3 Rs




Sunday, February 10, 2013

Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC), 2013

The 19th Annual Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC) at Johnson’s Space Center, Houston TX can be summarized in a word: “WOW!”

Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX was an amazing adventure. I met so many people from so many countries. Everybody was friendly and took a genuine interest in the sharing of ideas.

I landed at my hotel, woofed down a cup of coffee and took a shuttle to Houston Space Center. I registered, got my bag of goodies and met Jeff Kaloostian. Jeff is an aerospace technology instructor and a retired colonel from the U.S.A.F. Jeff and I became friends. He too was presenting at the conference. We headed back to our hotel that much to Jeff’s surprise had a bar. Following some light libation (tonic water for me) we met an hour later in the lobby to go to supper at a nearby restaurant.

Jeff was fascinating to listen to. He flew T-38 trainers. He said that you didn’t get into this plane; you wrapped the plane around your body and flew. An interesting analogy, I thought.

Thursday morning, I was up at 5:00 am, had two coffees in my room, did my morning shave, ___, shower and shampoo, and once dressed, headed to the lobby where I dined on scrambled eggs, fresh muffins and strawberry jam. I took the shuttle to the Space Center with Jeff. The keynote address was by NASA astronaut Lee Morin, M.D., Ph.D. Following his talk, Jeff and I parted ways. I took the Aircraft Ops Tour at Ellington Field. We saw the T-38s and listen to a Captain explain its function and purpose. We were supposed to also see the plane that creates free fall and a plane that creates high altitude research, but the hangers were closed to visitors. All we saw were the T-38s. No matter This plane held my interest.

Back to the Space Center and onto another bus for the Vehicle Mock-up Tour. The bus took us into a secure area of the Space Center. We entered a large hanger where there were all shapes and sizes of rovers, some for the moon and others for Mars. These were so cool. I saw a moon buggy with 6 wheels that operated independently of the others. This buggy was designed to go over rocks 1.5 feet high (the approximate diameter of the wheels.) It looked a lot like the moon buggy in the 007 film Moonwalker. What a fascinating place. I got a chance to speak one-on-one with an electrical engineer. This was a most interesting tour all around.

To be continued…