National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Week 4


Bright and early Monday morning, the Academites, refreshed from their free weekend, piled into their cars to start a new work week. This morning was different than most, as we had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by Dr. Jason Cassibry of the University of Alabama in Huntsville concerning a sustainable road map for fusion propulsion. It was hot, but Nomita, unfazed by the heat, listened intently and made sure to run up after the presentation to get all of her questions answered and exchange business cards with Dr. Cassibry.

Following the presentation and to avoid the hot weather, Peter attempted to catch a ride with Kyle and Jacob to Building 49. Unfortunately, this took longer than expected as Kyle was quickly distracted, first by a visit to Mike, Nomita, Raul and Rebecca’s Pi, and then a dumpster full of piping and huge, expensive valves that sparked a debate on the legality of taking Federal trash. In the end it was decided that stealing NASA’s garbage was probably prohibited and the group departed for Building 49.

On returning, Team Super-alloy, i.e. Peter, Max and Andrew, met with their advisors to discuss where they were in their team project. Max and Andrew presented extensively on the progress in their failure analysis/temperature study and electro-polishing experiments respectively, making Peter feel insecure about his small micro-hardness case study.

At the end of work, the Aero boys and Jacob dropped the girls off at the gym and, following weeks of anticipation, finally got around to going rock climbing. After navigating a shady Cleveland backstreet and exploring what appeared to be an abandoned MRI machine they arrived at Cleveland Rock Gym, an open air climbing palace equipped with a series of rock walls of increasing difficulty and a full bouldering area. Max and Kyle, being the most experienced, volunteered to belay the newcomers while on lookers provided un-solicited climbing advice, attempted to boulder, or, in the case of Mike, snapped impromptu photos of notable falls.

Afterwards, the famished climbers crammed in a quick meal before the weekly RAP session. After listening to Danny’s pivotal masterwork of modern, free verse poetry Aero Academy, Mike, having recently returned from his RC flight competition, regaled us of his aerial feats, serving as the reserve pilot responsible for the takeoff and landing of a complicated aircraft capable of navigating a course and finding/tagging targets. Additionally, we all rejoiced at the news that we would get the 5th of July off in return for working an extra hour each day. At the end of the evening, following GaRam’s example, the entire group descended into laughter for a solid ten minutes, for no apparent reason, clearly everyone is handling the pressure of the program swimmingly.


Tuesday arrived in much the same fashion as Monday. The Academites departed for work and intently began working on their projects. Andrew was able to finally set up a rig for electropolishing, after a days-long struggle to find a lab stand and an interesting quest to find a pan with a flat bottom. After a bit of adjustment, he electropolished a few samples. Despite a brief moment of frustration with the Alicona microscope, he was able to determine that the rig was working, and the polished surfaces turned out far better than previous handheld trials. This came as a relief after days upon days of polishing and measuring surfaces.

Meanwhile, also in building 49, Max was hard at work running fatigue tests until failure on a number of specimens, a procedure that required him to record values every 15 minutes until the specimen fractured. These tests were run at elevated temperatures and a sine-wave load, and usually took several hours to complete.

In the afternoon, the Academites all attended a summer employee overview. This was an overview on the Research and Technology Directorate by Director Dr. Jih-Fen Lei, and an overview of all divisions by all the directorate’s division chiefs. Afterward, all the summer interns gathered outside for a group photograph, which occurred only after several minutes of shuffling and adjusting to make sure that every intern’s face was visible.

The Academites enjoyed a restful free evening, during which some made their daily trip to the gym. A group of Academites then got stuck at Walmart because of torrential downpour. GaRam was kind enough to pick them up.


Once again the Academites assembled in the hotel lobby and left for work. Despite a dry start to the day they all received a shot in the arm with a second brown bag lunch to meet the new summer interns. There, Kyle educated everyone about the importance of a well-constructed elevator pitch; of particular interest was Max’s description of his experiences as a dragon hunter. The meeting ended with a massive game of “rock, paper scissors.”

Returning to the hotel after their extra hour of work aero rushed to the second floor conference room for pizza and to listen a talk on of Tom Benson’s career. After the presentation Danny, GaRam, Max, Peter and Raul, restless from sitting all day and in desperate need of physical activity, departed for the gym at about 9 p.m., worked out, then retired for the evening.


In the morning, the Academites were fortunate enough to be able to watch a very cool drop test in the Zero-G tower. Unfortunately, Andrew, Peter, and Max were unable to attend, as they had a three hour meeting with a company representative to discuss the project they are working on.

In the evening, the Academites enjoyed another free evening, making the usual trip to the gym and some additional relaxation.


Friday morning saw the Academites, or at least Team Superalloy, scrambling to finish their work for the week in the mere three hours that they had to devote to their team projects. Andrew attempted to finish electropolishing compression samples, while Max ran further tests and Peter continued microhardness testing. At 11:15, the Aero Academy met in Building 49 with Dr. Kankam to discuss the updated requirements from NASA Headquarters regarding their project-related videos. After much discussion, a date was finally established by which the interns had to finish their video. Following the meeting, the Academites met to work on their group project. At 3 p.m., the Aero and Space Academies joined a videoconference with all the Academies from other NASA centers across the USA, as well as Virgin Galactic.


Following a lazy morning, the Aero and Space Academites departed for the Great Lakes Science Center. There, weathered NASA RAs comingled with grade schoolers while attempting to land the space shuttle and play with the smoke vortex exhibit. Upon leaving the center, Aero RAs headed for the Tower City Observation deck. Feeling the building deck was not tall enough to merit a 5 dollar ticket price, Max, Mike, Raul, Nomita and Rebecca, hungry from the day’s activities, made a beeline for the food court, while Kyle, Danny, Andrew, GaRam and Peter ascended to the observation platform. After getting a nice aerial view of traffic and a small airplane landing and taking off, and exploring a corporate office equipped with comfy leather sofas, flat screen TVs, an espresso maker and mints, the two groups reunited and went home.

Later that evening, all the RAs traveled to the Slovenian Workmen’s Home for a night of swing dancing. However, the Pro-Bros, Max, Danny, Garam, Raul and Andrew, felt they had to go to the gym beforehand and agreed to meet later. In the end, despite Peter and Chris’s fumbling steps and a general hesitance to dance, Nomita and Rebecca insured everyone had a good time as Denise and Kier of Space Academy amazed us with their dancing skills.

The night ended with an attempt to watch “Reservoir Dogs” in Danny and Peter’s room, which quickly decayed into an airing of everyone’s favorite YouTube videos.


On Sunday everyone was given a chance to relax and recharge. No specific activities were planned so people took the time to stock up on groceries, do laundry, and finish up some work on their team and group projects. At some time a group of people went to the gym, but no one could be bothered to remember who they were.