By: MaryBeth and Kristin
Sunday – July 6, 2008
After cosmic bowling in Morgantown on Saturday night, some of us wanted to go clubbing. Jay, Mehran, Kristin, Kim, Tom and MaryBeth got ready to go out while Sabrina and Ephraim got ready for bed. We were going to go to a nightclub called Envy but Kristin forgot her driver’s license at the Stud. They wouldn’t take her MIT Student ID at any club so Jay and Kristin went back to Mehran’s gorgeous townhouse. The rest of us party-goers went out for the evening. We ran into a lot of people that Mehran knew from West Virginia University like Emily’s (from Ames) boyfriend and more. We had some more drinks and walked around finding different floors of the bar/dance club to hang out in. MaryBeth ran into Adrienne and Eric, friends from Wheeling Jesuit University. On our way back to the car, we were pretty hungry and Kim was cold. Mehran borrowed money from Tom to buy 2 hot dogs from a street vendor while Kim borrowed Mehran’s button down shirt. Then we stopped at Taco Bell for fourth meal arriving back at Mehran’s house at 3:30 a.m.
We woke up around 9:30-ish and started getting ready for an 11:00 a.m. departure from West Virginia back to Northeastern Ohio. We were packing when Tom spilled a beverage on Mehran’s driver seat and pulled out the S.O.S. from the early morning. We got all packed in the Dodge Caliber and Pontiac G6 and filled the tanks to head up to C-Town. Mehran led for a while which led to few if any U-turns. Once back in Pennsylvania, Jay took over driving and we went to Subway for lunch. Mehran, Tom and MaryBeth finished learning the NATO Alpha Lima Papa Hotel Alpha Bravo Echo Tango (Alpahabet). Jay’s car was relatively quiet, as Kristin spent most of the time doing cross-stitch and Kim and Sabrina took naps. There was not nearly as much radio innuendo… ahem, chatter, as Friday night/Saturday morning’s car trip from Washington DC to Morgantown. The rental cars got back to the airport in time. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and trying to prepare for the upcoming SoCal trip.
Monday – July 7, 2008
The Academyites headed out of the Stud bright and early to eat breakfast at the wonderful Glenn cafeteria where there was oatmeal. Sabrina had her headphones on but swore she could hear us through them and tried to get us to guess her music. We went our separate ways to Building 77, the 300 Block or Building 49 to work for an hour or so until the Glenn Hangar Tour. For the tour we got to hang out where they store all the cool airplanes. We split into two groups, one with tour guide Jim, a Project Pilot and the other with Al, the Chief of Aircraft Operations for the hangar.
We got to see the Twin Otter propeller plane, built in 1965 which is used for icing research. The cabin is non-pressurized so at 15,000 to 18,000 ft for 3 to 5 hours supplemental oxygen is needed for the 7 possible passengers. The Twin Otter weighs 12, 500 lbs at takeoff and is used for atmospheric appreciation of ice on the wings as well as other experiments. The Lear 25 jet is a 1960s model which has been highly modified. Many flight tests were conducted and then changes were made because wind tunnels were not very accurate back in the day.
The S3 plane is by no means new technology. NASA Glenn received this plane from the Navy and removed the military equipment replacing it with commercial products. The S3 uses the Garmin 430 and Honywell 250 weather radar to do weather related research. This S3 has a new NASA paint job which was commissioned at the same place the Blue Angels are painted. The modification took 16 months in Jacksonville, Florida at Boeing at a price of 1.5 million dollars. The S3 was manufactured by Lockheed Martin and undergoes a thorough inspection 16-600 day inspection every 2 years. The S732 plane is very similar to the S3 and still wears the Navy green color proudly. It was used for antisubmarine warfare but never saw any active sub attack. The wing station and bomb bay used to hold 2500 lbs and 1000 lbs of torpedoes, respectively for these attacks.
The T-34C single propeller aircraft is the Navy’s primary flight trainer. NASA Glenn acquired it from the Navy. It is used as a low cost proficiency engine. The Lear 23 Jet is smaller than the Lear 25 jet and its maintenance is based on calendar days or upon the number of days in flight. The Glennterns also got to look at the fabrication shop within the hangar to make any needed parts in house. The hangar is the oldest building on the Glenn site having been built in the mid to late 1940s. After the tour, we headed back to work for an hour and then went to lunch.
In the afternoon, there was quality work time with PIs. And as usual after work, people went to workout. Some went for a run or others walked. A group meeting was supposed to be held prior to the rap session but it got pushed back due to dinner plans. Tom made some crazy good peach chicken for dinner and invited the rest of the Academy to try his delicious creation.
The rap session was held poolside. After finally getting inside the pool area, Jay and Kristin pulled together all 8 plastic pool chairs and 2 tables to make a suitable meeting place. The meeting started a little late because people were doing laundry for the SoCal trip. Once the meeting got going, Mehran and Sabrina read the week 6 Weekly Summary. The summary ended abruptly because people sent out a search party looking for him at work while he was typing the weekly summary. We then went over the calendars and the agenda for the meeting talking extensively about California. Sabrina wanted to see Hollywood. The rap session ended while people went to get SD/XD cards for the weekly picture exchange and prepare for the group meeting.
The picture exchange had some issues due to cable and card snafus but it was fine. The group project meeting took a while to begin because Jay, MaryBeth and Tom were playing darts and in the process lost or damaged the darts, themselves. The group project meeting happened and people went to bed.
Tuesday – July 8, 2008
The Stud-dwelling NASA interns headed out to Glenn to eat breakfast and start their day. There was an enlightening discussion about the different requirements of drug testing for various jobs and athletic responsibilities. Like Monday, today was another weird morning working only a couple of hours and then heading to a talk. Scott Graham provided us with an overview of the Crew Launch Vehicle of Ares I and Ares V. He discussed why NASA needs to go back to the moon before moving forward to Mars and other adventures. The Glennterns headed to lunch and then back to Glenn for an afternoon of PI time and much talk about the group project. StratoStar wanted to do a conference call. Woot Woot! This could be going somewhere.
After work, there was much hustle and bustle to finish laundry, and get packed especially if you wanted to participate in the conference call. Kristin, Tom and MaryBeth stayed up late talking in the hallway about random stuff when they should have been packing for Southern California.
Wednesday – July 9, 2008
The morning started out a little busy trying to get everything done for Southern California. Mehran, Ephraim, Jay, Tom, Kim, Sabrina, Kristin and MaryBeth headed out to Glenn for breakfast and a morning of PI research/lab/computer/reading time. Lunch came around quickly and every Glenntern headed back to the Stud to finish packing and eat lunch. After a long lunch and making plans for dinner, we headed back to GRC to work if possible before heading to California. At 5:00 p.m., Tom, Ephraim, Kristin and Sabrina joined MaryBeth in Building 309 in Room 213 for a tele-con with StatroStar regarding the group project. Mehran, Kim and Jay returned to the Stud to finish packing and eat dinner. MaryBeth ate dinner while we waited for the call.
The tele-con was with Jason Krueger, President of StratoStar, Matt Garver, Systems Engineer, and Jeff Daily, Chief Engineer. The call went really well, with StratoStar initiating a feasible plan of attack for the next 3 weeks. With much determination and a focused mind, we will be able to achieve a test ground launch, a tethered balloon launch and an experimental launch with StratoStar in Indiana.
Ephraim ate dinner before we headed to the Glenn Hangar to be picked up by the airport shuttle. He changed clothes in Tom’s car and then we were on our way to the airport. Upon checking in her bags, MaryBeth got mobbed in the airport by fashionable women complementing her wallet. Security was a breeze and we had some time to kill in the airport. For those of us who hadn’t eaten, dinner was purchased and eaten. Jay and Tom heard the legacy of an older woman whose mother had been on the Titanic on its maiden and only voyage. Kristin, MaryBeth, Ephraim and Mehran went to get frozen yogurt from TCBY. Kristin bought Tom some yogurt and then it was time to board the plane for the 4.5 hour flight to California with a 3 hour time change.
We arrived at LAX at 11:00 p.m. (2:00 a.m. EST), collected luggage, found Dr. Kankam and then waited for an hour and a half for Jay and Mehran to come back with the rental cars. While we were waiting, we were treated to the lovely, incessant sound of a fire alarm for 10-15 minutes. Kristin was excited to find a Bank of America ATM without having to walk anywhere. And when the cars did arrive, we were way excited because we had 2 red convertible Ford Mustangs. The problem, however, was what to do with the luggage. Five of us squeezed into Jay’s convertible holding luggage on our laps and we decided to put the top down, because we figured, "Hey, it’s California, it won’t be too cold for the drive!" However, it was rather cold, and Kristin gave her sunglasses to Mary Beth to protect her eyes, and protected Mary Beth’s and Tom’s ears from the wind while Ephraim and Jay partied it up in the front seat with Jay’s new California mix. The middle seat in the back was not comfortable at all. The other convertible had Sabrina’s mama jama bag and Dr. Kankam, plus all the other interns.
Thursday – July 10, 2008
We drove to the Oxford Inn in Lancaster, CA and checked in at 1:45 a.m. (4:45 a.m. EST). Most of us had suites except Mehran and Jay. Kristin and MaryBeth decided that it would be inhumane for anyone to sleep on the pull out couch because the bed was big enough and comfortable enough to share.
At 7:00 a.m. (10:00 am EST), it was time for breakfast at the Oxford Inn with the Ames and Marshall Academies. Ephraim, Tom, MaryBeth and Kristin tried to remember names while eating quickly while those of us who got up early had time to mingle with the other Academies. Kristin and Mehran said hello to friends from the Ames Academy.
Carpooling to the Dryden Flight Research Center was split up among the many cars used by the various Academies. Kristin and MaryBeth got to bond with some of the Ames gang and Kristin from Marshall. After a long drive through the desert and stopping at Edwards Air Force base to stretch our legs and meet fellow Academies, we got back in the cars. We drove to Dryden and commented about the long commute these employees have.
At Dryden, our tour guide Curtis showed the Ames, Marshall and Glenn Academies the Super Critical Wing, the Digital Fly-By Wire and the SR-71, better known as the Blackbird. We also saw the X-15 which can reach speeds up to Mach 6. We then went inside to see a movie about past experimental aircraft and future conceptual experimental aircraft. We then saw more jet planes and went into an administrative type of building. This building was said to be the façade of the Air Force building in I Dream of Jeanie. From this building we walked to the hangar and saw a bunch of F-18s and a T-38, which is what astronauts fly. Jay was drooling. After that we saw the lakebed that acts as a landing strip, a mock up of the lunar lander, and more. We thought there were sonic booms going on but they were testing some sort of artillery that made a lot of noise at Edwards. After that, it was lunchtime at the Dryden cafeteria. Some of us finished early and went into the gift shop. We saw boxers that said "Remove Before Flight," and thought they were perfect for Mehran.
It was time to head over to SOFIA at the Palmdale International Airport We had to drive quite some time and we passed an open air airplane museum that we would hopefully see on the way back to the hotel. SOFIA is an L-3 Communications Integrated Systems modified Boeing 747 that accommodates at 2.5m reflecting telescope. SOFIA, which stands for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, will study the invisible energy of the infrared spectrum in the universe using this advanced telescope. This airborne observatory will help contribute to the progress of science furthering NASA’s Origin Program.
After SOFIA, some of the Glennterns went back to the Oxford Inn with the respective carpools and some attempted to see the open air airplane museum. But to our surprise, the museum was only open during the weekend. Kim and Sabrina wanted to take an easy afternoon because it was just so hot. Mehran, Kristin, Tom and Ephraim decided to go for a run in the desert at the sweltering temperature of 108 °F. MaryBeth knew better and decided to go for a speed walk instead thinking she wouldn’t get dehydrated as fast. Some of the guys from the other Academies ran and/or drove to the gym. It was smoking hot. By the time MaryBeth returned from her walk, Mehran, Kristin and Tom were waiting for her under the highway overpass like trolls. They said they got too hot and too tired but MaryBeth knows that they were waiting for her. Mehran wanted to wait for Emily from Ames but MaryBeth saw her go to the gym. We saw Ephraim on the other side of the street and we caught up to him (he raced with Tom) or he backtracked to us…who knows, and headed back to the Inn.
Once at the Inn, it was a long process to figure out dinner plans. Kristin, Tom, MaryBeth, Ephraim, and Mehran thought they smelled gas in the lounge area of the restaurant. We went outside to find some of Ames and most of Marshall in the pool and hot tub. We made dinner plans to meet up and go out as a big group of 35 people. Tatiana from Marhsall found Gino’s Italian Restaurant which was willing to accommodate us. MaryBeth and Kristin both had a fashion dilemma over what to wear and called Sabrina to the rescue. After quick showers for the runners, the Glennterns headed out to carpools to head to Gino’s, well most of us did. Sabrina, as we were told by Kim, was trying to find some pants to put on. We all split up into different cars and headed out. Two cars driven by Alex from Marshall and David from Ames became a little lost. First, we went the wrong way then MaryBeth called Kristin because it is illegal for drivers to talk on their cell phones in California. After an interesting conversation simultaneously on cell phones and out of open windows at a red light, we decided to meet up at Jack-in-the-Box going the opposite direction and talk directions with someone who knew where this place was. MaryBeth ran into Jack-in-the-Box and was back lickety-split from the restaurant with a souvenir for a NASA co-worker. David and Alex were ready to go and we found Gino’s without a problem now that we were headed in the right direction.
At Gino’s, there were 35 Academyites from Ames, Marshall and Glenn. Not everybody was there; Joel and Rachel were missing from the Ames gang. Dinner was interesting to say the least. Among our various table-wide conversations, there was also Academy-wide questions such as, "Boxers, briefs or boxer-briefs?" and "Do you want to see my SSRB?" Anita from Ames decided to show the other Academies her happy/sad President Lincoln using the $5 bill. But the best pickup line anyone had of the night belonged to Anita from Ames. So you see a cutie sitting down across the way, one walks over and throws down a sugar packet in front of him or her, and say, "You dropped your nametag," and then walk away slowly so he or she can catch up to you.
By the time everyone was in the car, the cook and a waitress had been invited back to the Oxford Inn. Kim and MaryBeth were trying to make it back to the Inn by 9:30 to get our free drinks. MaryBeth no longer wanted to get a drink so she and Kristin hung out in their room talking to random people like Adrian from Marshall. He didn’t know that they were having a group meeting by the lounge downstairs. Ames was meeting and doing a dry ice experiment for their group project. Kristin and MaryBeth saw Tom and Ephraim and thought we should have our own group meeting. Mehran was called because he forgot his box of leftover food at the restaurant and Kristin grabbed it. We just talked, or gossiped, in the suite of the living room. Mehran decided to go to bed. Tom and Ephraim decided to actually go work on the group project. They ordered a Bull Puppy rocket and other goodies. Kim and Sabrina were already sleeping and Jay, we presume was with Ames staffer Jenni. The rest of the Glennterns got talked into going swimming after discussing the obvious benefits of a power nap to some of the Marshall boys. However, they walk down to the pool only to have a conversation with Emily, Josef and Alex from Marshall on a second story balcony. Kristin and MaryBeth head upstairs and Alex is on his way down to the gathering in Room 360. MaryBeth and Kristin go and change and decide to partake a little in the evening’s festivities.
Friday – July 11, 2008
The Academyites all woke up bright and early on Friday for their trip to JPL and SpaceX. Everything had to be packed up to take to our respective hotels/hostels/apartments, so the Glennterns reclaimed the convertibles, though some of their luggage found their way to other cars. Ephraim took lots of pictures of the Mojave desert on our way to Pasadena, and we wondered why on earth we had tried to go for a run in such heat the day before. Jay had forgotten his badge in the trunk when we arrived, but the security guards were nice enough to let us in. We made it to Pasadena and parked the cars… well, Jay parked his car in the last row of employee parking, which would prove to be an auspicious detail later that afternoon. We all headed over to the visitor’s center, where we started to look around the gift shop but were herded over to the small museum instead and given white JPL Tour stickers. There were a lot of mock-ups of different probes, rovers, and satellites that JPL had worked on over the years. The Academyites had a lot of fun with an infared camera and video screen that showed heat radiation. People’s sunglasses showed up blue, the coolest, and their hands, the warmest, red.
After the museum, we headed to see the flight control room, where we saw a short video on what different types of projects were controlled from the mission control center, and learned about the deep space network that is stationed at three sites around the world to send and receive faint signals to far-off star craft. After that, all the Academyites headed over to a conference room, where we had a presentation about the different zones of space that we are currently exploring and the long-term goals of JPL, which was very informative. The speaker was very dynamic and made a good presentation, compensating for the fact that the red in the projector didn’t show up for the first half of it. Following that, we all grabbed some lunch at the cafeteria and then came back to hear from Academy Alumni, mostly from Goddard and Ames, speak about what they are doing now at NASA and what they have done since their academies. Then we headed over to see the ATHLETE robot, which is a six-legged lunar robot prototype that will help the astronauts set up a lunar base when they return to the moon. We were able to get a sneak peak at the Mars Science Laboratory being assembled. Kristin and a number of other Academyites saw people they knew, just in passing, on the JPL campus. We headed back to the visitor’s center because we had to cross LA to get to SpaceX, but the gift shop was closed. By the time Jay got back to the rest of the group with directions after retrieving the car from the other side of the world, Mehran’s car had already left, following Doug, who was not going to SpaceX. Jay’s car made it fine (albeit with one U-turn), just on time, but Mehran’s car got more and more lost.
We arrived at SpaceX and began our tour. First, we took off our JPL tour badges and some of us put them on the back of our Glenn badges. They were now striped red to show that our tour day was over there. SpaceX’s entrance had just been remodeled that week, and was very sleek and modern, with a white floor. We split up into groups to start going on a tour. We saw a lot of hardware laying out over the factory floor, most of which is made in-house. It seemed like a cool place to work, with a young and vibrant group of employees, but they work up to 80 hours a week, and even the interns were working 50 hours a week. Kristin met up with 4 fellow interns working at SpaceX from MIT, one of which greeted her enthsuiastically by jumping into her arms. Tommy from Ames seemed disappointed with a lackluster greeting, so she jumped into his arms as well. SpaceX had an arcade game console and an air hockey table for the employees. Mehran’s car arrived and were able to see a bit of the tour. We got free snacks, and talked with Max Vozoff about working at SpaceX and their vision for the future. We then all got awesome goody bags. Tom spilled water on the pristine new white floor and there was a mud puddle all over the place not long afterwards.
We righted the luggage situation and headed to the hostel in Santa Monica. After a quick change of clothes, Jay, Mary Beth, Ephraim, Tom, Mehran, and Kristin headed to the Alumni barbeque at Caltech. However, it took nearly two hours to get through the traffic, and the air felt polluted as we sat in a traffic jam. There was still food when we arrived, though, and the Glennterns enjoyed mixing with the alums and other academies. Ames ’07 alum Cameron Haag drove Dr. Kankam back to the airport, so Jay didn’t have to leave immediately after arriving. Canadian Mike from Ames jammed the tunes and took lots of pictures, and there was some dancing, some pool, some foosball, and arcade games. Tommy from Ames and Kristin tried to round up people to go into Old Town, Pasadena, but it didn’t quite work, and the group ended up taking a walking tour of the Caltech campus and taking some pictures with the Cannon, before taking David from Ames back to UCLA on a ride through Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Kim and Sabrina, who hadn’t come to the barbeque, headed to telescope viewing with the Marshall gang and got back pretty late.
Saturday – July 12, 2008
Everyone woke up piecemeal on Saturday, getting breakfast in groups and getting showers completed. The hostel was very roomy and spacious, and so we had lots and lots of room for our eight extremely soft and fuzzy beds. Breakfast in the courtyard was ‘make your own’. At 11:30, we headed to Barney’s Beanery, where we met up with Rebecca and Kamara from last year’s academy at Glenn. The Glennterns shopped around a bit, and Mary Beth got a shiny gold bag from Express. We had to wait nearly an hour for a table, which were told would only be 15 minutes. The menu was very large and almost anything you could think of eating was on it. We discussed the NAAA and Academy gossip, while lunch took another 2 and a half hours. Following lunch, Sabrina headed off with a friend to go see a comedy club and for some tours, and Kim also headed off with a friend. The rest of us met up with Jenni, Heather, and Robbie from Ames and walked down the pier a bit, where Ephraim heroically won a brilliantly silver stuffed Sonic (yes, we like the alliteration) in a game of Wack-a-mole against a little kid, whose Mom yelled at him for destroying him so soundly. Mary Beth and Kristin took lots of pictures.
After the pier, we got in the cars and headed to Hollywood, where we went to the Chinese Theatre to see lots of famous signatures, and we ran into the Marshall gang, where Mike from Canada rejoined our group. Mary Beth and Tom took pictures with Yoda and Jack Sparrow. Then we headed into the mall area to take pictures with the Hollywood sign in the distance and eat dinner. Ephraim stayed and waited with a friend to go to a concert. The rest of us piled into cars and tried to meet up at a gas station and go to the Dodgers game. There was a tricked out green NASCAR car sitting in the parking lot at the mall. Jenni’s van and Jay’s convertible tried to meet up at a gas station, but we couldn’t quite make it happen. Words were exchanged over how to get to the stadium in a four-way game of telephone between Jenni, Kristin, Mary Beth, and Jay. Jay’s car got to the stadium and saw that it was sold out, but Jenni’s car was stuck on the highway, trying to get into the correct ways while other drivers were being less than friendly by not letting her into the lane for making a mistake. Eventually, we made it back to the hotel, where we kabitzed around for a bit, trying to figure out what to do while watching the Dodgers game we didn’t attend. After lots of indecision, we decided to try to meet Jay’s friends at a Karaoke and Pool Club. We drove though sketchy parts of town until we got to the Korean section, where the club was. We bought an hour of pool table time while we waited for Jay’s friend Karin from middle school. Kristin and Tom played against Sam and Heather. Kristin was particularly bad, and Sam eventually won the game for the Ames team. Then Mehran and Mary Beth played against the winning pair, but we stopped the game before anyone won because the hour was up. We moved into a Karaoke room, and were brought complimentary yogurt drinks and snacks. It took awhile for everyone to loosen up, but everyone got a chance to sing, even Mehran and Jay. Jay and Jenni were cute singing "A whole new world" together. By the time we were finished, it was about 1:30 a.m. We said farewell to the Ames gang, piled five into the Mustang, and after some searching and driving the wrong way down one-way streets, finally found the highway and returned to the Hostel for much-looked for sleep.