Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Expanding the Outpost

Well, folks, the Orbiter undocked successfully this morning and that ends the 13A mission for the ISS team. Of course, we are waiting in anticipation of the the safe landing of Atlantis on Thursday, but we have to continue with our 24/7 operations and planning, as well as some recuperating from the past two weeks. Due to the difficulties encountered this mission, this doesn't just include us folks that supported console operations, but our team members back in the office, who were supporting 24/7 meetings, brainstorming to come up with ideas, so that we on console could do our jobs. A big thanks to them!

Oh, and I have rejoined the world of the living... :)...for those of you who thought I had dropped off the face of the planet.

There are going to be lots of amazing pictures of ISS floating around, but let me start off with one that my branch chief sent out, as well as some words from one of our Flight Directors.

Congratulations to the 13A/STS-117 team – Not just the real time execute teams, but the ‘Team 4’ support, SPAN, the Program and Engineering teams and everyone else who stepped up to help out.

With the undocking this morning of STS-117 from the ISS, we have completed one of the most amazing demonstrations of team effort that the Programs have seen in recent memory. The mission objectives were accomplished, and then some. The Station is one step further along to final configuration. But beyond the measurable objectives, the joint Station and shuttle team, and the international ISS team, have elevated their team efforts to an unprecedented level.

What was more important, though, was the way the entire community stepped up to this challenge. Over the next several days the whole NASA team, and the ISS partners, engaged in a magnificent exhibition of teamwork, technical competence, and old-fashioned determination to work through the options and resolve the problems. We demonstrated the best of what we value as Mission Operations Directorate (MOD)– Teamwork; Discipline; Toughness. And it wasn’t confined to the MOD team, or the station or the shuttle teams.

Every member of this community engaged with whatever they could bring to the table. The Engineering and Program Office communities were fully engaged and the level of cooperation was exceptional. The RIO and HSG teams played a crucial role in helping us engage with our Russian partners, whose willingness to work with us for a solution was remarkable. Offers of assistance came in from around the Agency, and many former NASA and MOD team members came back from their new positions to add whatever they could.

Every member of the team performed in an exemplary manner, and each of you can be justifiably proud of the job you did. Significant personal sacrifices were made in many cases and the hours were long. Gladly, the outcome was positive and much of the ‘what if’ work was never put into play. But that does not diminish the fact that we stepped up to those challenges as a team we and were prepared to respond to any contingency.
This is the stuff of which NASA’s legacy is made. These are the characteristics and values that made our reputation…and ensure our future.

Congratulations – to the ENTIRE TEAM - on a job well done!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Russian Computers

So, if you aren't on my Space Geek Central distribution list, you may not know that we are having some very serious problems on board the space station. All of the Russian computers have failed and the system that my group takes care of (Attitude Determination and Control) is very dependent on these computers. There is really too much to tell, so reference this article, it has a really good summary...and leave a comment if you want to be added to my distro list.


I am now going to go read something non-space related so that my brain can rest and I won't dream of work for the third day in a row.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Proud Auntie!

My nephew, John Michael, just cut his first tooth! He'll be 6 months on the 17th. I can't wait to see him again!

Mommy Monica feeding John Michael cereal while Grandpa Mark watches.
He's just soooo cute!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Dragons and Blueberries

So I finally relented to the request of my friends, Laura and Kristen, and joined them and Houston Heat (that's the team, not a description of the current weather) out on the lovely brown waters of Clear Lake (really the bay, not a lake) for an adventure in Dragon Boating. Wondering what that is? Well, since I didn't take my camera (Melissa+camera+large body of water=...seriously?), here's a picture from Houston Heat's site:

It's basically a long boat with 20 people in it sitting side by side, paddling at the same time. What's interesting is that the way you paddle is completely different from canoeing or kayaking. You use your back (leaning forward when you put the blade of the paddle into the water and sitting up for the stroke- a technicality I struggled with). Judging from the loud protesting of my lower back and um, posterior, today, I must have done it it right at some point... I had fun. I am going to try it again after the mission and see if it warrants paying the membership fee. The practices are every Saturday and since I didn't even buy season Dynamo tickets because I knew I am never in town...well see.

Next it was on to Moorhead farms, north of The Woodlands (south of Conroe) for some blueberry picking. My friend Pam and I have been planning this for oh...since last year. The only time that worked for both our schedules was yesterday at about 2pm.

Yep, that's right...standing on a muggy Texas blueberry field during the hottest part of the day frantically trying to fill a 4 gallon bucket with berries to rationalize the 1hr+ drive to the farm before we melt or die of heat stroke.

I pulled the wuss card first and called it quits...with 7.04 lbs of blueberries to my name. Pam beat me with having picked a little over 8 (it's that medical school efficiency I tell you!). Anyways, I am excited to make all sorts of blueberry goodness goodies.

The bags are getting frozen...the bowl contains endless possibilities of baking experiments...
My friend Lisa and I are planning on going blackberry picking as well. Hmm...my freezer is groaning at the hinges. 3 lbs of strawberries (Walmart had a sale), 7lbs of blueberries...and now blackberries? I wonder if they make TARDIS freezers? (For those who have been British science fiction deprived, that's a Dr. Who reference for you- old school, not the new one)