Sunday, 14 July 2013

Day One - Meeting Astronaut Don Thomas

How to become an Astronaut!

Dr Don Thomas is an inspiration to all. He wanted to be an Astronaut from 6 years of age. Although not very academic, he knew from a  very early age that if he wanted to reach for the stars that he would have to put in the hard work at school. Whereas his brother found
learning easy, Don didn't and would have to reread his work several times to gain an understanding. His aim was to do his best at school, even if it meant it was going to be extra work. Later after getting his physics degree he applied to NASA, and was surprised that he didn't hear back from them, except in the form of a letter to say thank you, but no thanks.

Two years later he applied again. This time receiving a postcard of thanks. Again another rejection. Not deterred he began to research successful applicants, why were they so special......well, they had a pilots licence, experience parachuting, scuba diving etc. So Don knew what he had to
do. Third application went with a little more confidence, but still declined, even after several FBI checks. Don realised
that nearly all the successful applicants had a link with NASA, some other employment. So he got a job at NASA.  By now
Don was 35 years old, applied again, and he finally got that call. After 4 years of training, Don finally shot up into space.

My first Mission
Us, educators have been placed into teams - I am on team Columbus. With 13 in our team we were given many different roles. Mine was to communicate between the Orion shuttle leaving the moon with the Commander Base and bring them safely back to Earth. It was a fun activity - that did not seem to be the full two and a half hours that it actually was. These guys have a very tough role and really shows how they have to keep very calm the whole time to ensure their communication skills are top notch!

Tomorrow we begin  a new challenge,  this time we are being assessed - wish me luck!

Now a question for you!
What happens if you were to light a candle in a space station with no gravity? Think about how heat rises! What would happen to the shape of the flame?
Explain your answer, and I will tell you later in the week the answer!
(I wonder which school will get the right answer!)

Meeting Astronaut Don Thomas
Our Space Mission Play Ground!

My role was CapCom - communicating with Mark who
was in the orbiter Orion.