What a wonderfully rewarding 12 days I have had here in Houston, TX. There have been a whirlwind of events leading up to the fabulous flight aboard the KC-135! The sixth grade scientists spent so much time measuring, weighing, testing, collecting data, analyzing and preparing ground data. The best part for me was to be able to include a very important step in the scientific method often overlooked in school, the real-world application step. After research which the sixth grade scientists and I started in December of 2003 we were able to actually see the results of our microgravity investigation. I can hardly wait to show you all the video we have from the KC-135. You will be amazed at the results, I know I was very amazed.
I am on my way home to St.Paul, MN. I wonder if our 747 will fly any parabolas???
See you soon sixth grade scientists, I missed ya!
Today we have out video conference with our school. I hope everything goes as planned. It will be awesome to try a video conference since this is our first time. I look forward to seeing all of your bright smiling faces! You will be able to see me in my flight suit! How cool is that?
We were able to tour the lab that is home to Robonaut! Thanks for the tour Dr. Jennifer!
Dr. Jennifer was able to show us how Robonaut worked. Robonaut is designed to perform tasks in space to help humans who are working in space. It was a complete breakthrough in technology.
I fly today. I know my dream is about to come true!
7:00 p.m. -
I flew on the KC-135!!!! I couldn't believe it! It actually happened! The doctor gave us our motion sickness medication and we boarded the KC-135. We were over the Gulf of Mexico when they announced we could leave our seats and start setting up our experiment. This was the moment I had been waiting for since I was 8 years old. It was a moment I will never forget. I was laying down with my back on the floor and the KC-135 was climbing at approximately 45 degrees. I watched the g's on the digital display hit 1.88g's and I tried to lift my hand. My hand slammed back to the floor of the airplane. John Yaniec yelled three awesome words, words I had been longing to hear for quite a while..."OVER THE TOP!" I was weightless. I yelled out, okay I screamed, "Yaaaahooooooo!" I was floating up to the ceiling. Donn S. the flight director grabbed my ankle and pulled me back down. Your inner ear is confused and rather in a state of shock and best of all you don't know what to do with your arms and legs. You just float up to the ceiling of the KC-135! It was like I was in a dream state. Everything around me was moving very slowly. I tried to take it all in then... Yaniec yelled again, "FEET DOWN COMING OUT!" and I could feel the 1.88 g's pulling on me again. What a rush. I played around for the first few parabolas and then got straight to work. It was difficult to concentrate on STiMG in my new microgravity environment! Your eyes look around and can't believe what is happening around you. You ask yourself if this is really happening happening because just a few moments ago you jumped up in the air and came right back down. I did my best because I know you sixth grade scientists are depending on the best results for comparison of our ground data versus our KC-135 microgravity data. A student, named Tom, from the University of San Diego helped me with our 6th grade STiMG experiment. He is studying to be a teacher someday! He said he had a great time during our 10 parabolas aboard NASA's KC-135!
Unfortunately the first flight was cut short due to an problem with engine #2. We had exactly 10 parabolas in when Yaniec announced we had to turn around and head home. I was sad but felt so honored because I was able to experience weightlessness, something very few people are ever able to experience. I definitely belong to an elite group of people because I was able to fly my sixth grader student scientists experiment we created together as a sixth grade class aboard the beautiful KC-135 . I will inspire the next generation of space explorers. It would be impossible not to with all of this ...Thanks NASA! Get ready 6th Grade Scientists ... You thought I was on fire for NASA stuff before the KC-135, just wait 'til I get home! This rocked!
Yesterday was another awesome day here in Texas. We had an Astronaut Briefing with Dan Barry. He shared some of his memories about his shuttle flights into space. He also shared with us the video of a shuttle launch and some of his favorite pictures from space. It was a thrilling experience to listen to Dan Barry speak with such enthusiasm about his several space missions. I was able to video tape some of what he talked about during the briefing. I can't wait to share Dan Barry's words with everyone, they were inspiring words.
In the afternoon we went to Space Center Houston. We saw two Imax movies about space. I was also able to go to the teacher center and get a few posters for our classroom.
Today we are meeting at Ellington Field to have our 7:30 a.m. briefing. We will find out if the engine repair was successful. NASA will also tell us when they plan to test the engine and whether or not we fly on Thursday. Hope for the best Sixth Grade Scientists!
Nancy and Patrick also purchased a flight log journal for our STiMG experiment. They would like us to enter all of our work in the flight log journal so we can see our work from start to finish. Think of what we might enter into the flight log journal first so we will be able to share our work. I will ask you when I return. Dr. L and I will enter our work from our flights in the flight log journal so you will be able to see what we did during microgravity.
Dr. L and I just returned from Ellington Field from this morning's briefing at 7:30 a.m. NASA told us the engine which was replaced yesterday was not functioning properly and had to be replaced again. The flight schedule was pushed back to begin teams flying Thursday morning. I will fly Thursday morning and Dr. L will fly Thursday afternoon. I am soooooo excited to fly on Thursday!!! Keep your fingers crossed that everything works for our flights on Thursday.
The KC-135 was being repaired in the hanger where we were working on STiMG. It was awesome to see the KC-135 in the hanger right in front of me! I watched the mechanics work on the KC-135's engine. It was just cool to know that they were fixing the plane to get it ready for our flight on Thursday.
Today we have our TRR(test readiness review). I am so excited to find out if the astronauts who are flying before us the KC-135 will fly today so we can fly tomorrow. We had a great day yesterday! We went to downtown Houston to see an Astros game with the U of M Student Team. It was a beautiful sunny day for a baseball game.
Later this afternoon we will make sure all our hardware is ready to go for our flight tomorrow. We have to check our cameras and our tops. Nancy spun every top again in the glovebox to make sure it was on video tape. Have a wonderful day Sixth Grade Scientists!
Today is a very early start! We have physiological training at 7 a.m. and our chamber ride today at 2 p.m. We are also going to see the NBL(Neutral Buoyancy Lab!) after our chamber ride were they remove oxygen from the air to simulate what it will feel like in the KC-135.
Yesterday was quite and eventful day!!! The Crossroads Team arrived early at Ellington Field Thursday. In a hanger we found our table with our name on a sign. I was so excited because I noticed that a team from the University of Minnesota had their table right next to ours! I was anxious to meet them to find out what their experiment was about. I saw many other colleges there too like the University of San Diego and the University of Wisconsin.
We had a welcome from an female astronaut, Bonnie Dubar, who had flown many space shuttle missions. Next we had a briefing where they told us what to do and what not to do while we are in the hanger area on Ellington Field and while we were aboard the KC-135. This was very interesting because we found out our flight schedule. I will fly Tuesday with an astronaut, Dan Berry. Sixth Grade Scientists he was very impressed with your STiMG experiment and the research you have completed. Later the Crossroads Team and the University of San Diego Team were able to have lunch with Dan Berry. Guess who was able to sit by the astronaut???? Yes, Ms. K!
Houston, we landed! We are in beautiful sunny Houston, TX. We had a nice flight from Minneapolis to George Bush Airport. After we arrived in Houston Dr.L and I decided to grab a bite to eat. We ate at Mc D's. I'm lovin it(sorry class I had to). We were waiting to board our next flight which would take us to Ellington Field and we met up with the Iowa team. We talked with them briefly about their flight and if they were ready for our week in Houston. We boarded the plane at 9 p.m. It was a small plane and the flight was short. No I mean really short. We waited about 10 minutes to get on the run way and then another 5 minutes before we actually took off. The flight attendant was very funny when she was talking over the intercom. Our total flight time from George Bush Airport to Ellington Field was 10 minutes! Only 10 minutes! Fastest flight I have ever been on, ever! Dr. L and I picked up our car. We checked into our hotel. Nancy Hall called me on my cell while we were checking into our room. She came from her hotel down the street to meet us. We all went to the grocery store to get food for the next few days.
Today we have a busy day. We went to Ellington Field to get our badges, have a welcoming, and introductions. We have hardware setup today which means we will unpack our glove box we borrowed from NASA Glenn . I will let you know more tonight. Sixth Grade Scientists, do your best job today and remember the small town of Ordinary and Nobody. Be Someone today. Miss ya, Ms. K