Thursday, May 19, 2011

Waking Up Wonky

So there's obviously been a lot going on in my life over the past week.  Last Friday I left straight from work to drive up to Gainesville to celebrate my cousin David's graduation from UF Law School!  He's put in so much work and I'm so proud of him!  This trip was planned a bit last minute, so I was up late the night before packing, then I spent 2.5 hours driving, followed by surprising my entire family and then dealing with the ensuing craziness, celebrating at the bar, and then passing out on my cousin's couch.  The next morning I had a delicious brunch with the fam while torrential downpours trapped me in the area.  I finally left for home, but it was a super stressful drive as there were moments I was gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles to keep the car from blowing off the road in the wind while also driving at 20 mph with my hazard lights on as the rain was so heavy I couldn't see the car in front of me. 
I got home with a completely tensed and stiff body.  J had friends in town for launch, but I was a horrible host and wound up taking a 4 hour nap to reset my body.  The next day I was more social, but I couldn't go out drinking with them late because I had to wake up at 3 am to support my 5 am interview at the KSC press site (which went well by the way and I'm working to find a video of it).  The launch was incredible and afterwards I had to arrange my stuff for travel to Houston.  By the time I got home I was completely exhausted and once again wound up being a bad host and taking a ridiculously long nap.  I was up late packing once again and had to wake up early the next day to catch my flight.

In Houston I got lunch, food to bring to the imagery lab, and then fell asleep once again around 5:30 in the afternoon since I had to be at work at 3 am for the imagery inspection. Wound up waking up at 12:30 am, which is a pretty good amount of sleep and I was okay being at work for a while.  After a 15 hour work day I was once again exhausted, though.  I met up with my friend B for dinner and then basically passed out.  Now I'm back at work at 8 am, which is at least somewhat normal.  But my body is already out of whack and the weird, sometimes lacking, sleep schedule is definitely taking it's toll on me.

As for what we found during the imagery, we have a deep tile damage on the lower right wing that requires us to do a focused inspection.  This means I'm out here working more wonky hours until we can clear this damage for reentry.  Focused inspection will use a tool on the end of the shuttle's extendable arm to take a 3-D digital impression of the damage so we have a more accurate geometry to use in our analysis.  It is a somewhat similar damage to what we saw on STS-118, so I'm hopeful we won't have to perform an on orbit repair.  You can get an idea of the damages we're working at this link.

(launch photo courtesty of a coworker, alarm and airplane photo from here)

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