Today we came back to work after yet another week of travel in Washington DC/Norfolk. While it always seems to feel like adjustment coming back from time away, the fact that we had done our final presentations the previous week was a mild source of consolation. Knowing that the final paper was to be completed this week, however, prevented any premature celebrations. We had already set up most of our paper over the previous weeks so we spent the whole work day collecting the final results and putting finishing touches on our background information.
After work, Joseph Prahl, a professor from Case Western Reserve University, visited us at our hotel to tell us a little about his experience as a mission specialist in the NASA astronaut program. While he never got to travel to space, he had quite a few interesting stories to tell us about some of the projects he worked on and people he had worked with. He spoke freely of the fact that some may feel that dedicating a few years of your life to a program such as this without actually having the chance to participate in the final journey could be quite a disappointing prospect. However, by the end of his talk, I feel he had more than adequately supported his argument that “it’s the journey, not the destination, that is truly important.”
A normal day of work was followed by a free evening because our intended speaker had to reschedule for the following week. Accordingly, everyone pretty much relaxed and/or worked on the final paper as needed.
The day at work was spent much like the two before it, continuing preparation of our final papers. After work half of the academy went to work out in the gym, this time including yours truly, old man Cameron. After demonstrating just how badly out of shape an old man can be, we headed off to the Ohio Aerospace Institute for dinner and a lecture. This particular evening was much different from most of our normal lecture evenings in that the event was open to the public. We all ate several plates of free pizza while engaging in a merciless game of go fish, a game in which I believe many participants were cheating (except me of course because I would never do such a thing) ultimately resulting in my defeat.
After this we attended a lecture on “Organizational Silence” by Jay Pittman. This talk stressed the importance of having a workplace environment that promotes open communication between different levels of employment and avoiding a “climate of silence.” He stressed how this organizational silence can lead to accidents by presenting an example of an accident that had occurred while testing the effect of water ingestion in aircraft engines. In this accident, which he displayed via a video, there was a deviation from the original plan, which no one questioned and this change resulted in the pilot losing control of the test aircraft upon landing and crashing shortly thereafter.
Work today was again spent writing and revising our final papers. The day was rather uneventful so there is not much to discuss here really, so just to make things a little more interesting, I will leave you an interesting quote of my selection for you to ponder:
“I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue” -Einstein
Today was another rather uneventful day at work (working on the final paper of course), although we were given a tour of the hangar at NASA Glenn where we saw a Learjet and three Lockheed Vikings. Following work, the whole of the NASA Glenn Aeronautics Academy gathered together to revel in each other’s company. And so it is times like these, with the work of the summer finally concluding, that you begin to realize just how much camaraderie has come to be.
On Saturday, the Academy was scheduled to fly RC planes. This turned out to be quite an interesting affair with both Henry and Santiago clumsily crashing the planes that were quoted as being easy for even children to pilot. Sunday was a free day for most of us except for Ryan and Dave who both went skydiving.