is the big day - half my team will fly - I will fly on Wednesday. This should be good!