Monday, November 9, 2009

Ares I-X

Ares I-X went off over a week ago and it marked a good day in the lab despite a nasty snow storm outside.

It went off on its second attempt after being foiled by ships, triboelectrification (that brings back memories from NASA's spaceflight hardware handling certification class), and a cover protecting sensors on the top of the vehicle. The guys supporting the launch on our side had been in since 11 pm for two nights in a row so things were pretty goofy when we actually launched around 9:30 am.

Ares I-X was based on Atlas hardware so my lab supported the launch and is doing some data processing. I'm not sure to what extent we're doing things since I'm knee deep in preparing for WGS SV-3 and WISE.

When the launch went off everyone in my lab gathered around our TVs with 9 feeds on each of them to watch it with the com system screaming in the background tuned to the main nets. We all wanted to witness the little bit of history that was being made no matter which way it went.

It was that day that I learned that despite being called "girly girl" and being the only girl in the lab, I have become a part of the lab. The guys take great pride in playing jokes on each other and I walked in that day to find one pulled on me. My space heater was hidden away in its drawer like it is every night when I left the night before. If you know my lab, the heater is a requisite since the lab hovers around 62 deg F all the time due to the servers and other equipment we have. I walked in that morning to find my heater replaced by the box it came in. The heater was missing. Let me refer to Sayings of Mark Chapter 1, to explain how the other two people with heaters in my organization and I feel about our heaters: "Never get between a woman and her heater" . I walked out of my cube with my empty box slightly annoyed to find Roger and Mark laughing like crazy waiting for me to discover my missing heater. The initial blame went to Roger who is always up to something. This left Mark with an evil grin still laughing. His only response was "Girly, are you sure it's missing?"

I go back to my cube, still without a heater. I finally look at shelves that are above my head (so clearly there is nothing on there since I cannot reach it) and find the heater.

I did get a good laugh out of it. Putting something right where I can see it but never think to look is brilliant.

With the first prank, I think I fit into the lab and no longer intimate the guys. Early on I was told I was intimidating since I was the first female the lab had ever had. They just didn't know how to deal with me. Clearly they are at least learning how to deal with me if they haven't fully figured it out already.

The next month may be a little crazy since we have two launches close together, but hopefully they will not seek holidays as launches have in the past. I know at least one of them is one where I wish I could sleep shift.

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