Monday, June 13
Great, Monday again. It is only our second one, but I can already see that I’m not going to like any of them. The day started off with a lecture on object-oriented programming, a.k.a. Programming with Python 101. By the end, we started to see how Python could come in handy, especially for the Intermodal Transportation team, who plans to use Python for their simulations. After the lecture, each team met with their mentors to essentially talk about our progress and what to work on/prepare for the week. At 1 p.m., Dennis Huff and Jim Berton gave a lengthy presentation on the sound produced by various aircraft propulsion systems and various ways to reduce this. The presentation ended with a short video taken by Dennis when he went out with a group of people to visit an aircraft carrier to take notes on the noise produced by the aircraft when taking off and possible ways to reduce this for the flight personnel. When work was over, we had our second RAP session where we discussed our upcoming camping/whitewater rafting trip and the week’s activities. After we took some pictures of our entire group, we played ultimate Frisbee in the remaining light.
Tuesday, June 14
We are finally getting some time to work seriously on our aero projects. This morning’s installment of “Object Oriented Programming” with Justin Gray was followed by a NASA interns-wide presentation on “Nuclear Power and Propulsion in Space.” This took us all the way up to lunch where everyone met in the NASA GRC cafeteria as usual. After the workday finished at 4:30, half of us went over to the on-base gym while the rest headed back to the hotel. Tuesday night meant movie night, and after some technical difficulties, we all enjoyed a documentary on the Red Flag War Games hosted in the U.S. to train fighter pilots of the allied nations.
Wednesday, June 15
The day started off with our third and final object-oriented programming in python lesson at 9 a.m. We went over interfaces and went into greater depth about the material we had already covered. After that, we had the rest of the day to work on our group projects. Lunch was at the same time as usual, the only reason why I mention it now is that the people running the cafeteria have been playing the same song over and over and over again. It goes along with the clip of all the work done on the front gate, which is played all the time. I think that song is eating away at my soul. If they don’t change it up next week, I’m afraid we won’t be able to handle it anymore. After lunch we went back to work and at about 3, Justin (the person who had been teaching us Python) dropped by and helped the Intermodal Transport team work on their coding. After work, a couple of us went to the park to play ultimate Frisbee with some of the other interns. The white team was crushed completely, but otherwise it was a fun game. When we got cleaned up, most of us stopped by Famous Dave’s to enjoy the evening in camaraderie , relaxation, and great food.
Thursday, June 16
Quote of the day: “Just indent and get on with your life.” – diveintopython.org’
Today’s events included a short trip to the 8x 6 foot supersonic wind tunnel to overview an open rotor acoustics test. We then we performed a “dry run” of the General Electric presentations we were expected to give next week. The day was otherwise committed to working on our research projects. The scheduled speaker for the evening presentation unfortunately cancelled at the last minute, but no one seemed to mind having a night off to relax. In preparation for the coming weekend’s camping/rafting trip, the meal teams each went out to purchase some food for us and whatever other items anyone needed. All told, it was a very laidback day compared to the first week’s rush of presentation after presentation.
Friday, June 17
Today was hard to keep at our work when we had an exciting weekend of camping to look forward to. Dennis Huff came in today and told us the general plan for the upcoming GE trip next Tuesday. The first day would be spent at the nearby Air Force base, with Wednesday being spent at GE. The presentations we have prepared would be done first thing once we arrived at GE. After lunch, all of us stopped by the NASA convenience store due to their 20% off Father’s Day special. After work, we all got around to leave as soon as possible to try to get to the campground before it got too late. Still we got there after dark, but it wasn’t too hard at all to set up the tents. We even got a fire going and we all had a good time talking and joking before finally going to bed.
Saturday, June 18
This morning was rough. The long thunder storm during the previous night put our tents to the test right away and everyone was talking about the amounts of water they had collected and allowed to saturate their clothes and bedding. The Space Academy had an especially bad time with their tent, which had long since lost all of its support poles and was now held up through a tangle of ropes spanning from nearby trees. Breakfast consisted of deli-style sandwiches and really helped get everyone moving.
After eating, we joined the Space Academy for a morning hike looping out from the nearby town of Ohiopyle and following the Youghiogheny River. The finale of the hike was a visit to a natural water slide. Although, saying that it was a water slide was like saying that a hurricane washes your car: sure the mud will be gone, but don’t be surprised if you find a few dents or a mirror missing. Just about everyone that braved the slide had a scrape, cut, or bruise to show for it. Armando, David, and Ryan then went back to the campsite to join with the Space Academy once again, this time for a spelunking trip in the Laurel Caverns.
Unfortunately, the remainder of the Aero Academy decided not to join and instead enjoyed sitting and chatting by a campfire for the afternoon. (In my opinion, the caverns were well worth the effort and definitely were the right choice. Seeing Armando and David pull off the “mail slot” tunnel was simply too good to miss.) After the three aeronauts returned back to the campsite we prepared the evening’s assortment of hamburgers, bratwurst, and hotdogs for dinner. The cooking process took a little ingenuity in order to use only a limited number of coals to make meals for everyone, but our special-fueled knowhow eventually won out.
Sunday, June 19
If we thought Friday night’s storm was bad, it was nothing like last night. Containers left open through the night showed a rainfall of about 3 inches. Understandably a couple of us slept in the cars as did most of the Space Academy people. After we all woke up, we broke down the tents and packed up while the breakfast crew cooked up some breakfast burritos which were quite good and just what we needed for what we figured was going to be a tough but fun day.
Once the campsite had been packed and cleaned away, we proceeded to the white water rafting check-in point and listened to the safety brief before we went on our way. The two Academies were split into three boats of 7, (a friend of Andrew came along to give the third boat its seventh member). Cameron was the leader of the boat with only Aero Academy guys and Ryan was the leader of the boat that had a mix of the Aero and Space Academies.
The rapids started off slow but picked up in intensity further down the river, helped by the extra rain during the second half of the trip. A few people fell off the boats at this time and it was quite the challenge to pull people into the boat and not get caught on a rock at the same time. By the time we ended, everyone was thoroughly soaked and really tired of being wet all the time seeing as that was the pervasive theme of the weekend. When we had changed, we all piled into our cars to begin the long journey home.