|Posted on Sep 09, 2008 04:37:27 PM | Lori Tyahla | 51 Comments ||
One question I’ve gotten asked by a few folks who read this blog is why I always sign off with "dream big". I think NASA, collectively, is a group of folks who aren’t afraid to think--and dream--big. Put a man on the moon? Sure, we can do it. Land a rover on Mars? You got it. I think this closing fits the collective theme of what NASA stands for pretty well—but on a more personal level, my involvement in HST has really allowed me to interact with folks who embrace this philosophy on a daily basis. To say that this has been incredibly rewarding and beneficial to me as a young engineer would honestly be a great understatement.
Personally, I was about 9 when I figured out that I wanted to “dream big” and become an engineer when I grew up. More specifically, I decided on aerospace engineering sitting in a movie theatre watching Apollo 13 to celebrate my 11th birthday. I can even go as far as to tell you what scene in the movie (the one where the engineers in mission control are trouble-shooting the air filtration system) led to this decision. It may sound cheesy, but that movie changed my life. Fast forward 13 years and here I am—a "rookie" at Kennedy Space Center providing launch site support for STS-125. Living my dream? You bet; and if I ever doubted it, the last few weeks have really helped to drive the point home.
We’re about a month out from launch right now, so we’re starting to hit some major milestones—from final system walk-downs (that’s NASA-speak for inspections), to the shuttle rolling out to the launch pad. It’s almost like watching a complex, choreographed dance. Every member of the team has a specific task that they need to complete in order for us to launch safely and on time. The amount of team work required—and frequently displayed—is downright amazing. There truly are no "loners" here.
Because so many things need to happen between now and our launch date, a lot of integration work actually follows a parallel schedule instead of happening in line one right after the other. Right now, the carrier teams are getting ready for what we call "canister ops" — this is how we’ll ultimately load our hardware into Atlantis for flight. Each of our carriers will be loaded into a large canister that fits right into Atlantis’ belly, thus allowing us to work off-line from the work flow at the pad. (The orbiter actually rolls out to the pad with an empty payload bay so they can keep their pre-flight tests going without us.) Once we’re ready to go, the canister will be rolled out to the pad where we’ll be integrated into the payload bay for flight. From everyone I’ve talked to who’s seen it before, this is one of the neater I&T operations that we perform during our preparation activities. I can’t wait to get an up-close look at it in the next few weeks.
So that’s the latest and greatest from sunny (and humid!) Florida. I think this picture says it best:
Until next time....Dream big,
Tags : Operations, Processing