Monday, August 13, 2012

Zizz catching up

Hello dears!  I last posted at the end of June, so I've a decent amount of catching up to do.

"artsy" picture of one of our Mini-Mobility Bases (Mini-MoB)
At the beginning of June I posted about my internship and my summer project at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  Re-reading that post, I didn't say much about my actual project, probably because I didn't know what it was going to be.  To give a quick summary: my team worked with the Flight Robotics Laboratory to develop a platform to simulate automated rendezvous and docking algorithms in a micro-friction environment.  The lab already uses two air-bearing vehicles which use pressurized air to float on the flat floor to simulate micro-friction, the smaller of which weighs 3000 lbs.  Since we want to simulate interactions with small satellites (80kg-ish), we needed smaller vehicles, so my team designed and developed a set of three smaller air-bearing vehicles, which we called the Mini-Mobility Bases.  If you're curious, here's a video of the finished product.  My team lead, Joaquin, is the camera man, and my teammate Dacen is spinning it around on the floor... and then attempting to surf on it. ;)

JPL mission ops room - that's where they controlled the MSL landing.
At the end of June I posted about our internship business trip to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  In late July we went on a second business trip to California, where we toured NASA's JPL and Dryden Flight Research Center, SpaceX, Honeybee Robotics, Boeing Satellite Systems, and SOFIA.  SOFIA is a really bad-ass telescope because it's built into a modified Boeing 747 which flies at altitudes around 40000 ft and therefore can make observations sans most atmospheric distortion.

Left to right: Jenny, Me, Clare, Sera
My internship ended on August 3rd, and on August 4th I flew home.  On August 5th I had two long meetings to prepare for orchestra camp with my high school orchestra, and I spent August 7th-13th up at Interlochen Arts Academy being a PHS Orchestra Camp counselor.  This means I slept in a cabin with 12 high school girls, supervised students at meal times and cabin time, coached sectionals and chamber music, taught music theory, and played in the staff chamber ensemble.  We played a lovely suite by Dohnanyi and the kids did not fail to impress.  Picture: one day, Head Counselor Ben started a side-pony trend.

Sneak Preview of the rest of my summer: Seattle/Vancouver from the 14th to the 21st, campus on the 22nd, FPOP from the 23rd to the 26th, chill time till classes.

Love and miss you all!

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