Carthage Microgravity Team 2010 - 2011 - All rights reserved

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Post by: Stephanie

Today was our team's second flight day. The flyers today included myself, Ceci, Dr. Crosby, and Elizabeth. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty excited for today. If you don't understand how excited I was, watch the video here to understand how much I had been anticipating just getting the flight suit!

I have been extremely fortunate to be able to fly on the zero-g plane once before (last year as part of the same program), and I can honestly say that today and last year's flight are two of some the greatest days of my life. The feeling is something euphoric and I couldn't think of a better feeling. Heading onto the plane, I was first in line in our march out on the tarmac to get on the plane. It was epic, and I feel very special. Funny story: One time, while we were heading into a 2g portion, I had a few rough landings. As I was laying down, I think we had already gone into 2g, which resulted in me kind of hitting my head on the floor (cushion foam, but still hard). Two camera men and Doug, as well as a few other flight drew behind me got a laugh out of it. Some checked if I was okay, but of course I was more embarrassed. At least it wasn't like last year when Kay and I clunked heads!

I didn't feel sick at all during the whole flight and had the chance to be spun again. It was awesome! I accidently let go of the gyroscope and Doug, one of the flight directors caught it. In result, during the next 2g portion, he proceeded to drop it on my shoulder and gave me a slight scolding for losing it... woops! Getting hit in 2g with it though seemed to be fair though (things really do weigh a lot more then! - ouch!).

I also got to try out the shake weight, but unfortunately it didn't do as much movement as anticipated. Nonetheless, the research taken and whole flight experience are memories that I will hold for a lifetime. I just can't wait until I have the chance to be back in Houston once again. I think that I am meant to be here - NASA is meant for me, and I hope they agree.

On the side here are three photos taken as screen shots from the GoPro camera that we attached to the top of our rig. Yes, I was extremely excited about this camera too. As some of you may not know, I had used one to capture this video (as part of my summer internship in 2010) but lost it last fall in another balloon launch. There were two other teams here as well that were using this camera, and Professor Crosby knew that I was really jealous (and still mourning the loss of the one I had). Since he is so cool, we went and picked one up last night at the store and in return got some pretty neat footage. I'll be sure to post some video later!

After our flight day, we packed all of our stuff up, rig and all, to be ready to be shipped back to Carthage. It was the best and most saddest day of our 10 day trip here because best as I flew, and saddest because it was our last day in the hangar bay as we don't need to enter back in the hangar building (at least until next year).

I also had the chance to talk with Dom Del Rosso, flight test director. He is a NASA Class I Test Subject. After reading Stiff and Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach, (highly recommended) I had to ask him what was the coolest test that he's been involved in (aka been the subject). He told me that it was really hard to pinpoint or chose a specific time. He said there were definitely times that he would not like to volunteer for it ever again because it was a pretty stupid thing to do. How cool!

We went to lunch with Mr. Werlink as he had to leave this afternoon and had some great Mexican food - including deep fried ice cream. Yum! I know our whole team has been very excited and enjoyed working with him on this project.

Tonight we went to Kemah Boardwalk. Everyone was still so full from lunch that we just walked around, which was totally fine, as we don't mean to rub it in anyone's face back in the midwest, but it was 80 degrees and sunny. (yes, you should be jealous). Some of the team members then went back to the hotel and the rest of us meandered around some more. We went to a little cafe, and then as we were leaving decided we needed to ride on the "bullet" rollercoaster -- wood rollercoaster. As we were getting in line, I thought, this is going to be lame because I was just on the zero-g plane this morning AND it's a wood rollercoaster. However, after getting on, I was legitimately scared and omg, it was ridiculously intense. I think myself, Kim, Erin and Kelli were all pretty scared after the ride. A great rollercoaster at that! We also took a walk along the lake and under the path/dock, there was an opening where there were - literally - hundreds of catfish. It was so gross. You could pay a quarter to get a handful of dog food to feed them just like some goats at a petting zoo. I didn't participate. They're so ugly and it reminded me of a dogfish that my sister, brother-in-law, and myself attempted to catch all summer at my cabin. (That attempt is because we never caught it.)

Just a few notes on yesterday since I didn't blog then... our team went to a question and answer with Clayton Anderston (astronaut). He is a pretty funny guy. Last night he was on the History Channel on the show 'Only in America' with Larry the Cable Guy and he learned about NASA - mission control, the NBL, and how astronauts go to the bathroom... yep. I think that my dad would thoroughly enjoy this show because it's Larry the Cable Guy.

Tomorrow we are going to be taking tours, and even if we went to the same places last year, I know that all of us returners are still just as excited as ever to be here again!

I thnk I just decided that I will be marred in the zero-g aircraft. Yes, you can do that, just as you can get married under water. For my future husband (*cough* Josh Groban), well, it's not an option for you because it is happening. :)

I also think I'll be starting a new coundown again fairly soon...

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Post by: Ceci

I got to fly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The medicine did not leave any side effects for me; what I felt was a disconnect between my stomach and my head. This was perfect for the flight. We got up there and it feels like you are going over a large hill. But you dont come down. You go up and float it is awesome!!! It is not like swimming at all and does not feel like a roller coaster (as long as you have meds). It feels like a total disconnect from the world. Control of yourself is different but not bad, you

do not need large movements to effect a great change. You do want to be near something to hold onto, if just so that your body has that security blanket. Your eyes have trouble processing everything that is going on as so many things happen at once. Having something steady nearby helps you focus. As the meds wear off your eyes have more and more trouble focusing when in 0G.

For me, the meds wore off a bit over half way through. I did not get sick, though. I started meditating as soon as I fully felt my stomach again and closed my eyes for most of the time. They could not processes the input fast enough to keep up with my brain and the disorientation. All of our team made it through and our experiment worked! While I was not feeling well one of the crew members I believe Allen is his namecame up and offered me water. He then sat by my feet and just waited there with me. It was incredibly nice of him. Instead of enjoying the last few parabolas he stayed there while I was not feeling good. When people notice, and care, and are willing to just be there, well, that makes all the difference. I did not get a chance to thank him after the flight. As soon as we returned to earth

gravity I felt just fine again and we met the outside sun with full, genuine smiles. I hope to remember the first half more than the second for it is a spectacular experience.

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