National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Week 9 Summary

By: Ephraim Chen & Tom Vo

Sunday: July 20, 2008
The exhaustingly exciting previous day at the Dayton Air Show did not prevent some Glenn Academyites from attending church services on Sunday morning. It was a day to get caught up on one thing or another. Kimberly got some work done with her individual research. Mary Beth was able to catch up on some sleep until about noon. Even though it was the weekend, Sabrina decided to get up at an early 3 pm. Mehran was up early packing up his things to leave the Stud for a week. Although, Mehran was happy to leave the Stud he was sad to think that he would wake up most of the week without seeing Tom every morning. He took off for Houston to participate in NASA microgravity flights aboard their “Vomit Comet” aircraft and conduct experiments for his PI. Tom and Kristin…. scratch that… Tom went to church for the 11 am service because someone really wanted to sleep in… he probably benefited from sleeping in too a little anyways though. Tom and Mehran go out to eat at Chipotle before Mehran headed out to the airport. Mehran is somewhat worried about the possible consequences of eating Mexican food and going on a long plane ride. After a couple of tears and tissues, Tom dropped off Mehran at the airport.

Ephraim went to service that morning and then had lunch with some of the other members from the college religious group meeting after the service. When Ephraim got back, he and Tom were excited over the arrival of the large G-class rocket motors for the group project. They decided to go to Home Depot to get some things for the Arrow 2-X launch pad. They stopped by to see Jay and Andrew and say goodbye to Andrew. Jay and Andrew appeared to have been taking it easy that morning and were watching some women’s beach volleyball match.

Kristin and Jay went for a run that day. Kristin read a book and newspaper online. Mary Beth made a pendant necklace from a seashell she found this summer. Tom worked on putting together the Arrow 1 & Arrow 2-X rockets. Although Tom and Ephraim were barricaded into their room, Mary Beth still managed to get them to open their door to let in some fresh air. Mary Beth offered her assistance. However at that time Tom didn’t know how to use the help that was offered. Sabrina also tried to stop by but apparently Ephraim and Tom was not around at that time or did not hear her knocking. Ephraim on the other hand spent a good amount of time calculating the mass for the design of the rocket.

Later at 11 pm that night, Tom primed the smaller model missile under a street light as Ephraim video taped. They looked extremely sketchy. It is almost certain that anyone driving or walking by would definitely be ‘sketched out’ as Kristin would say.

Monday: July 21, 2008
Today is Kimberly’s Birthday, Happy Birthday to you was sung pretty poorly in the morning. Kristin wears pink today and people give her a hard time about it. She wore it out of necessity of course because she had accidentally spilled a little make-up on the shirt underneath. At breakfast, conversation some how led to talking about Power Rangers, TMNT, and Dragon Ball Z! It was amazing to Tom that both Kimberly and Ephraim had also watched the show as well and totally one-upped everyone with their geek status. Kamayamaya!

After work, we celebrate Kimberly’s birthday by going to the 100th Bomb Group for dessert, before dinner. Kristin, Sabrina and Tom got some cheesecake and Jay got some Creme Brue Le. Kimberly, Ephraim and Mary Beth on the other hand, got Upside-Down apple pie with Walnuts and cinnamon. Kimberly received a small piece of pie and asked for a little more as Mary Beth subsequently found a whipped cream applicator in hers. The manager tells Mary Beth that her dessert is free since she found that surprise in her food. Tom got to work on his individual and group project presentations on his birthday. Seriously? Oh well… Kimberly didn’t get a cake that she could keep in her refrigerator for 9 weeks. Yes, Ephraim still has his leftover cake from 9 weeks ago. As we headed out of the restaurant we saw a party going on. Kimberly and Sabrina talked about crashing the party, but of course they were just all talk. We took some great pictures inside and outside of the restaurant but unfortunately without Mehran there to be in the center of all of them. It was definitely unfortunate for Tom because Mehran usually adds two notches in terms of good-looking-ness to the group photos offsetting Tom’s negative two.

Tom went for a lone run by himself. Before that, he commented that the Dave Matthews Band doesn’t actually say words in their songs – they just mumble.

Tom called Mehran and had him wish Kim a happy birthday over the phone .Since we were all way ahead of schedule and had nothing at all to do we were assigned another project of a picture collage. Tom, Ephraim, Kimberly, and Mary Beth choose to be on the picture selection team and Jay, Sabrina, and Kristin decide to work on the actual construction of the collage. Sabrina was selected to lead this effort since she has artistic and creativity skills. At the Rap Session we talk about the current Academy members possibly becoming staffers next year. As well as talk about just how ridiculously awesome the last week of the Academy was going to be. No one at all was stressed out at the Rap session that night… no one. Also to note, some random guy came and talked to us during the meeting.

After the Rap session, Kristin comes and offers her assistance with the group project. Tom asks if Kristin has spray painted before and she assures Tom that she has definitely spray painted on some hacks at MIT. So she was given the task to paint the Dart and Tom is impressed that she knows the importance of shaking the bottle to properly mix the paint for about two minutes. Kristin eventually begins to paint as Tom watches in horror as a large amount of paint is sprayed onto the rocket all at once. Luckily, Kristin remedies the solution by spraying even more paint on just in case there wasn’t enough already. Just kidding Kristin, it wasn’t really all that bad. Tom, Ephraim, and Kristin all get a good laugh out of it though. Also, during the time that Kristin and Tom were painting, a weird guy drove by and stopped and watched them from his car from about 10 feet away. He then drove to the side of the Stud and continued to watch them from a distance. He then continued on to drive around the Stud and then stop 10 feet away and watch them again. Tom and Kristin were a little creeped out but manage to still continue working on the painting. Kristin also managed to lock herself out of her room. Kimberly was sound asleep and did not come to the door after Kristin tried loudly knocking and calling Kimberly on her cell phone. So since Kristin has nowhere to go she starts the trend of other people sleeping in Mehran’s bed.

Tuesday: July 22, 2008
Our usual late arrival to breakfast was a chilly experience as we huddled around a small table. Kristin and Ephraim discovered that they had their own personal mailstops in their branches that morning.

The NASA Plum Brook Station tour took the Academy members and the other Glenn interns away after less than three hours of work and lasted for the rest of the day. Everyone enjoyed the massive bumps in the roads around Plum Brook that sent the passengers onboard the big yellow school bus flying. The driver would have looked like the bus driver from the Simpsons if his hair was black. We ate our packed lunches upon arrival at the station, then viewed an introductory video explaining Plum Brook’s impressive and unique testing facilities. We received walking tours of the Space Power Facility and the B-2 Propulsion Research Facility. Towards the end, we asked our tour guide if we could use Plum Brook to launch our big balloon-based rocket test.  The ride back to Glenn on the school bus was…sleepy. And pictures of people while sleeping were taken. Kristin finally finished her stitching project! Onto the next thing…A resupply trip to Giant Eagle boosted everyone’s energy just in time for a fire alarm to go off and make everyone start doing cartwheels in public. Jay, Kristin, Kim, Sabrina and MaryBeth decided to go see Batman while Ephraim helped Tom conduct a covert operation in a dimly-lit parking lot near StudioPLUS. Their nerves were tested to the limit that night as they furtively searched for prying observers, ducked for cover whenever car headlights appeared, battled the bloodthirsty insects swirling around them, fought for air amidst the aerosol cloud created by the spray paint, and tried to avoid pointing the large military missile model at the large building in front of them. When they got back, they were glad to see that there was another fire alarm going off in StudioPLUS. At least the others weren’t there to suffer through it.

Wednesday: July 23, 2008
The group seemed small at breakfast on Wednesday with both Kim and Mehran missing from the Round Table. Wednesday is the first day that Kristin starts working on the dart launch pad with Jim. It was not finished that day but a good amount was accomplished. Mary Beth makes a lot of important phone calls about obtaining balloons and helium and Kimberly helps to ensure that the people who spent hundreds of dollars on purchasing things for the project are reimbursed. Wednesday for the most part was a relatively typical work day free of any presentations or speakers. Tom had a lunch date with OAI’s Laura Stacko. Jay had a photo-shoot of some of the building 301 electric propulsion facilities, courtesy of Ephraim, right before work ended that day. Tom and Ephraim made sure to yell at Mr. G-Wiz over the phone for not shipping the flight computer when they had promised on the way back to the hotel, and they also dragged Sabrina along with them to buy more spray paint at Wal-Mart.

Jay, Kristin, Tom, and Ephraim go for a run and Kimberly joins the group too! Hooray! Tom decided to run 4 miles that day amidst simultaneous showers and sunlight. Kristin demonstrated her amazing skills on how to handle sanding a rocket and Tom worked on his presentation for the next day. Sabrina talked with Tom about the electronics mount for the Arrow’s payload bay. After all the rocket sanding in the room and mixture of stress Tom had a hard time breathing. So with Mehran gone Tom decides to sleep in his bed to get some fresh air through the window.

Thursday: July 24, 2008
The cafeteria at breakfast was warmer than usual today. Tom gave a presentation with his branch. Consequently, he missed the morning talk by Lee Mason for the Glenn interns on space nuclear power systems, specifically radioisotope power systems and fission power systems such as the fission surface power system architecture for lunar habitats. However, he was able to make the lunch that followed, with Colonel Dave Kankam, Brigadier General Dr. Robert “Joe” Shaw, and, eventually, Major General Ramon Lugo, the Deputy Center Director himself. We discussed our assessments of our summer internship experiences and ways to improve it for future generations. In his rush to get to the lunch, Ephraim took his coworker’s lunch to building 49. Then to top it off with another act of sheer brilliance, he ate his coworker’s food, then used a similar lunch from Tom’s stockpile to appease the slighted party. Thanks, Tom.

MaryBeth and Tom went to pick up our 5.5-ft and 8-ft balloons for the Dart and Arrow launches. Kristin presented the finished Dart launch platform – what a beauty! Thanks to Jim for the professional work, though people started worrying about the platform’s sturdiness afterwards. After work, Tom, Kristin and Jay went running. There was supposed to be a 7pm meeting for the collage picture selection but due to the hectic schedule of the group project experiments, the meeting did not start until 9pm. Tom and Ephraim had gone shopping at Home Depot to get supplies for the larger Arrow launch pad, and MaryBeth had gone to get her phone fixed. Kim shared the tiramisu her mom sent with the group…it was really good. Thanks Kimberly, it was fantastic.

Meanwhile Jay, Kristin and Sabrina tried to walk over to the Michael’s store that doesn’t exist but found Jo-Ann Fabrics instead. They were on a mission to find a frame to construct the photo collage for Dr. Kankam. Sabrina found foam for the group project to mount the electronics in the rocket. Kristin found molding clay for the mass simulations for the Dart rocket, and she got a new stitch pattern.

Luckily for everyone, the fire alarm went off again.

Kimberly, Ephraim, Mary Beth and Tom look through the tons and tons of pictures selecting just about on average every 5th or 6th one. Of course when we got to Kimberly’s pictures we didn’t have any trouble skipping through them since she didn’t like having people in her pictures. Eventually Kimberly and Ephraim drop their right to vote on pictures and Mary Beth and Tom finish up looking through the pictures taken from Mehran’s camera, since they were the best.

Friday: July 25, 2008
Rotweilers and karaoke were discussed at breakfast on Friday. After the usual morning at work the Academyites returned from their lunch break to a treat: a talk with GRC Center Director Woodrow Whitlow.  The Academy and other Glenn interns spent an hour with Dr. Whitlow speaking frankly about different issues present in and around NASA.

Kristin and the Technician Jim finish the Arrow Launch Pad. We go to pick it up from Bldg 110 and then decide to ask Jim about getting some Helium. Kristin runs in and after 10 minutes she comes back out and says, "This might happen" and asks us to come in. Mary Beth runs in and Tom and Ephraim shortly join after parking the car. After a half hour of being not sure whether or not we would be able to get helium they finally decide to give us helium in a small tank. They do a quick calculation to figure how much pressure should be loaded into the tank to give us enough to fill the 5.5 foot diameter balloon. Unfortunately at this time none of us question the amount of helium and we end up paying for it later.

There was an Academy POW-WOW to address issues present within the group throughout the summer. All types of emotions appeared throughout the meeting, pain, anger, frustration, and yes…even some tears were shed. It was apparent now more than ever that we were living the Real World NASA. A lot of the issues addressed ended up being somehow linked back to a lack of communication and/or expression of feelings. After the meeting people had some dinner and relaxed a little bit since we didn’t have to go to work the next day.

Tom works on getting a few of the launch ignition systems ready for the dart balloon launch. Tom goes to pick up Mehran at the airport at 10:45 pm and arrives at 11:00 pm. Mehran is nowhere to be found and due to the hectic traffic around baggage pickup Tom has to loop around the terminal. After looping 3 more times around, Mehran finally gets out of the airport. Mehran is super excited to see Tom but keeps it bottled up inside and just maintains his cool as he and Tom do the NASA Glenn Academy 2008 Semi-Secret Handshake.

Mehran gets a piece of Tiramisu from Kimberly. He thinks that he must be special since he is the only one offered Tiramisu that night but ironically it is Tom that takes him down a couple of notches for a change. Tom tells Mehran that everyone had Tiramisu the night before and it was very good. Mehran is a little disappointed but continues to work on the construction of the Dart Launch Pad and getting it ready to go for the potential tethered launch on Saturday.

Saturday: July 26, 2008
After two hours of sleep, Tom woke up at 6:30am to get ready for the 7:00am departure for the Dart launches. However, the launch was cancelled due to lack of readiness and non-ideal weather visibility, allowing the Academyites the rare opportunity to sleep in. Tom woke up to find Ephraim taking pictures of him and Mehran sleeping. Tom is a little confused and, to make matters worse, Ephraim gives him a thumbs up, fueling the fiery furnace of confusion. Afterwards, Tom and Ephraim went to get the last supplies needed. A test of the wireless ignition system was immediately successful.

The Academy then went out to North Olmsted Community Park to conduct three “successful” ground launches of the Dart! They were successful in that engineering objectives like rocket stability, platform sturdiness and ignition system functioning were achieved – however, the A engines proved to be woefully underpowered for our heavily modified Dart rocket. We got boos from people standing by after our first launch going up about 20 feet and coming right back down. We removed some payload weight and the second launch was a bit better – the Dart crashed nose first into the ground and the charge blows out the parachute quite comically afterwards. We removed even more payload mass and launched a third time. The Dart went much higher but not high enough for the parachute to open at the right moment. As a result, after having a mini-celebration of the evening’s festivities with a meal at Great Wall Buffet, Tom, Mehran and Ephraim went to buy larger C engines for the Dart.