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TEAM LOG: March 8, 2004

Test Readiness Review

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Welcome to day three of team Tenacious Terps.

We showed up at the hangar bright and early for our morning briefing and frantic last minute preparations for the Test Readiness Review. With some final modifications to the projects, the mass of safety reviewers started their rounds around the tables. We were the fifth table they talked to. After explaining our project and describing our test setup, the reviewers started firing a few questions. For the most part, they were pretty content. They had us human factorize our control station a bit and then asked us to turn on our vehicle. Of course, the hangar was dead silent and our vehicle is a little...loud. They were initially worried about jets of air hitting our eyes and asked us to turn on the vehicle to see what sort of air it pumped out. We were laughing at the jets of air worry, since it's little more than a suped-up fan. But we turned on the vehicle and the nozzles start spinning like crazy as the servos initialize and the motor starts running. Since our motor takes about 10 seconds to ramp up, they figure it's ok at first. Then it starts churning and the safety guys decide the jets of air may be fine, but we need to wear ear plugs while the vehicle is in operation. Other than that, they thought it was pretty cool and moved on to the next team.

After lunch, President Bush was scheduled to land at Ellington right in front of our hangar. At first, we camped out on the grass right on the edge of the flight line, but the security guys kicked us out. Since Ellington was on ramp freeze, they made us go inside and shut the hangar doors. However, the Reduced Gravity Office Windows are right at the edge of the landing strip. So we all piled into the office and stared out the window, waiting for Air Force One to land. Previously, we'd seen a series of T-38s circling, taking-off, and landing as well as large black suburbans careening about the field. We sat in the office listening to the radio chatter and finally heard that they were on final approach. We watched as Air Force One landed in front of us and took lots of pictures and movies as it taxi-ed directly towards our window and finally turned around to park at the next hangar over. No Bush sightings, and we were stuck in that office for about half-an-hour while he got off the plane, but still an interesting break in routine.

We then got our flight suits and goofed around pulling Top Gun poses and taking pictures. Then, we loaded our equipment onto the KC-135! Dave showed up as we were setting up on the plane. After some more last minute hardware/wiring fixes, we sat through the cheesiest video ever created on motion sickness and then through another on safety. That basically rounded out the work day. Tuesday, Matt and I go up! I'm sure we'll have lots to say tomorrow!

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Last Modified: October 29, 2004