National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Week 1

Sunday June 5, 2011

It was day 1 at the marvelous Studio Plus Hotel and Suites and all the fresh academites were arriving and preparing for the epic summer that would be the Academy. Who knows what will go on, but the cameras will be rolling.

Andrew awoke to prepare to pick up Mike N. and Michelle from the airport. Luckily, they were on the same plane so two birds were killed with one stone. As they passed Glenn research center they stuck their noses against the window in awe at the marvelous and mysterious land that somehow helps propel men to space. They arrived at the hotel and with no major incident got the first two settled in their rooms. Next was an afternoon flight for Molly and Daphne (Molly’s cat). Luckily they were on the same plane so two birds were killed with one stone. So there were 3 in by plane with no delays to speak of and the guys who drove started to file in as well. Michael B. and Mike J. were checking out their new digs and settling in. It was going to be super confusing with all the Michaels running around, but we will persevere. Logan also arrived via vehicle and by 6 o’clock, Andrew was heading to the airport to pick up the last two, David and Cameron. Surprisingly the group was 8 for 8 on travel with no major flight delays and smooth pick-ups.

The academites then headed out for dinner at the Harry Buffalo for the most awkward get together of the summer. Andrew decided to take the longest way possible to get there, but when they arrived they were rewarded with some solid bison meat and pretty standard conversation. They took a shorter route back to the hotel and hung out and played some spoons to kill some time before bed. In the finale, it was decided to hide the last spoon to make it more of a skill game, but Andrew was far too clever and immediately saw the spoon under the phone.

It was a grand day, but had to end as a 6 a.m. wake up would be early the next morning.

Monday June 6, 2011

Everybody woke early and was bright-eyed and bushy tailed for work the next morning. The orientation was a long but necessary process where safety and general procedures were explained. Plus there was free breakfast. The badging process was not too painful, but quite a pleasant 5 second photo shoot. After orientation, lunch was had with PIs at the Glenn cafeteria, and then each academite went off with their respective PI to get cracking. The world was changed in that 3 and a half hours, I’m sure, but Andrew had to pull them away at 4:00 to do the Academy orientation. Andrew and Armando wowed the two academies with their irresistible presentation style and great jokes. After the presentation, the work day was over and the group headed back to change clothes and head for their first shopping trip. Everybody got some supplies at Walmart and Giant Eagle, with the girls proving to be much more efficient shoppers. The RAP session was held that evening in a bit of a rush as Andrew had his second final from school that night at 10 PM (not fun). It was long and pretty boring, thus details will not be mentioned here.

Tuesday June 7, 2011

Tuesday morning started with breakfast meal
A riveting vid of construction was played
At first, int’resting, not knowing the deal
But now my interest has began to fade.

A day with PIs researching and such,
Everyone working their hands to the bone,
All were working so very very much
Their skills in research each day they will hone.

The evening was filled with group project work
Debating and planning a task to take
Andrew took his test which drove him berserk
And then told balloon stories which weren’t fake

Microg and balloons and some cool stuff,
Make sure your altitude is high enough.

Wednesday June 8, 2011

Not only was it hump day, but we also had a special day for our most senior academite Mr. Michael Johnston, for it was his 27th birthday. Work was fun as per usual and everybody was able to meet up in the café for lunch. At said lunch the group sang aloud and off key version of happy birthday to Mike. He was a bit embarrassed. At the culmination of the work day, we still were having trouble getting everyone out of the base. Thankfully, we figured it out and got back to the hotel.

Immediately upon returning to the hotel, the celebration of Mike’s 27th successful orbit of the sun began. The group then headed out to Melt, a local eating hotspot that offers a five pound grilled cheese platters. Another intern named Harry came to meet the academites and they sat to gorge themselves with huge sandwiches and tasty fries. The Boston Bruins were playing the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the TV we were watching on must have been from a fun house as it bent the images. After eating at least an entire farm of animal between them, they headed back toward good ol North Olmsted to get to Harry Buffalo to watch the end of the game. But before heading out, Mike got some birthday cake courtesy of a wonderful bakery in the local Giant Eagle. Boston somehow won the game, cheating as they played. At the conclusion, everyone was quite tired and headed back for some shut eye.

Before going to bed though, Room Alpha (Mike N., Mike J., and Logan) stayed up and found nicknames for the group so the three-Michael thing would be a little easier. Your work is of noble cause boys, and we thank you for it.

Thursday June 9, 2011

Everyone seemed a little sluggish on Thursday morning with a little less sleep and getting adjusted to the new morning lifestyle. It was quite a stormy morning and David was thankful he was not going to have to walk to lunch. Thursday seemed to be quite a regular day at work with some good hard researching with PIs.

After work there was an inter-Academy football game. The two groups drove down to the metro park to the slickest field on the planet. It was decided that we would play aero vs. space. The game began with a one-play, 80-yard touchdown on a beautiful throw from Mike J., and the route was on. The Space Academy was a defensive juggernaut with David clogging the middle of the field and making diving plays and interceptions. The safeties were deflecting and intercepting balls left and right and the aeronauts were at a loss for what to do. If I couldn’t count I would say that the Space Academy won, but who knows. One thing is for sure, we are not quarterbacks.

After some rushed showers and shoveled down food, Dr. Tom Benson [link to your new article] came to speak to the group. Dr. Benson is quite a character and really liked talking to us. He gave us some memorable insights for the next 3 hours and really had done just about everything possible. Some cake and extra conversation was had and then everyone got some much needed sleep.

Friday June 10, 2011

It was Friday, Friday so everyone was getting down on Friday. Michael B. looked into Andrew’s car and wondered whether he should kick it in the front seat or chill it in the back seat. Which seat should he take? Logan, in a brash move went for an omelet at breakfast. We were all proud, since he had been plotting this breakfast since Tuesday.

The day of work was full of surprises such as lunch and this crazy construction video in the cafeteria. By this time, all were well into their respective group project, getting some advice from their PIs as to what they would be working on and how they would get it accomplished. It was really going to be a challenging and exciting summer of work with some of NASA’s best. They turned in their project proposals and were on their way to solid research.

Their attention then turned to group project. One project seemed to get much more dialog than any other idea, and that was using a high altitude weather balloon for microgravity research. The balloon would pop at an altitude very high so that it would free fall for a long time, thus creating a microgravity environment for the payload attached during decent. This will be a very interesting project with many scientific applications and engineering challenges. A lot of planning and research to come so stay tuned.

That evening Andrew headed home for a wedding, and the rest of the group convened with their aero counterparts to have an intra-Academy mixer. The “spacies” and “aeronauts” talked and laughed together, looking forward to the summer ahead. Honestly, it was a good night had by all and a great way to unwind at the end of the week.

Saturday June 11, 2011

At noon on Saturday, slightly bleary-eyed still from the catch up on sleep, the Academy set off to the hotel lobby to meet with Armando to receive their assignment for the day. They were tasked with driving all over Cleveland and finding random stuff to take pictures in front of or with random strangers. The two groups were Mike J, Michael B, Michelle and David with guest star Armando against Logan, Mike N., Molly, and Cameron. Throughout the day a bunch of fun stuff happened, and everyone was at least slightly embarrassed at some point. Group 2 had the hardest time finding a certain waterfall and bridge in the metropark and were sent 10 miles away by a park ranger. They thought they were in the right place but realized they weren’t after Molly waded halfway across the river. A stranger jumped in a shopping cart with group two and people pyramids were constructed. The groups didn’t see any horse-and-buggies (only a picture), but they did find a couple rare cars and a lot of the other groups,apparently. Like good academites both groups put on their detective hats and found the hardest picture through good old fashioned research. Parking in the city was a bit rough because of a Brad Paisley concert, but they did manage to get a picture of a (relatively) famous person Walker Hayes. They laughed, they cried, but in the end they had some good times stuck in a car together. Everyone thankfully made it on time to the Hard Rock Café for some scrumptious intra Academy dinner and then they dispersed back to the hotel for a nice quiet evening.