|Posted on Mar 02, 2013 12:53:22 AM | Maria Navarro | 0 Comments ||
Day 49 to 52: Fourth Science Flight
After a very nice break we are ready to keep working and preparing our instrument for our fourth science flight. Once I finished our pre-flight, I needed to figure out our flight plan for sampling. This plan is based on the information provided by our science team, who look at the weather conditions prior to each flight. Looking at the flight path provided by the science team I thought about how much fun I would have on this flight. They planned 13 consecutives vertical profiles (or dives) which would mean to turn off GWAS before each descent. It was also challenging to plan how many samples we should collect during every ascent. So, after a couple of hours I came out with a good plan: collect 5 to 6 samples during ascent and just a few (3 to 4) at cruise altitude. In this way we could have a better look at the chemical composition of the vertical structure of our atmosphere.
So, here we are, February 21th around 6:47 am (PST) the Global Hawk 672 took off from Edwards Air Force Base heading to south of the equator for the second time. I’m not going to lie, I was still nervous about the behavior of GWAS, but after our first dive and noticed how GWAS recovered from its first power down, I felt more relaxed. Besides, this time I took the later shift (from midnight until the aircraft landed) so I did not have to deal with the communication lost issues and the blind sampling strategy.
After 24.5 hours of flight the Global Hawk finally landed. Three hours later we were able to take the canister out, collect the data from the aircraft computer and put the new set of canister to have them ready for pre-flight.
Yes, two flights down, two more to go!
GWAS sample locations (blue dots) during Science flight # 4
Day 53: A visit from the students of Palmdale Aerospace Academy Middle School
Today, we hosted an event for 99 Middle School students from the Palmdale Aerospace Academy. Without a doubt, another of my FAVORITE experiences. How fun it was to explain to these kids how my instrument works. It was not that easy, because I think I am used to using a technical vocabulary for this, but I finally found the right words and I believed they got the idea.
Even though they still have time to figure out what career path to follow, many of them already know what they want to be. This is really encouraging for our scientific community. It is nice to know that future generations are already attracted by science. I wish them the best for their future. Keep working hard kids. Remember that society makes progress by having a skilled and creative work force.
Thanks for coming to Dryden.
Some of the students from the Palmdale Aerospace Academy during their visit to Dryden
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