Day 9- A Day at the Beach

Today we got to sleep in after a week of getting up early and getting to Ellington Field before 7:45. We drove to Galveston to spend the late morning and afternoon at the beach. It was windy out there, which made for some fun waves to swim in. There were also volleyball nets set up, so we played a couple games of volleyball and even had some random people join in. After the beach, we came back to our hotel to study and shower before we headed to dinner. For dinner, we went to Benihana, which is a restaurant that serves Japanese style cuisine. The chefs cook your meal right on your table.

Our chef showing off his skills

We will be on our way home tomorrow (Sunday). Please pray for safe travels for us and for a non-stressful week during finals! We’ll be back around midnight, and life as normal will pick back up Monday morning. Thanks again for following our progress throughout this week and all the preparation that went in to it!

April 29, 2012 by

Day 8-Flight Day 2

An update on yesterday’s flight: It was a “no kill” flight, meaning that no one on the plane threw up. The groups from Thursday’s flight got to sign a poster for being successful with a “no kill” flight.

Today Chad, Weston, Dorothy, and Dr. Lawrence got to experience zero gravity. We arrived at Ellington Field around 7:30, like every other morning this week, and took a few team pictures before a meeting at 7:45. The flyers went in for briefing and medication at 8 and were in the air around 9:30. For this flight, Chad wore one of the Go Pros and the other was mounted to a camera mount on the side of the plane. The experiment worked well and we got some footage. However, we kept shorting the circuit and having reset the power to our experiment, so about halfway through the flight we had to shut it down. Despite this setback, we were still able to collect data from the beginning that can be used. Two days of successful flights!

After the flight we debriefed, turned in our flight suits, took a survey, and prepared our box for the shipment home. When we left Ellington Field today, we turned in our badges and checked out so that we are officially done with the experiment while down in Houston and won’t see our box until it arrives in Nampa.

Dorothy and Kevin waiting to get in to Ellington Field

Besides experiencing zero gravity while on the Zero G plane, we also experience 2 g (twice the gravity of earth). This is when most people get sick because they move around too much. They give us two good position to keep from getting sick: sitting against the wall or laying on your back. They leave it up to each person to choose what is most comfortable to them.

Weston waiting in the sitting position for the zero gravity to kick in

Chad waiting laying down for the zero gravity

Weston, Dr. Lawrence, and Dorothy after their time in zero g!

Hanging out in the hanger after the flight

There’s our box from off the plane

Unloading the box from the lift and loading it onto our pallet for shipping

Keith bolting the plate to the pallet

Putting the shipping container back together

Kevin saying goodby to Ellington Field and getting trapped by Chad

After checking out of Ellington Field, we went to lunch at Freebirds. It is a burrito shop set up in a similar manner to Subway in that you pick your type of tortilla, meat, cheese, and other toppings. They wrap the burritos in tin foil that you can use to make tinfoil sculptures to display in their restaurant. So Kevin made a sail boat, and Dorothy and Weston made a crab that attacked the sail boat.

To celebrate a successful week and two successful flights, we went out to desert at Perry’s.

Chad, Kevin, and Grady anticipating a delicious desert

We got to watch them make the sauce for our desert right in front of us

The desert even catches on fire!

Our week down here is almost over. We will spend Saturday at the beach, and head home Sunday night! Thanks for all of your support while we have been gone this week! We can’t wait to share more of our stories with y’all!

April 28, 2012 by

Day 7- Flight Day 1

This morning the first group of B flyers were able to fly. From our team, Kevin, Grady, and Greg flew. While they were getting their medication and getting briefed about the flight, the rest of the team was getting the experiment on the plane all ready to go for them. Kevin and Grady both wore a Go Pro during the flight. And the experiment was also videoed with a camera inside the box. The first flight day was a success, and we hope tomorrow will be the same!

Making sure everything is working before the flight team has to leave

Keith and Kevin making sure things are set up correctly

Kevin and Grady checking the video camera pre-flight

Keith with the box pre-flight

A view of the inside of the Zero G plane

Grady all ready to fly!

There goes Greg, our NASA mentor!

And then there’s Kevin!

Loading the plane!

While Kevin, Grady, and Greg were floating in zero gravity, Weston, Chad, Dorothy, and Dr. Lawrence got their flight suits for tomorrow’s flight.

Weston in his flight suit

Chad’s excited to get his flight suit

Dorothy in her flight suit

Dr. Lawrence in his flight suit

Getting off the plane from the first flight!

Group B, flight group 1

Grady after a hard day of floating without gravity

Kevin after the flight and ready for some lunch

After the first group was back from flying, we prepared the box for tomorrow’s flight, got some lunch, hung out by the pool, and then headed to Rocket Park. Rocket Park is an exhibit of some of the actual rockets that sent man into space and to the moon.

This is a Saturn V rocket that takes up the whole length of the building.

Keith in front of one of the section’s rocket

From the bottom end of the rocket. The side wall had a description of the Apollo missions and their objectives

The group at the base of the rocket

Outside in front of the rocket that sent the first man into space

April 27, 2012 by

Day 6 in Houston

All the teams that participated in the Microgravity program this week were split into two groups: Group A and Group B. Today was the flight day for all of Group A. So after the morning meeting, we went out to the flight line and watched the Zero Gravity plane take off for the first round of flights this week. Our team spent the morning doing a few test runs on our experiment to ensure that everything was working properly. After that was completed, we took the extra to work on homework in the hanger and be ready for when we could load our experiment onto the plane. We braked for lunch and ventured to a BBQ place. The restaurant was located in the middle of a neighborhood and had a nice hometown feel to it. And the food was delicious! After lunch and after the second round of Group A flyers, our first group of flyers (Kevin, Grady, and Greg) got their flight suits. We were also able to load our box onto the plane so it would be ready for us in the morning.

Waiting outside the hanger to get in at 7:30 in the morning

Testing the experiment

Chad, Weston, and Dorothy out on the flight line waiting for the first group to take off

There goes the plane!


Making sure our mounting plate will fit on the plane

Our lunch spot for the day- a good Texas BBQ

The team at lunch

In our matching shirts at the door of the hanger

Kevin in his flight suit! and Dr. Lawrence and Weston working on some homework

Waiting to load the box

The boys showing off their super strength they use to move the box

Loading the box onto the lift that will take it to the plane

It’s all ready to go!

All check marks complete! Houston, we’re a go!

April 26, 2012 by

Day 5- Tours

Today we began our day with a talk given by astronaut Clay Anderson, who has spent 152 days on the International Space Station (ISS). After the talk, the flyers had another briefing about what to expect during the flight on the Zero Gravity plane. While the flyers were in the meeting, Keith (our only ground crew member) participated in an engineering robotics competition. His team got second place! For his success, he won an awesome NASA patch! Go Keith!! We had a longer lunch break than the other days today, so we decided to find a good place to eat. Weston found us a yummy Tex-Mex place close-by to eat at for lunch. We had some free time after lunch, so we went to Space Center Houston to meet up with Brad, our school photographer, and we got to fly a flight simulator and land a shuttle. At Space Center Houston, we also went to the souvenir shop and tried some space ice cream. We ended our scheduled day with a tour of the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, where they have full-size replicas of the ISS, rovers, and other space vehicles, and then we went to Mission Control, both the old and the new.

Chad, Dorothy and Weston with an astronaut in the background at Space Center Houston.

Weston using the flight simulator

Dr. Lawrence watching Chad use the flight simulator

Grady and Dr. Lawrence watching Kevin use the flight simulator

Dorothy and Dr. Lawrence in their astronaut helmets.

An astronaut mockup at Space Center Houston

Grady and Kevin excited about souvenir shopping!



The group at Space Center Houston

Weston and Chad enjoying a tour of the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility

Mission Control for the ISS

We got to watch part of the sunrise as seen from the ISS in the Mission Control

The old Mission Control used for during Apollo 13 and several other missions

The group at the old Mission Control

Dorothy and Keith admiring old school “email” originally used in the old Mission Control

Chad with the mirror that the Apollo 13 astronauts saved and presented to Mission Control

We ended the evening doing homework.

Look at those boys being so studious!

April 25, 2012 by

Day 4- Test Readiness Review Day

Today we spent the morning preparing for our Test Readiness Review (TRR). In the TRR, we tell several NASA engineers about our experiment and how it works, and they ask questions to ensure the safety of our experiment. We passed the TRR with only two simple directions: to put electrical tape around a few wire caps to ensure that no water would get in them and to place an absorbent cloth inside. After lunch, we fixed the electrical tape issue and were able to end our work day early and enjoy the sun by the pool at the hotel.

Moving our box back into the hanger for the TRR. Look at those strong guys!

Grady and Dr. Lawrence readying our aluminum plate that we will use to mount our box to the plane.

Chad and Kevin attaching a digital multimeter to the box so that we can monitor the temperature of the little experimental box.

Weston working on neatly arranging the wires inside the box.

Then Weston decided to do a little supervising.

Kevin and Dr. Lawrence putting on the rubber lining to the edges of the box.

Keith, Dorothy, Chad, Kevin, and Weston: We’re all ready for the TRR!

Kevin presenting our project to the engineers

Kevin explaining a little more in depth about how our system will work

Getting our box weighed by Fernando. He said we were the “alphas” so far. Our weight was 265 lbs.

Weight approved!

and TRR complete!

On our way out for the day, Chad locked Dorothy in the entrance/exit to the area.

After we hung out by the pool, we had dinner at the hotel and then went to play some putt-putt and then went to explore Fry’s Electronics.

Our group after a fun round of putt-putt. Keith was the winner with a score of 40!

April 24, 2012 by

Day 3- Church and Dinners

Keith playing some basketball with some junior high boys that were staying in our hotel and were here for a basketball tournament this weekend.


This morning we went to church at Clearlake Church of the Nazarene where we were warmly welcomed by the congregation.

Walking in to church!

Dr. Lawrence talking with some of the congregation about what our team is doing with NASA this week.

All ready to hear a wonderful sermon from the pastor about truly living in the resurrection of Jesus and not just knowing about it.

After church we went to lunch with the Ballards (the pastor and his family). The quote of the day was from his youngest son, Drew, when we were talking on our way to the restaurant: “This is Texas.” We were talking about a restaurant in the area that had TVs in some of the booths. Drew just wanted us to know that Texans do things bigger and better.

The girls at lunch


We like to sport our awesome shirts!

They have strawberry lemonade done the Texas way- the bigger, the better.

Our group at dinner with NNU alumni, Mark and Micki Casinger. Thanks to the Alumni Association for setting us up!


Chicken fried steak, also done the Texas way.

Our whole group after dinner.


After dinner, we came back to the hotel to make a few final adjustments to the project to make sure it’s ready for the Test Readiness Review (TRR).

Chad and Dr. Lawrence having fun while still being productive

It’s working! You might not be able to see the bubbles, but they are there!

April 23, 2012 by

A Late Lunch with the Rameys

Chuck and Fran Ramey took us out to the Taste of Texas for a late lunch today. They also brought their grandson, Colby Rice, to the restaurant. The restaurant is full of artifacts that give an insight into what is considered the Texas heritage.

They let you pick out which steak you would like.  So here we are listening to the waiter tell us about the different types of meat and how to choose a good piece.

Kevin and Dorothy are so excited to have picked out their filets.

Chad contemplating which one to choose

Weston has chosen the perfect one

Keith was ecstatic about his choice.

Greg, our NASA mentor, examining his options

Greg and his well chosen beef

The group with knives in hand and ready to dig in!

The whole group.
From left to right: Kevin, Greg, Chad, Keith, Dorothy, Chuck, Fran, Dr. Lawrence, Weston, Grady

A happy team with full tummies thanks to Chuck and Fran!


April 22, 2012 by

Morning of Day 2

We spent this morning working on our box to prepare for next week.

Kevin, Chad, and Weston working on the box.

Dr. Lawrence and Grady doing some supervising.

Grady and Kevin working on the box.

Chad and Dorothy putting in the Gore-Tex membrane.

Examining the box.

Chad, Dr. Lawrence, and Grady at Home Depot making a last minute run to get some needed parts.

Chad, Dorothy, and Grady taking a quick break and having a fight with the rubber lining we will use on the outside of the box.

Chad and Weston securing the little box.

April 22, 2012 by

Day 1- Orientation and Unpacking

Today was our first full day in Houston. We began the day by checking in and getting our NASA visitor passes and then headed off to orientation meetings about what to expect during flight and throughout the week. After a quick break for lunch, we had a safety orientation in the hanger where our projects are stored. After the orientation we unpacked our box from its shipment container and began to prepare an exciting week next week!

The first screw coming out of the shipping box!

The electric drill ran out of battery, so Keith and Dorothy finished taking the screws out manually.

Dorothy is happy to finish taking all those screws out!

Taking our shipping box apart to reveal our experimental box!

Our box made it safe and in one piece! Yay!!

Our little experimental box that will help separate the water when it boils.

The team in the hanger

Getting our box inspected before we take it to the hotel for the weekend.

April 21, 2012 by