Archive for January, 2007

Alligator parking lot

We had the most beautiful day today: sunny, clear and a little bit cooler than it has been with highs in the upper sixties. Believe it or not, that is a cool down for us. At work this afternoon, some of the guys came to find me and asked if I had my camera. I did, because I am rarely without it, and several of us took the van and drove just a little down the road to a spot I often walk to or ride my bike to at lunch, a body of water we call “Gator Lake.” From these photos I took, you can see why we call it that. They had been driving by and saw the alligators stacked up on the banks like cars in a parking lot and wanted to share.

I have seen alligators there before, but I have never seen them in numbers such as what we saw today. The guys counted at least forty-eight huge ones all out of the water on the banks at the same time. Definitely photo worthy. The real close up photos you see really were taken from a very close distance from the huge dinosaurs, but I took them from the van, there was no way I was getting out with those guys out there! I am pretty sure the gators know that they are living on a wildlife refuge, because they are about as lazy and unconcerned as could be.

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Semi-interesting space stuff

Today we got an FRCS, which is a space shuttle’s Forward Reaction Control System. You might recognize it, it fits on the orbiter just below the “windshield” or the windows where the commander and pilot look out, right across the nose of the ship. This particular one belongs to Discovery, which just returned to earth from space in December. We have a little bit of work to do on it to get it ready for its next mission, so we transported it to our facility today. Lifting the FRCS into the building and onto the stanchions it rests on is a big ordeal, a hazardous operation due to propellants on board. Here are some photos I took just before the lifting operations began showing the convoy arriving at our building and the FRCS on the trailer.

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Work complete

Today at work we finished nearly a year’s worth of work on one of Space Shuttle Endeavour’s OMS pods. OMS stands for Orbital Maneuvering System, and the OMS pods are the two large “bumps” on the orbiter towards the aft on either side of the tail. They house the thrusters and associated systems that allow the orbiter to manuever in space. Here are some photos of the pod on the trailer getting ready to join the convoy to the Orbiter Processing Facility after we spent this morning completing preoperations and then finally lowering it down onto the trailer with a pendant crane.

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