Monday, June 13: We did another pad walk down in preps for tanking on Wednesday. We had some weather over the weekend, so we are looking for any changes since Friday. I had the opportunity to come to the pad later and see some of the final preps to the Aft skirt (bottom) of the SRB. I’ve seen the SRB in storage, being built, after flight and now being prepped on the pad for launch. The boosters are so big that you would not know I was in there if you weren’t in there too. I was standing straight up and was completely engulfed by the skirt.
Tuesday, June 14: Was supposed to be a 18 hour shift but weather cut it short. It was over 100 degrees out and extremely humid. We had some visitors from MSFC and were asked to give them a tour of the pad. There were four guys, two current staff, two retired. One of the retired guys worked all the programs-Gemini, Mercury, Apollo, Sky Lab, and Shuttle. It was so cool talking with him and listening to his stories and experiences with the different programs. The two retired guys are part of the crew that started the post flight assessment of the SRBs. Pieces of the original program are still used today, but a lot has changed. These two were part of pioneers that got the Shuttle Program underway and they wanted to come back to KSC and see the last mission prep. After we finished touring them we began prep for RSS Rollback and the Tanking Test. I was part of the L-1 walkdown team and our walk was cut short because of lightening. We ended up going into a hold around 4pm. We finally called it a day at midnight. It was still storming and all of the work we were supposed to complete was delayed for the next shift. Got home and was in bed around 1am and had to get up and be back at 7am because of all of the weather delays.
Wednesday, June 15: 11:30pm and my day is just about finished. Today was a day of firsts for me. I sat on console in the Ice Castle (we monitor the ET for ice, cracks, etc) and I got to experience a real tanking and had actual responsibilities assigned to me. It’s neat hearing and seeing it all come together. After tanking it was time to drain the tank and go inspect the it. I was able to wear my monkey suit and be a part of the Post Tanking Inspection Team. Our job is to walk the entire pad from top to bottom and inspect the vehicle-primary focus is on the ET, then Orbiter, then SRBs, then MLP. We are looking to see how each piece responded and reacted to tanking and unloading. The RSS is rolled out and the Orbiter is exposed. The xenon lights are showcasing the vehicle and there was the most incredible just about full orange/red moon. About four hours after being in the monkey suit, I was able to strip it off. As fashionable as it is, I am very happy to be sitting in my sweaty t-shirt and shorts. What a neat experience. Based on the team leaders decision tonight, I have earned myself a spot on the Post Launch Inspection Team.
Heading home for a shower and bed…back at 7am.