Monday began as usual, with early morning breakfast in the cafeteria and then on to the office. Work was comprised of last-minute preparations for the Washington D.C. trip and work on the technical memorandums which awaited all 3 groups on return to NASA Glenn. At 2:30 p.m. the group met the Glenn airport shuttle by the hangar parking lot and began the journey to D.C. Little did we know that we would run into a five-hour delay to finally have our flight canceled. Luckily, for the individuals who packed light and only had carry-on bags, we were rerouted to another flight with direct service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Upon arrival at the hotel, the group got settled in and then went to find food. Also, a few people went to see the Capitol building at night.
Tuesday morning began with a long bus ride to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, also referred to as “the hangar.” At the hangar, we were able to see hundreds of airplanes, the main ones being the Concord, a SR-71 and the X-35. After only briefly being at the center, the group had to return downtown for a tour of the Capitol building. The Academy was guided around the Capitol building, shown all of the major rooms and given the rich history behind the rooms and their purpose over the years. Following the Capitol tour, the group headed to Clyde’s restaurant in a nicer side of China Town for a delicious dinner with the entire Aero group that visited NASA Headquarters.
Wednesday was the big day we all had been preparing for so long — presentations to Jaiwon Shin, now Associate Administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), and his senior staff. We all woke up early so we could put on our coats and ties. After grabbing a quick breakfast, we headed out to the headquarters building for our final presentations. After 30 minutes of anticipation, Dr. Jaiwon Shin and a number of ARMD directors came in and greeted us. One by one, each team delivered their presentation. We received many compliments, and the whole audience was very impressed with our research. When the last team finished, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief — we were done with the big part of the internship that we had been anticipating for so long. After this, we headed back to the hotel and took a long journey involving metros, greyhounds, and rental cars that, after nearly 5 hours of travel, got us to our hotel in Virginia.
Thursday we woke up early to visit Langley Research Center. While there we were exposed to a wide variety of different projects that were interesting to everyone. We were taken to an acoustics demonstration, a transonic wind tunnel, a lunar landing site used by astronauts in the 1950s and ’60s, and many more. Many of us greatly enjoyed these tours and were glad to have the opportunity to see these facilities. At the end of the day, we all headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the hotel’s happy hour. Many of us ended the night going out to a steakhouse and then getting to bed somewhat early.
On Friday, we had a half day of tours at Langley, where we were able to tour additional facilities. After this, just before we departed, we were told there was one more location to tour — the F-22 flightline. We all were very excited to get within a few hundred feet of the planes and see them in the real world. After spending a few minutes looking through the fences trying to see everything possible, we finally ended our tours, and then headed over to Virginia Beach where many of us walked on the boardwalk. After a few hours passed we all got in our cars and went to the airport. A few hours of plane rides later, we all got back to Cleveland safe and sound.
On Saturday, the majority of the Academy members were pretty slow to get moving, recovering from the past week’s travels. Once up, the majority of the group enjoyed the nice day outside. David also enjoyed teaching two young kids the art of belly flops and cannonballs, while the others enjoyed a few laughs observing. Despite his efforts, David was unable to perform a satisfactory “flying squirrel” belly flop. Saturday night brought a trip downtown, spending the night with a group of NASA interns.
Sunday was a very laid-back day, with the main event of the day being dinner at Dr. Kankam’s house. The group enjoyed a very nice home-cooked dinner and returned back to the hotel to get ready for work on Monday.