National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Week 4

Monday, June 24

The week kicked off with a morning lecture on the future of fusion power, by Dr. Jason Cassibry of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Coincidentally, the meeting was held in the Administration Building auditorium. Despite being sleep-deprived from yet another epic weekend, Space Team, a.k.a. Team Space, remained wide awake and attentive to each of the one hundred and eleventeen slides, and not a single head nodded. Afterwards, Team Venus and Team Bio Scan returned to the blissful chill of their offices, while Team Robot in the Basement fell into the “fiery” confines of their air condition-less server room.

After work, Chris and Nathan rolled the dice on “half-price sushi” at a nearby eatery, somehow defying the odds and surviving the experience. The evening concluded with group project work and a cantankerous RAP session, during which the team was forced to eat Jacob’s minstrels…and there was much rejoicing.

Tuesday, June 25

The morning sped swiftly by, with mentors and mentees delving into their respective projects. Noon arrived all too soon, at which time Denise, Nikhil, Nathan, and Chris attended a lunch-long lecture on Systems Engineering and the wonders of spreadsheeting. In the afternoon, Team Space returned to the distant Building 3 for another talk, providing an overview of Glenn Research Center and its various branches.

That evening, some members of Team Space tested the bonds of their friendship in a game of Settlers of Catan, and found the bonds somewhat wanting. After a long, heated, and entirely non-violent battle (at least on the game board), victory was stolen from the rightful champion due to some back-room bribery involving Chipotle.

Wednesday, June 26

After a hard morning of work, there was a slow migration toward the picnic grounds for the second Brown Bag Lunch. During the explanation for this new obstacle icebreaker, Team Space also learned about Jacob’s secret alter ego, Elon Musk. Despite the fact that there are no elevators in that area, we spent our time coming up with pitches to use inside them. Why? Well, Kyle and Jacob had their reasons…

That evening we had an amazing, down-to-earth lecture from Tom Benson, covering not just simple advertising for NASA, but also, the real challenges and motivations involved in working there (or for any influential engineering company). He expressed a real desire to see us change the world.

Thursday, June 27

A most vicious thunderstorm drenched the city and, by morning, the streets of North Olmsted were overrun by the deluge. Nathan, scouting ahead, discovered a bitter warning. It read, “The way is shut. It was made by those who are Dead, and the Dead keep it…actually, a tree fell over and you’ll have to go ‘round the other way.”

Having safely navigated to Glenn, Team Prototype plus Nathan met with former World Wrestling Foundation champion, Mike “The Wild Man” Krasowski, to deliberate over the fate of MADI and consider the future of the Empire. Plans were set for a robotic swim meet and the least interesting part of the instrument package was scrapped.

Thursday was also Christmas-in-almost-July, as the parts for the group project started coming in. Eagerly opening boxes and plugging in cables, Team Electronics used their impressive skills to quickly get some basic output from the camera and sensors, while, equally as skilled, Team Electronics-1 tuned in to NASA TV to watch the launch of IRIS in California, or else quietly went to bed.

Friday, June 28

At noon the Communications, Dynamics and Controls Division had a lunch. Team Robot members were the only ones invited, but that didn’t stop a few other Academites from stopping in (under the pretext of giving them a ride) and lifting a few hot dogs and cookies from the tables.

Appetites newly sated, the group came together for the weekly meeting in Building 49. We spent our time putting the finishing touches on the project. The group meeting was cut short for the most anticipated moment of the week—a video conference call with some NASA Academy alums at Virgin Galactic! Team SpaceAero used their superior elevator pitches to make a great impression (thanks Jacob and Kyle), and we all benefited from hearing some of our best questions answered by the engineers at Virgin Galactic.

To kick off the weekend that evening, Team SpaceAero waited for Jacob to scout things out, then piled into a few cars and, literally, sped to Melt, the cheesiest restaurant imaginable. It lived up to its reputation, with the most over-the-top grilled cheese some of us had ever experienced. Later that evening, Denise and Elizabeth (along with Nomita and Rebecca from Aero and, for some reason, Chris) had a ladies-only movie night.

Saturday, June 29

Lommy Jacob called Team Space together at 10:30 AM to plan the day and get out on the road. He then demonstrated his brilliant leadership ability by changing the meeting time to noon…after no one bothered to show up. Once wrangled into formation, however, Team Space proceeded to the Cleveland waterfront and the Great Lakes Science Center, where they were greeted by throngs of outrageously costumed Space Academy fans. Alongside Team Aero, they then ran around like merry children, sciencing sciencey whatzits and thingemabobs, and wishing for hand sanitizer. Dave, Nathan and Elizabeth witnessed an explosive display of Mentos and dry ice fueled, yet poorly planned, outreach, while Kier bravely attended to an urgent moment of escalator gymnastics gone awry.

As if that weren’t enough for one day, a subset of Team SpaceAero, led by two-time Olympic bronze medalists, Denise and Kier, attended an old-timey swing dance in East Cleveland. The locals were generous with their instructions and patience, but Team Lindy Hop ignored them and simply spun each other around until they were all dizzy and asked, politely, to leave.

Sunday, June 30

Sunday saw some amidst our syndicate of sullen, surly scholars solicitously seeking sanguine solitude and serene silence. Striving to stay the solemn, sallow sword of sameness, certain others, self-selected, sought the soulful satisfaction of slaying spectral Settler soldiers, sadly stymied since some seemed sick.