Flight Day Friday
Today we swiped in with our official Ellington badges for the last time. It was very sad, and kind of nostalgic.
Oh, and team A2 flew in the Weighless Wonder! Also important.
While the new ground crew (team A1) twiddled our thumbs watching an online map with the plane teetering on the edge of Mexico’s airspace (“Don’t worry researchers, if the plane crashes, the Mexican government will come find us!”), team A2 (Mary, Danyelle, and Simona) flew forty parabolas in record time.
The good news: team A2 managed to do a lot of our required outreach! There was much filming!
The bad news: The box jammed after the third parabola! And no data was taken! And red dust escaped! And the blue-suits in charge put our adorable box in a plastic garbage bag to contain the damage! Everything sounds better when you add an exclamation point to the end of it!
So basically, our two teams were rather bisected: Team A1 did the research portion and team A2 did the outreach portion.
Here is our hypothesis: during the first flight, any time the second iris opened in very low gravity, some dust escaped, but during the 1 and 2 gravity times, it was unable to escape back down to the bottom compartment. Eventually, there was too much dust and the bottom iris jammed just open enough to let more dust out – causing a shutdown of the entire operation.
The moral of the story: Clean out your science box.
Towards one o’clock we packed everything up, turned in our security badges, and bid Ellington – and the microgravity program farewell.
. . . For this year, at least!
We still don’t have the official NASA pictures or videos from either of the flights, but here are some pictures from Thursday’s flight, taken by Tamra. Thanks, Tamra!
Thanks for reading! More pictures and video to follow eventually!
-Hannah and the BMC micro-G team