Monday, July 12
After a weekend of family adventures, the Glennterns settled back into their routine of things. Back to work with $4 breakfast tickets to make their mornings bright. They completed their power point presentations they were to give on Wednesday and emailed them to the powers that be, each one escaping the evening deadline.
That evening, the Glennterns convened in the sacred conference room to detail the plans of the coming week. CALIFORNIA! There was talk of how to get a large stuffed gorilla on a plane, but ultimately the idea was deemed infeasible in the current orange-ish state of the airports according to Homeland Security. The project meeting began as Ron so graciously lead. Chelsey showed off the goodies she had procured for outreach which included a shuttle glider which, like the real shuttle, flew about as well as a block with some wings. The Glennterns shared their ideas for module needs and began looking into the design stages of each capsule.
When a misplaced parking ticket was brought up by Ryan, Ron decided to call the young and lovely Katie of the Goddard Academy to take care of it. It was late when the Glennterns departed from the meeting to seek refuge under their designer bee comforters. They all slept soundly while visions of JPL and SpaceX danced about in their heads.
Tuesday, July 13
Tuesday was almost another typical day at work for the intrepid Glennterns. As usual, everyone gathered at 7:15 in the lobby of the prison to head out to work, hoping against hope to avoid the Happy People lady at the front desk. No one succeeded, however, and the grating sound of hyper-cheerfulness was thrust upon the Academites yet again. Breakfast was the usual talk of oil, Lebron James, and the day ahead.
The day was almost typical, but not quite. In the afternoon, the crew of the just arrived STS-132 mission showed up at Glenn for a mission briefing! The most of the Glennterns attended eagerly. The five astronauts that attended turned out be a hilarious bunch, and there was significant envy all around as they showed pictures and videos of their voyage to the ISS. The most striking clips were of a “YEEEE-HAAAAWWWW” on the internal comm during ascent and a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos on station with M&Ms. The astronauts finished off their session with a QA period during which Ron redubbed one of the crew “LeBueno,” a nickname which apparently stuck. Additionally, everyone was relieved to see that the astronauts knew how to deal with Question Guy, stopping him before he fully asked his seven-part question (the third, fifth, and sixth questions were coupled of course).
That afternoon, the Academites headed to the Student/Faculty picnic at Glenn’s picnic grounds. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to meet and greet other interns around Glenn, including one who, unbeknownst to the Glennterns, was also an inmate at the NASA Academy Maximum Security Prison. With promises to hang out later, everyone headed out.
After the workday, the Glennterns returned to their palace to get ready for the upcoming trip to California. Chelsey, Adam, Kylee, and Nathan headed to Target to pick up some much-needed travel supplies, and Chelsey apparently stopped at Walmart later for shoe-laces. The day finished, the Glennterns headed to bed, excited for their adventure the next day!
Wednesday, July 14
Two things stood in the way of the Glennterns and Southern California: the GRC version of “french toast,” and Mid-term presentations. Both were not without their struggles. Their will was bent as they struggled to keep their eyelids in an open position during the presentations by other interns. The Glennterns impressed as they individually presented their work first, each a stunning use of 11 minutes. From lunar regolith, to solar cells and bio fuels, knowledge filled the room.
By 3:10, the Glennterns had assembled with luggage outside of the Hanger to ride to the airport. All the Glennterns got through security with relative ease, including Kylee who was stopped for a random screening. No one was surprised as she does look quite intimidating. Straight to LAX, the interns flew. Spread out randomly over the large airliner, none of the interns felt the need to part with $6 to watch in-flight direct TV. Five hours later, the interns had their feet back on solid ground, claimed their baggage, and received a large white unmarked van. After 8 engineers and one physicist failed to figure out how to lower the back seat for the easy stow of luggage, it was determined that it could only be removed which was not an option.
The drive to Pasadena was short, the hotel was nice, and the Glennterns were tired. It was late back in their Cleveland summer home! After some stopped and ate some more recognizable French toast at Denny’s, much sleep was had by all.
Thursday, July 15
Thursday was the Glenntern’s first full day in sunny California. After getting to sleep in a bit and eat breakfast for free at the hotel, everyone headed over to JPL for the event of the day. Badging at the Lab consisted of getting a pretty sticker to wear, and then the Academites from Glenn, Marshall, and Ames were off! The first stop of the day consisted of seeing the newly finished Flight Projects Center to learn about the lab’s history and mission (and the video was narrated by Harrison Ford, no less). Afterwards, everyone headed over to see such interesting attractions as the spacecraft operations center, the vehicle assembly building (and Mars Science Laboratory!) and ATHLETE, the six-legged wheeled mobility system of the future. Lunch was held at JPL’s 190 Cafeteria, and to no one’s surprise, was significantly better than anything at Glenn. Soon enough, however, the tour was over and the Glenntern’s headed out, some wishfully hoping for jobs there later in life.
After JPL, the crew got back on the road to head to Palmdale, Calfiornia. Palmdale is located very near the Middle of Nowhere everyone soon found out, though judging by the surrounding desert, it gets worse. The Glennterns met up with the Robotics Academy from Marshall after reaching the hotel (which was fantastic hint hint) to go swimming and hang out in the hot tub. Afterwards, Ron, Ryan, Nathan, Kylee, Chelsey, and Adam went in search of food. The former two headed to In-And-Out burger while the others attempted to find food. This was ultimately doomed to fail, as the four Glennterns hit up four straight restaurants only to find that they were closed or closing. After walking around Palmdale for an hour, it was decided that Del Taco was the only open food joint in a fifty mile radius and the group headed there. This proved to be a bad decision, and Del Taco was declared “four times worse than Taco Bell.” Disgusted by their food for the evening, everyone went to bed, eager to visit Edwards Air Force Base and Dryden Flight Research Center the next day.
Friday, July 16
What do you get when you combine 120 degree weather, really cool planes, a desert, some guys in army fatigues, an air conditioned school bus, a bitter (and pun-ny) tour guide and 9 NASA Glennterns? A really great day!
The interns drove from Palmdale into the desert surrounded by the gorgeous mountains, inexplicably strange strata (reminiscent of the Vulcan planet), and houses starting in the 400s. Once there was no question as to whether they were out in the middle of nowhere, Edwards Air Force Base came into view. Joining a tour of local AIAA members, the Glennterns entered the flight line to gaze upon F-14s, F-22s, Global Hawks, and even an F-35! After a tour of the flight school, the Glennterns ate lunch at NASA Dryden and raided the gift shop for shirts, pins, decals, and key chains.
Extra special treats after lunch included sitting in the control room of the F35, touring the flight observations room where they oversee missions on base, and the foam filled Benefield Anechoic Facility where Nathan found two suspicious looking spiders and no longer had a desire to jump into the foam.
After the tour, the Glennterns drove to Santa Monica to meet up with all the other Academites. Ryan got extra lucky and chatted with no less than five potential girl friends. He quickly became gigglier than Kylee, which is quite a feat. Unfortunately, someone from Marshall told our young Nathan to leave due to his age and the bars policy. Ryan, Kylee, Chelsea, and Adam left with Nathan and boxed up food in search of the hostel in which they would reside for the night. 24 blocks and multiple bathroom breaks later, they met the other Glennterns who had been to the pier, and found the place they would be staying for the night. All 9 Glennterns would be staying in one room full of bunk beds! Super fun! Nathan, Kylee, Chelsea, and Ryan found the dining hall full of hippies, creeps, and international college students and were nonplussed. They ate their food with vigor, brushed their teeth, enjoyed the wifi, and drifted off to sleep safe and sound all together.
Saturday, July 17
Saturday morning, the Glennterns eagerly arose for much excitement. Staying in the hostel the night prior was a unique experience for many and the gang was ready to get back on the road again. ON today’s agenda was a visit to the corporate headquarters of SpaceX, located in Hawthorne, California. The Academites joined the groups from Ames and Marshall for the tour, which proved to be totally awesome. Everyone got to see the SpaceX shop floor, where various components for the Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles were being fabricated and assembled. Very cool! Afterwards, the Glennterns got to speak with a few recruiters from the company, discussing what the organization was looking for and who to contact for what. Business cards were instantly valuable and resumes began flying fast. It was ultimately a good morning! (And doubly so, because they handed out Falcon 9 stickers!)
After the SpaceX tour, the Glennterns decided to walk the Hollywood Boulevard to see the Hollywood stars. Famous names were all over the place, including Brittney Spears (boo), Arnold (no last name needed), and R2D2 (beep boop boop beep). Of course, the top names on the list to see in stars were those of the Apollo 11 astronauts. It was nice to know Hollywood was finally good for something.
Afterwards, the Academites decided to kill time by getting lost in Beverly Hills. This turned out to be a great adventure as Paparonzzi drove our van up and down the hills of SoCal. Kylee remarked during the adventure that we should write “free candy” on the side of the vehicle, because driving a big white unmarked van in a residential neighborhood is not suspicious enough. Everyone got to see massive houses, expensive clothing shops no normal American can afford, and lots and lots of heavily watered grass.
After extracting themselves from the maze that is Beverly Hills, the Glennterns went to the Outback Steak House to max out the per diem that NASA provided for the trip. Thank you, taxpayers! Ron royally overshot his allotted amount for dinner, but everyone else seemed to be staying mostly within the lines. Adam finally got his cheesecake, and Robyn discovered that tossing big chunks of cinnamon cereal things in a bowl of ice cream does not, in fact, taste good.
Content, the interns headed back to the airport for their trip back to Cleveland. It was late at night, but at least there would be time to sleep on the plane. The lack of free Wi-Fi at LAX was bloody annoying, however, as it made writing this summary that much more difficult without Google’s spell-check. After a hop to Houston’s airport, the crew jumped on another plane to Cleveland, and that ended a fantastic weekend in the dry, hot, and awesome land of southern California.
Sunday, July 18
The tired Glennterns were met with the sun and plenty of well-rested people at the Cleveland Airport. All felt important as the NASA van picked them up to take them back to base where they would load the cars and return to Homestead. It would have all gone much smoother if Ryan hadn’t somehow misplaced his badge. Sleep was had, and had, and had. Some went grocery shopping, some did laundry, some ate, some watched movies and some slept even more. A lazy ending to a perfect weekend.