By Jon and Adam
Sunday July 12, 2009
The Glennterns awoke early Sunday with a need, a need… for speed. The roller coaster enthusiasts were comprised of all the Glennterns minus Harkirat, along with Jamie’s brother, Jack, Jon’s girlfriend, Kayt, and Adam’s brother, Brian. The group quickly piled into cars and headed to Cedar Point.
The group arrived in awe of the huge steel structures. Jon accidently ripped his ticket in half and thought for a scary moment that it might have been voided, but all was well. The group headed into the park. Adam and his brother immediately headed towards the Maverick. The rest of the group started toward the Millennium Force for Anup’s first roller coaster ever. The rest of the day was spent conquering all the coasters in the park. By the evening, the group had Maverick, Top Thrill Dragster, Gemini, Mantis, the Raptor, Skyhawk, Wicked Twister, and the Magnum all under their belts and with that then headed back to the Stud.
As the group drove home, a small radical faction of rabble rousers began a rebellion against that night’s agenda which was to watch The Right Stuff. After stopping at Wendy’s, a discussion took place on whether to watch The Right Stuff that night or Monday night. UN peacekeeping force Kristin Uhmeyer quelled the rebellion by promptly holding a shotgun to Harner’s face. The group eventually reached a decision and decided to have two-movie showing and the lounge would be split on the 38th parallel. That night, Brendan, Jon, Andrew A., Anup, and Kristin watched The Right Stuff as the rest scurried off to their respective activities.
Monday July 13, 2009
The group woke up for another week of work, continuing in the tradition (if not entirely spectacular) of toasts at breakfast with a toast so profound and life-changing that it was quickly forgotten. It was a standard day at work with the typical, nearly two-hour RAP session in the evening. After that, some of the group that had not seen the movie the day prior, split off to watch The Right Stuff while the rest busied themselves with other activities. Adam and Andrew A. hacked away at the project for a good hour or so, getting material details nailed down. Anup engaged in his own manner of cleaning up the area, removing an errant Pop-Tart. A small leak occurred and the interns scurried to clean it up, but still managed to find some time to sit back and relax before heading to bed.
Tuesday July 14, 2009
Tuesday was to be a busy day for the Glennterns, since they had a photography session, a forum on graduate school, and an evening speaker to attend. Donning their best, the Glennterns set off toward the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field.
Breakfast in the Glenn Cafe for the Stars was spent voting on the second inductee class for the Wall of Fame. The election was close, but in a landslide victory, Chuck Yeager was the top vote to the Wall of Fame. Without a morning toast, the Glennterns wandered off to their various laboratories to carry out the science of the day.
That afternoon, the Glennterns attended a forum on graduate school. The panelists talked about their different routes towards obtaining their PhDs and what they thought was the merits of the different approaches. After the forum, all the interns headed outside for some group photos. The Glenn Academy looked sharp, some even wearing three-piece suits.
After work, Jamie’s mentor, Angela Harrivel, gave an evening lecture on imaging the brain functions of pilots. Anup, MC for the day, procured some of Joe’s Deli’s fine cuisine and Harrivel ate a turkey sandwich. Harrivel gave a fantastic lecture on her research and the progress she has made thus far on the project. She was able to generate a plethora of questions on both the engineering involved in her imaging device and the brain mapping results she has obtained thus far.
Wednesday July 15, 2009
The Glennterns woke up in the morning and crammed two cars full of luggage and people and couldn’t wait to start the day because this was the day they were going to California! They were so excited that they made the morning toast to the trip (Richter Scale Rating: 9.4). It was a short day at work all-in-all, because the group had to leave early to make their flight. They made it to the airport and through security without problems and got on the flight to find that they were mostly split up throughout the plane, including one unfortunate Adam wedged in the middle seat between two strangers. Our heroes managed to survive the five-hour flight, though, with Brendan and Anup entertaining the entire back section of the plane with their enthusiastic conversations.
After getting to LAX after only about two “hours” had elapsed, the group met up with Dr. Kankam and Marshall’s own staffer Ron Turba, and chatted until the rental cars came around. The group made it to the hotel and checked in. After the long trip, they were craving some food that wasn’t in the form of shrink-wrapped chicken sandwiches on the flight and decided to go to the legendary In-And-Out Burger. Meeting up with Kristin’s friend Melissa and Brendan’s friend Julia, the group made their way to the little drive-through and had themselves some pretty good burgers and fries.
Even with the time difference, the group wasn’t quite ready to go to bed yet, and headed out for some Pasadena nightlife. Despite several inquiries from Adam as to what they would be doing there falling on deaf ears, the group went to Barney’s Beanery. Adam, Harkirat, and Andrew A. decided to wander about town and had a grand old time. Everyone headed back to the hotel in anticipation of meeting Marshall and Ames the next morning.
Thursday July 16, 2009
The Glennterns awoke to a beautiful sunrise in Pasadena, CA. They packed up the cars and headed to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a day of touring. Each of the three Academies, Glenn, Ames, and Marshal, arrived to an impromptu meet and greet in the JPL lobby. The various Academyites first discussed individual research, group projects, home states, and undergraduate majors as they awaited their badges and admission to JPL. The introduction to the campus comprised a pretty epic preview and an awesome PowerPoint of all JPL’s current projects. After the presentation the group went to start tours of JPL’s facilities.
At JPL, the group toured the Mar’s Rover meeting room, the JPL museum, a mock-up Mars surface lab, the cafeteria, and the Free Spirit Facility. Needless to say, it was awesome. Between the full-scale Cassini model in the museum, the ATHLETE robot in the Mars yard, and the upscale cafeteria, the Academyites were highly impressed with JPL. As the afternoon wore on, and the sun beat down on the interns necks, the group ended their tour and headed toward Lancaster, CA.
In Lancaster, the group unpacked and readied themselves the evening. Andrew H. and Brendan went for a run, Anup and Jon also went for a run, and Kristin and Dr. Kankam went to dinner with the other staffers and directors. Andrew H. and Brendan’s run was a success, but Anup and Jon decided that running in the desert was maybe not the best idea. Eventually, the whole group made it to Johnny’s Italian Restaurant for some tasty treats and more inter-academy bonding.
After dinner, Ames and Glenn returned to the hotel in hopes of hosting a pool party, which did not quite materialize, but the group did have fun anyway. It was a successful evening and the group retired to the sanctuary of their own rooms.
Friday July 17, 2009
The Academies got up bright and early in the morning to head out to a NASA hangar housing some big planes and Dryden Flight Research Center. Their tour, with the Marshall Robotics group, got to see the hangar that sometimes doubles as a movie set and two planes, including the SOFIA, which had a massive telescope mounted in it. After that, the four Academies drove into the heart of the desert to Edwards Air Force Base/Dryden Flight Research Center. With planes like the SR-71 just lying about the place, the base had a very cool aesthetic, but since they were located on the surface of the sun, the group hurried into the air-conditioned buildings for some lunch and an intro presentation.
Everyone toured Dryden, leapfrogging between air-conditioned hangars and buildings so that no one would become overwhelmed by the heat. The Glennterns enjoyed the flight simulator, the F/A-18 hanger, the Global Hawk and the modified Predator and materials testing talk. Afterwards, they went to the gift shop for souvenirs.
Dinner consisted of Marie Callender’s with the Ames folks. The Glennterns split off afterwards, managing to catch the tail end of a small town festival featuring fire-dancers. They were looking forward to karaoke with the other groups, but it didn’t quite happen; the place was too crowded. Kristin, Andrew A., and Adam went back to the hotel to sleep, and the rest of the group did some stargazing.
Saturday July 18, 2009
The Cali trip had an exciting Saturday as the Glennterns toured SpaceX, sat in on a space career panel discussion, and had a great time at the Alumni Dinner in Santa Monica. The day started at SpaceX where the group was exposed to the awesome power that is Elon Musk. It was pretty cool to see stages of the Falcon rockets and some of the prototype Dragon Capsules right there. Despite long work hours, it was pretty clear a career at SpaceX was now in the sights of each intern on the tour.
After SpaceX, the group made a quick stop for Thai food before driving to UCLA for a panel discussion. The group arrived at UCLA for an Alumni Panel and was greeted by several academy alumni along with Jenni Kissinger, the NASA Academy Alumni Association president. The panel was composed of several academy alumni and some friends of alumni. From JPL to start-ups to the XPrize Foundation, their careers were awesome. After the talk, the Glennterns quickly left to check into their hostel and head over to a reception dinner at Yankee Doodles with even more Academy Alumni.
At Yankee Doodles the Glennterns intermingled with the Alumni and other academies. Harner played some pool with the Marshall staffer, Jon and Jamie destroyed the Ames reigning champions of Foosball, Brendan worked his networking magic, Kristin and Jay reminisced over an Academy that once was, and Anup tried to figure out how to become the X-Prize guy. A fun time was had by all and as the party ended, the Glennterns and the Ames Academy headed for the Santa Monica beach to watch the sunset.
The group wandered toward the beach and attempted some of the carnival games on the pier. The group eventually migrated up towards 3rd Street. The group returned to Yankee Doodles. After enjoying spending some more time with the Alums and Ames, they left at closing time to a rousing chorus of Semisonic’s “Closing Time,” and gave their Ames Academy counterparts a hearty hug goodbye. The group made it back to the hostel and headed to bed, leaving packing for the following morning.