Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Dusty

Carthage Microgravity Team Rig

3 of our team members (Joe, Sam, and Brad) got up bright and early to head out to physiological training while the rest of us journeyed over to the hangar at Ellington Field to work on the rig. We had planned to get some more testing done and run through in flight procedures; however, upon pumping down one of the drums, we soon discovered that a second expensive butterfly valve was no longer working. Isa, Erin, Dr. Crosby, and I spent all day trying different ways to get these valves to work. By the end of the workday, we were all feeling pretty frustrated. We spent some time in a hardware store hoping to find some smidgen of inspiration and hope.

We picked up the others from physio training at the NBL (Neutral Buoyancy Lab) where NASA houses a 4ft deep 102ft by 202ft 6.2 million gallon swimming pool where the astronauts train. Our team had a fun experience in the hypobaric chamber where they underwent oxygen deprivation to see what their symptoms of hypoxia are.

Later in the evening, we were picked up by astronaut Barbara Morgan (STS-118 backup and Challenger shuttle backup for Crista McAullife). We had a great time hanging out with her and her Boise State Microgravity team.

Today and tomorrow we are not allowed to work on our rig as the hangar is closed to us. Sunday should prove to be exciting though. The STS-119 astronaut welcome home party will be held in our hangar at Ellington, and we are invited to attend!

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