3 Rs




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Johnson Space Center, Houston

February 5-9, 2014 was full of adventure and excitement. It was my second year presenting at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Although the weather was cool (40s F) it was certainly warmer than the below freezing double digit temperatures that I left in Canada. My presenbtation went well after a rocky start. The PA system wasn't working properly. The video of Canadarm i and II prepared for me by Steve Lang of the Canadian Space Resource Center in Toronto projected clearly on the large screen behind me, but the audi feed wasn't working. I cancelled the video and jumped right into teaching the 19 educators present how to build my pneumatically controlled Canadarm. The workshop went very well as I observed broad smiles on the faces of the participants as they made their booms go up and down and watched their end effectors rotate. The participants dep[arted as I cleaned up the tables and my demstration area. I grabbed my onme remaining box of 4 and headed out to catch my bus. A woman coming in to do a presentation informed me that the bus had left. I had a sick feeling in my gut. I had to get back to mthe space center museum building to catch another bus to take me on the Mission Control Tour. A bus arrived an hour later. Missed the tour. Sigh. Later that day I went on another tour at Rocket Park and saw an Atlas 5 rocket in a huge building. I guessed it was four stories high on its side. Walking the length of this rocket seemed like a city block and then some. It was huge. I learned that the propellant came out of each stage via tiny holes on the inside of the erxhaust system. Beside these little jets were smaller jets that emitted liquid hydrogen so that the metal exhaust sections wouldn't melt under the extreme heat caused by the thrust. Stage 1 held one million gallons of fuel which it exhausted in 2 minutes. The sond Stage held half a million gallons and the third stage just under a quarter of a million gallons. All this fuel just to launch into outer space. To be continued...