Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Full Day of Learning and Preparation

Today we had a great day at Ellington Field and Johnson Space Center. Our team was supposed to start flying, but due to weather issues in the Gulf, we were unable to takeoff. We are scheduled for a "GO!" tomorrow and will share our story as soon as we experience it.

Our school mascots have been enjoying some time together with Camilla Corona, STEM Outreach Chicken.

Our team is ready for ZeroG!

Here we are in front of NASA's "Weightless Wonder."  This aircraft no longer flies reduced gravity missions, but was NASA's plane for this type of flight. The plane we will be flying on is run by the ZeroG Corporation. 

We have a fabulous mentor, Elizabeth, shown below on the right.  Our banner was created to hang in the plane above our experiment. 

A closeup view of the inside of our glovebox.  Since we are working with liquids, our glove box must be sealed and we must use rubber gloves to fire our syringes at our fabrics, just as we did in our classroom getting ready!

Every item in our glove box had to be weighed and accounted for.  You can see an inner view here before we put the lid on.  It's now sealed and on the plane, waiting for take off. 

We met with Astronaut Cady Coleman, who spoke with us about our experiment in the ZeroG plane.  It was awesome to talk with her and hear about her adventures in space. 

We are sooooooo ready for take off! 

We enjoyed touring the facility where the NASA T-38 jets are held.  These are the jets that the astronauts fly in training and to head over to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  

Here is Astronaut Cady Coleman when she played the flute in space!  How cool would THAT be? 

Our team.... TEAM KENNEDY!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ellington Field

Our team is here getting ready! We got our experiment all set up on Friday and today we're finishing  up the glove box.  Our experiment must be completely contained to prevent our liquids from spilling into the air in reduced gravity. 
 Our friend Camilla Corona is here helping supervise our work in the glove box.
She'll be flying with us, too. Stay tuned for more details about our experiment as we get closer to take off!
Stay tuned for more details as we get ready to fly...... 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

How Does the Zero G Plane Work?

Wondering how and why we'll be weightless inside the plane? Here's a great description...

 "Typically, ZERO-G's plane, called G-FORCE-ONE, flies between 24,000 and 32,000 feet altitude. This gives the pilot enough room to maneuver the plane safely through its flight path. The plane's descent must start at a high altitude to provide enough distance for the pilot to safely pull out of a dive. As the plane climbs to the peak of its arc, the pilot orients it at a 45-degree angle. During the climb, the plane's acceleration and the force of gravity create a pull 1.8 times the strength of gravity alone -- passengers temporarily weigh nearly twice as much as normal.  As the plane goes over the top of the arc, the centrifugal force exerted on the plane and everything in it cancels out the gravitational force pulling downwards. At this point, passengers experience microgravity -- it feels as if you are weightless because only negligible gravitational forces are present. The sense of weightlessness lasts for about 30 seconds. Because the plane shields the passengers from the rush of air, they can experience a free fall without the interference of air resistance. The pilot pulls the plane out of the dive so that the dip between one arc and the next is at about 24,000 feet altitude. As the plane pulls out of the dive and begins to climb again, passengers again experience the force of 1.8 times that of gravity. The typical ZERO-G flight includes 15 of these parabolic arcs, while NASA flights may include up to 100." Source: HowStuffWorks

Tomorrow we'll be sharing photos of us setting up our experiment... stay tuned!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Evolution of the Team Kennedy 2013 Patch

In the spring, we held our mission patch contest with students to help determine the patch that would represent our MicroGravity eXperience flight. The top two patches from each of the five schools were chosen, and the ten finalist patches were part of the voting round. The final patch won by a considerable margin.

I thought you'd like to see the progression of taking a hand drawn patch to the digital creation and final sew out.

We started with the hand drawn patch:

Using Adobe Illustrator, the patch was converted to a vector drawing. 

Then, using Inkscape, I cleaned up and extracted the image of the jet.
Next, I found a photo of a globe, converted it to a vector, and added images of our four home states and Texas where the flight will occur.
Since the globe was then cropped against a black circle so it would match with the original patch design. I also decided to color code the five states.

Next was creating the images to build the layers of the patch. A black inner circle with a larger outer circle.
Finally, I used Adobe Photoshop to combine the individual layers. Text was then added, and we also played around with colors.

We decided we liked the yellow background for our names best, and our emblem was complete ready to become an embroidered patch! When we shared the patch with our patch company, we made a few more changes to make the stitching work. The letters on the black of space with the white outline became all white. The patch company also made a few changes to size of some of the text. Finally, we got a sew out sample!

And that's the story of how a patch is created from a drawing, digitized, and then sewn. I hope you enjoyed seeing the steps that are involved.
 Our embroidered patches should be arriving soon. You can contact your MicroGravity eXperience participating teacher for details on purchasing one or contact us through the comments to find out how to get one of these for yourself. I know we can't wait to sew this awesome patch onto our flight suits!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ready to FLY?

Are you ready?  It's almost here... the countdown has begun.  Get ready to FLY!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Up Close... REALLY Close!

Check out the amazing UP CLOSE view of fabrics absorbing liquids.  Mrs. Hein's class in Arizona shares this video and it's another reminder of how COOL and AMAZING science is!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Watch this video of Commander Hadfield on the International Space Station.

Discussion questions:
1.) What do you think would happen if the washcloth Command Hadfield used was made of wool?
2.) How might you test this same experiment on Earth to try to discover what might happen in microgravity?
3.) How might the way the water forms on his hands prove to be a challenge when living in space for an extended period of time?