Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 2 - First day on-site at Ellington Field

The second day in Houston has turned to night.

The team arrived to Ellington Field bright and early, coffee in hand and eyes a bit groggy from late night equipment fabrication. The drowsiness turned to excitement as the team entered NASA's aircraft hangar 990. After a welcome and safety briefing from the Reduced Gravity Office, all teams unloaded their equipment into the hangar with a NASA escort (Ellington Field is a joint civil-military airport with strict security personel--all student scientists must wear NASA identification badges at all times). Universities setting up experiments next to Boise State in the hanger were Ohio State, University of Washington St. Louis, and MIT. The team was also fortunate to personally meet and discuss research with new friends from Yale University.

Another pleasure of the day was the opportunity to meet one of the impedance team's three NASA PIs, Kieth Chin from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The impedance team has been working with Keith for the past few months through email and weekly teleconferences to design and discuss important research aspects of the Gravitational Effects on Water in Regoliths experiment, which is to provide NASA with first ever data related to electrical impedance measurements in a reduced gravity environment. As other teams finished (and some began) building their flight rigs, the impedance team began conducting baseline research with their already assembled apparatus.

Alternate flyers Mo and Jake were informed that they will have the opportunity to join MIT for flight testing of compaction of lunar regolith for dust mitigation. All BSU undergraduates who traveled to Houston will be flying!

Tommy practices the experimental procedure for the traction experiment.

After a full day of introduction, integration, and testing, the team joined other undergraduate researchers from around the country for dinner...where no one was allowed to sit with teammates. Obviously, Boise State made some new friends! The team will be back at Ellington Field tomorrow at 7 AM to begin flight training. One step closer to the reduced gravity flights scheduled for April 13th and 14th.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget Purdue was right next to us! Both my dad and grandfather went there, so that was exciting.