Today was the first flight day for the 2004 RGSFOP Student Campaign and Matt and I were the first flyers for
We arrived at the hangar at 6:30 AM to make yet more last minute modifications. When we arrived, the KC-135
was framed by a large cloud of smoke in the background. Apparantly some chemical warehouse a few miles out
had caught fire and the smoke was still billowing. Mike and Alice ran around fixing things while Matt and I
attended the morning program briefing, the medical briefing where we got out drugs (yay for drugs!), and the
pre-flight briefing. As we were walking out the medical briefing, the flight director Mr. Lamb, AKA Mr. Clean,
grabbed me by the arm and pulled me aside saying, "I need to talk to you." Of course I thought I had done
something wrong and somehow managed to ground my team. Instead, it turned out he randomly chose me to ride
up in the cockpit for take-off!
At 9:00 AM, we boarded the plane. Two guys taking video and photos stood at the top of the air stairs and took
shots of us walking into the plane. Matt sat in the back where the seats were and I walked up to the front.
Another girl from Fordham came up with me too, and the program director, John Yaniec, had us pick a number
from 1-20 to see who got to sit in the jump seat between the pilot and co-pilot and who would sit in the back of
the cockpit. I won, so Mr. Clean took me up to the front and put down my seat. Our pilots, Chuck and Ace,
were quite jovial and I watched as they ran down the checklist and listened over the headphones to them
We took-off at 9:40 after following a T-38 up to the flight line. We watched a Cessna land poorly in front of
us and then the T-38 take-off right in front of us and then it was our turn. I could see the F-16s and the
Guppy out the window as we went by them and as we took off and banked, I could see the fire out the right
window and helicopters landing when we banked the other way.
The parabolas themselves were amazing! 30 zero-g parabolas followed one lunar and one martian. I can proudly
say I did not get sick, although it was pretty close. Matt was not so fortunate. I think it's our goofy
vehicle. Everyone could just sit there and stare and their box and push the buttons. We were turning all
over the place trying to follow, catch, and control our little sphere. Most likely made the motion sickness
hit a little harder.
OSIRIS itself had some issues. Unfortunately, we managed to fry the servo board at some point, so it wasn't
directly the nozzles properly. However, when we did manage to get the nozzles aligned properly, it actually
moved pretty well. Did rotate much from the motor/impeller and definitely generated enough thrust to move
about the cabin. We do have a spare servo board, so tomorrow should be pretty good.
We landed a little after 11:00 and had our post-flight debrief. After a quick lunch, we came back to the
hangar to figure out our vehicle problems and fix things on board the aircraft. Dave surprised us again and
we chatted about the flight for a bit. Then there was an "astronaut briefing" where astronaut Butch Wilmore
gave a talk and answered random questions.
We packed up things to fix and headed back to the suite, ending our program day. Now, off to the climbing
wall to socialize with the other groups! My stimulant high is finally wearing off, so I'll end this here.
Mike and Alice fly tomorrow, so we'll continue the log then.