The past few days have been awesome, aside from the fact that I had to get my car towed, accidentally went to the Air Force base twice, and lost my badge a few hours after receiving it. So those events were hectic – but the actual work-related happenings have been great!
On Tuesday evening, we learned one of the subsystems was not functioning properly, so we got to spend Wednesday morning talking to astronauts on the ISS who were troubleshooting the problem. There was a live video feed of them performing the task, which I got to watch while sitting in the mission operations center with a cool headset and a 4-monitor display setup. I felt really cool right then.
After this, our first real task was to calculate an angle correction that we needed to apply to a mirror to make the science data more accurate. We found this angle for sunset, sunrise, moonset, and moonrise events, but it turns out the only major difference between our calculations and the ones already onboard the spacecraft were the “-set” events. So now we are in the process of writing a report to go through a bunch of reviewers explaining why we need to change these angles for the -set events, and what we need to change them too. Not surprisingly, a huge part of a NASA employee’s day is filling out important paperwork.
Then on Wednesday I got to see the lab that houses one of the SAGE III engineering models. This exists so that the team can run software and commands through the instrument to see how it handles the input before sending these commands to the real instrument. I also learned about one of my mentor’s experiments where he is simulating the sun with a giant spherical light and measuring how the charge coupled device (CCD) handles it. The lab is a very tiny room, no windows, super secure, but I like it. I wish I could post pictures of all of this stuff but of course I cannot do that.
For the past couple of days I have been working on getting more familiar with Linux commands and bash shell scripting, which is helpful. I will be getting a refresher on LaTeX tomorrow, as NASA doesn’t really tend to use Microsoft Word or PowerPoint or even Excel; most important documents are made using LaTeX. And it makes sense.
What I am especially excited about is tomorrow, where I get to talk with my mentors and the other interns about which projects specifically I would like to work on this summer. More to come once that meeting has happened.
Last thing – my mom always makes fun of me because I am constantly saying “ugh, how do people work in cubicles. I could never work in a cubicle.” Surprise! I now have my own cubicle. But, it is comfy and I have my own window and a lot of storage space so I actually enjoy being in there. The building I work in is one of the older buildings at Langley, so that is pretty neat. Speaking of old buildings – KATHERINE JOHNSON WAS AT LANGLEY TODAY. If you don’t know who that is, please go see the movie Hidden Figures (sadly, they recently tore down the old headquarters where most of the movie was filmed). My roommate is interning with NASA’s public and legal affairs branches, and he got to be her escort to the induction to the Hall of Fame (or something like that) today. So cool.
I will post again once I know what kinds of things I will be working on all summer!