Sunday, September 20, 2015

I'm relaxing this Sunday watching "The Game of the Week" -Cowboys and Eagles. Not a great game so far, but I'm happy to say that my team is ahead at the start of the second half! Go Cowboys!

It's not 20 days until I leave for Rocket City (Huntsville, AL) to begin my adventure in the Train with an Astronaut program at Adult Space Academy. To say that I am excited is an understatement! Dani and both got our SCUBA sign offs and all we have left to do is get packed. 

We received notice that our teams will be divided into Pilot and Mission Specialist tracks. I wanted to learn a little bit more about what these are, so I thought I'd share what I found (courtesy of 

Commander and Pilot Astronaut Duties

Pilot astronauts serve as both Space Shuttle and International Space Station commanders and pilots. During flight, the commander has onboard responsibility for the vehicle, crew, mission success and safety of flight. The pilot assists the commander in controlling and operating the vehicle. In addition, the pilot may assist in the deployment and retrieval of satellites utilizing the remote manipulator system, in extravehicular activities, and in other payload operations.

Basic requirements for an Astronaut Pilot include the following:
1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable. Quality of academic preparation is important.
2. At least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Flight test experience is highly desirable.
3. Ability to pass a NASA space physical which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:
  • Distant visual acuity: 20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye.
  • Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position.
  • Height between 62 and 75 inches.
Mission Specialists
Mission specialist astronauts work with the commander and the pilot and have overall responsibility for coordinating operations in the following areas: systems, crew activity planning, consumables usage, and experiment/payload operations. Mission specialists are trained in the details of the onboard systems, as well as the operational characteristics, mission requirements/ objectives, and supporting equipment/systems for each of the experiments conducted on their assigned missions. Mission specialists perform extravehicular activities (EVAs), or space walks, operate the remote manipulator system, and are responsible for payloads and specific experiment operations.

Basic requirements for a Mission Specialist include the following:
1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. Degree must be followed by at least three years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for part or all of the experience requirement (master's degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience). Quality of academic preparation is important.
2. Ability to pass a NASA space physical, which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:
  • Distance visual acuity: 20/200 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20, each eye.
  • Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position.
3. Height between 58.5 and 76 inches.

While I don't meet the height requirements for any of the positions at NASA, I'm sure in the simulated training at the Space and Rocket Center, I'll still get a good idea of what these positions would be like. We won't get our position assignments until we get to camp (and we have a number of different missions throughout the week) but I am excited for whatever challenge presents itself! 

Ad sidera ad astra. Quodam die etiam ad astra caput.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Excitement about Space!!

Greetings from Space Camp Barbie! Have you looked at the cool NASA websites lately? There are so many innovative and new things happening! I just signed up for my ticket to send my name on the InSight mission to Mars! You have until tomorrow (September 8th) to sign up for one yourself! Have you heard of the InSight mission? The Mars lander (scheduled to launch next year) is named InSight and the mission is to the surface of Mars. It will place the first seismometer (to assess any quakes and monitor seismic waves of Mars).  More information can be found on NASA's website (

Water training is an important part of astronaut training. The neutral bouancy lab in Houston, TX helps to simulate zero gravity and astronauts can practice their missions underwater.
underwater training  At Adult Space Academy- train with an astronaut program I will get the opportunity to train in the UAT (underwater astronaut trainer) and get a glimpse of what this might be like. This picture (to the right) is when I went and was all cleared for my SCUBA training this October! My awesome physician, Dr. Eric signed
Dr. Eric signing off on my dive forms!!
off on my fitness to dive!!! A little over a month and I'll be headed to Huntsville, AL with my friend Dani and Astronaut Barbie for an awesome adventure! I'm starting to learn more about the space program and everything that the space program has really contributed to down here on Earth! The next post I plan to tell you about some of the cool "Spinoffs" that have come from the space program -- many you probably don't even realize came from the work done at NASA!
Until next time, have a glittery day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Astronaut Barbie's new trainee: Space Camp Barbie

From NASA's 2014 Strategic Plan NASA 2014 Strategic Plan NASA's mission is as follows: Drive advances in science, technology, aeronautics, and space exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, economic vitality, and stewardship of Earth.

Welcome new student: Space Camp Barbie
Being Astronaut Barbie comes with it some great experiences, fun and excitement as well as some super cool responsibilities. This year I have taken on a student to work with, mentor, and promote STE(A)M education. For those of you not familiar with STE(A)M this stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Arts is one area that is newly added with the working hypothesis that when we engage students' strengths using art activities, this can lead to increased motivation and probability of success STEM vs STEAM: Do the Arts belong. My student, Space Camp Barbie is on her own educational mission: to understand how she can be a part of the STE(A)M movement and be introduced to the wonders and intrigue of space flight when she attends her first Space Camp in October. Space Camp Barbie will be taking over the post for a while (with my mentorship and occasional two cents added of course) as she begins her journey into the awesome world of STE(A)M! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Astronaut Barbie's log...Day 4...Last Day and Graduation

Sadly, this will be the last post from Astronaut Barbie at Space Camp. However, do not be in despair. I will continue to blog about the shenanigans that may ensue from my day to day adventures (did you hear that Ole Miss is now ranked #3 in the SEC?!?!?). Day 4 of Adult Space Academy was bittersweet. Team Discovery was still united and an awesome bunch, but it was also the time where we had to say so long for now- until our unicorns will bring us back together for the next adventures.

Day 4 began with meeting for breakfast as a team with a real cool national news shout out to the new generations being excited about the space program and what Space Camp/Academy has to offer. For one of the clips, two of team Discovery's Space Cadets (Lindsay and PC) were shown on a clip taken during our EDM mission. How cool is that?!?!?! 

Shades and I hanging out at breakfast!

I sure found my place with this awesome Disco group!
Team getting ready for alumni meeting, then final touches in preparation for rocket launch!
Another Pathfinder view!

PC and I working to complete the egg container. I'm trying to let eggie know that s/he'll be okay in the launch!

Our Rocket Team ready for launch!

Putting the rocket on the launch pad!
PC making final adjustments!
What a fantastic looking rocket!

Rockets being launched...
I can barely take the suspense... will our egg land safely? Will our rocket launch?
I see out rocket. It launched, shoot how's eggie doing?!?!?

Have our eggs landed safely?!?!?!
Oh, poor eggie... he got a little scrambled :(

Now time to fill out our evals from the time here and give some quotes for posterity!

Papi, Dani and I after rocket launch.
Saying goodbye to Pathfinder as we head up to the training floor for graduation.

Team Disco lining up for grad.

Mike F. starting off the ceremony.

Team getting ready to graduate! Aside from earning our wings,  team Discovery also was awarded, Best Mission Patch, Best Lunar Mission, and Best Team!!!! What awesome honors!!!!  My next blog will pay tribute to my team and the awesome individuals who made up team Discovery! Hope you all are having a glittery, unicorn filled day: ) Astronaut Barbie - out.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day Three, Part II of Astronaut Barbie's Space Academy Awesomeness!!!!

Hello y'all. It is finally the weekend and I am hoping to finish up all the Space Academy adventures to save for all prosperity! (Then the Ole Miss-Tenessee extravaganza may begin, but I digress...).
Team Discovery has been amazing! Dani and I are so excited to be a part of this team. So, I left off with our successful landing from the EDM. Following this excitement, we went to the astronaut training simulators!!! What Fun, Fun Fun!!!
It might be hard to see me, but Dani has me strapped in with her (if you look really closely, you'll see me there)! What a cool simulator- the Multi Axis Trainer. I think Dani was like a little kid and asked our crew trainer daily when we would go on the MAT! 

Spinning around simulating a flex spin!

Here is Dani and I on the 1/6th chair simulating how you would feel if you were walking on the moon at 1/6th your weight. We did the bunny hop, side to side and this is fun, fun, fun!!!!

On the MMU (manned maneuver unit). This is as if we were on an extravehicular activity (space walk) and how to control the roll, pitch and yaw!! Cool times!! (again, you can see me strapped in with Dani).

Pathfinder at dusk. 

Dani and I in the cutouts. We have "Museum Self Exploration" time now. Let's see what trouble we can get into!!!!

Another cut out to add our faces!!!

Flying a simulator. 

My new friend Lyka and I enjoying the museum!

Chilling on the MMU replica!

Celebrating in Astronaut style!!!

Just hanging around on the shuttle!

Did you know?!?!?!?

Looking through a mockup of the Hubble telescope!

What can I say? It says don't touch!

How dreamy is Kevin Donaldson (Tate Donovan--yummy) front the movie Space Camp (where Dani first got the address to send for information prior to her attending the first time in the 80's- she had really "great" hair then)!

A real dream boat! Vince...sigh...I had many chances to hang out with him (luckily). He was one of Dani's camp kiddos back in the day. Ladies,, he's single!

Space Bowl (aka Space Jeopardy)! with our fearless crew trainer!

John (PC) turning in our final answer for Final Space Bowl!!! (spoiler alert...we ended up kicking ass and winning Space Bowl)!

Whoo hoo! Way to go team Discovery!!! After an adventurous day, we are all ready for dream land. Tomorrow (sniff sniff) is the last day of camp. I'll tell you all about the last day and graduation after I have happy unicorn dreams tonight. I wish you all glitter and bubbles! Astronaut Barbie out.