Analog Lead Technical Liaison for Education and Public Outreach
Currently in Key Largo, Florida!
Training Day 4 marked the last full day of training for the NEEMO 14 crew. The crew, along with our mission manager, Bill Todd, and our photographer/support diver/man of many talents, Karl, dove down to the mockups for further orientation with the lander and rover. They conducted an “engineering evaluation,” which basically means that they ran through some of the underwater operations to become more familiar with how to do the tasks, and to see if there were any changes that needed to happen to make things go more smoothly during the actual mission. The rover mockup has been upgraded to include free-spinning wheels, and an interesting finding during the engineering evaluation was that the wheels are so buoyant, when they tried to move the rover up to the lander deck, the buoyancy of the wheels threw off the balance of the system, making it harder to control than we originally imagined! The rover mockup is really awesome, especially with the new wheels, so stay tuned to see how we work with it over the course of the mission! ☺
Our crew runs through the steps to lift the rover from the sea floor to the lander deck.
Topside, the mission support team got their first view of the inside of the Aquarius habitat as the hab techs continued to do checkouts to ensure that everything was ready for the mission. Our Mobile Mission Control Center is fully equipped with computers and screens throughout, and our awesome comm. team connected us to the Aquarius camera views provided by NURC so that we can observe all of the underwater activities. (You too can look at these by going to: http://www.uncw.edu/aquarius/thumb_cam.htm!)
After a very long day of training and preparation tasks, Training Day 4 came to a close with a deep sigh of relief from the team…It was a VERY busy Friday!
The weekend continued to be a flurry of activity as the final hours prior to the mission ticked away. The crew spent several hours practicing how they will do real-time communication during the extravehicular activities (EVAs). While two Aquanauts are outside of Aquarius on EVA, the other two crewmembers will be very busy inside the habitat taking data to ensure that all of our science and engineering objectives are successfully completed. This sounds easy at first, but the communications get pretty complicated when you think about four people trying to talk to each other at the same time. So, the Commander and crew sat down and walked through their communication strategy, really coming together as a TEAM. The crew also walked through each day of the mission timeline, to make sure that they were all ready for every task that the topside support team would throw at them! ☺
Sunday evening we met once again as a full team, topside support and crew, to run through any final details of the mission. There were only a few things left to be worked, but overall we were ready. When I left the Mobile Mission Control Center, I felt both anxious and excited…this mission is going to be REALLY AWESOME! The team has planned an incredible mission full of fantastic activities that are educational, scientific, and in line with NASA’s exploration goals.
WE ARE GO FOR NEEMO 14!
The mission support team is topside in Key Largo, working inside NASA’s Mobile Mission Control Center to track the NEEMO 14 mission activities.