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!