Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Day After

By John DeLooper

Everyone who has flown has recovered from the medications - everyone was tired last night.

Today we went to the Johnson Space Center for a professional development session for the teachers. The speaker covered all of the resources that are available from the education centers at NASA as well as a hands-on experiment on some toys that have been tested in microgravity in the space station. The teachers had to guess what happens to the toy in space and then they showed the video of what actually happened.

The B teams flew today. But instead of having one flight, a decision was made to move the Friday flight up to this afternoon. This was done because of the impending storm "Don" that is moving into the designated flight pattern. Both flights were accomplished - Aliya flew in the morning and Andrew flew in the afternoon.

During the afternoon we got the official tour of some NASA facilities. We were able to go into an engineering facility that has life-size mockups of the space station and the Russian transport vehicle. This is where they go through flight plans with the astronauts and develop engineering solutions.

We traveled by bus to the neutral buoyancy lab where the astronauts do training in their suits for outside the space station. This pool is over 100 feet wide, 200 feet long and 40 feet deep. Unfortunately, all of the training was done for the day by the time we arrived.

Back into the bus to mission control to see the folks controlling the space station. Our tour guides explained each of the positions and activities that could be accomplished from the room - they can control the hardware on the station.

Above this control room is the historic control room for the Apollo program. We were able to enter this and see the actual room in which history was made - man landing on the moon as well as bringing back the Apollo 13 crew. Over the water cooler is a mirror from the Apollo 13 crew that was pulled from the lunar module to make up the weight since they did not have rocks from the moon. It was put in the control room to remind the controllers that the real heroes were the folks in the mission control room.

This was an impressive tour.

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