Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shuttle Shenanigans

In the airlock with the payload bay in the background
Today I scheduled a tour of Endeavour's crew compartment.  I've been in a shuttle crew compartment before, but this was better because a) I didn't have to wear a bunny suit and b) I got to crawl into the airlock that extends into the payload bay and (when on orbit) to the ISS!  It was very cool to be in there, but at the same time, sad knowing it was already in the process of being torn apart.
I also got to sit in the cockpit.  I know I posted a similar picture of me in the simulator, but this is a real shuttle this time!
I also got to realize my dream of sitting inside a space shuttle main engine nozzle!  I've been wanting to do that ever since I started working here!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dream Puppy

Someday I will have a puppy that looks just like this!  Super sweet and cuddly!

(Picture from gilt.com)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sorry It's Been a While... a Lot Has Happened

 So contrary to weather predictions, Atlantis launched on the final shuttle mission ever a week and a half ago on July 8.  I was thrilled to have been able to bring my parents on to the space center to watch the launch from up close, and afterwards we partook in the traditional beans and cornbread for the last time, followed by an employee appreciation party in the VAB complete with BBQ, beer, and music.  Beer in the VAB!  I did sneak my parents into the VAB for the party, just so they could see the building, and as we were leaving who took the stage but Jimmy Buffet, performing especially for the KSC workers!  It was truly a wonderful yet bittersweet day.  The last shuttle launch....
The following day I hopped a plane out to Houston for mission support.  We only found 5 very minor issues with the TPS during the imagery inspection, but the Damage Assessment Team leaders decided to stretch out the analysis a bit just to prolong our time at JSC.  Our team is a very close-knit group of people and we made the most of our last time together.  We all got together to re-create an Apollo 13 photo, complete with an appearance from Gene Krantz in the actual Apollo mission control room!
The Original
We had another DAT kickball game, which I actually got to participate in this time.  There was a great turnout, people brought their kids and families, and we all had a fabulous time!
The following day we all dressed in our DAT Hawaiian shirts and cleared the vehicle for reentry from a TPS perspective and closed out the DAT for the last time.  There were lots of lasts, and finals, and ends, and good byes.  It was a pretty tough week emotionally.  We were signing posters and tiles and doors.  It felt like the last day of high school, with old jokes, memories and "yearbooks".
The DAT team goes Hawaiian

DAT conference room door
After the last DAT meeting, we all went to the home of the OPO lead, and a former astronaut, Bill Macarthur.  He and his wife have graciously hosted the DAT team after we've cleared the vehicle during the last 3 shuttle flight and this was the last of the last.  They grilled out, had drinks and we all mingled for the last time.
Followed by a party at my friend B's house, which was a bit wilder, went until about 2 am, and which I have no pictures of as I got a bit tipsy on champagne...

I flew home on Wednesday, turned in my travel receipts on Thursday, and Friday hit the internet for some job hunting.  No luck yet.  And now tomorrow is the very last shuttle landing ever.  It is the day that represents the end of the shuttle program, the end of my job, and the beginning of a long void in US space travel.  I plan to wear waterproof mascara.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shuttle Launch Scheduled for TOMORROW!

Don't forget to watch the shuttle launch tomorrow!  It is the last one you'll ever see!  Weather is only 70% chance of being acceptable for launch, so there's a strong chance it may be delayed.  But don't assume it won't go, stranger things have happened.  Launch is scheduled for 11:26 EST.  Watch it! 

Also, I spent today over at the KSC press site again as a media representative for Boeing.  I'll post the interviews when I find them!

(photo from here)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I spent my weekend in South Florida with family, celebrating a multitude of events.  The big one was my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary on Sunday night!  Can you believe it?!? 60 years of being happily married!  Considering that many couples nowadays don't even make it to 6 years, 60 is just absolutely incredible!  We also celebrated my dad's 60th birthday, my grandpa's 80th birthday, and of course, the 4th of July.  The weekend was filled with family members from all over the country, some of whom I was meeting for the first time.  My aunt hosted the anniversary party at her home and it was a gorgeous event.  There was food (including a crepe station!!! yum!), music (lots of oldies, which I loved), drinking, dancing, fireworks, and mingling.  And then the next day we got up and did it all again, although on a bit of a smaller scale, for a family 4th of July cook out.  Overall it was a fabulous weekend! Congrats again Grandma and Grandpa!

Friday, July 1, 2011

One Week Til Launch!

One week from today, Atlantis is set to launch on its final flight, and the last flight of the space shuttle program, on STS-135 to the International Space Station at 11:26 am eastern time.  Make sure you try to stay updated on this, it's the last space shuttle that will ever launch and a big moment in American history!

In the meantime, everyone have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!  Enjoy an extra day off of work, some good barbecue, and, of course, fireworks!

(image from here)