Saturday, August 18, 2007

Colorado Springs - Finally and Microgravity Class

I finally made it to Colorado Springs at about midnight last night. I am staying with a good friend that I met in class this summer through the Space Foundation. My flight to Dallas was delayed until 8:40. My connecting flight to Colorado Springs left Dallas at 8:20 so I got transferred to a flight on a different airline that got me to Denver. I then had to rent a car and then had to drive the hour and a half to Colorado Springs. I finally got to Bobby’s house at about midnight.

All of the trouble was way worth it. Even though the microgravity flight isn’t for two months, the class was amazing. When we walked in we had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and then try on a flight suit. After we got the flight suit on we had our picture taken. There were a ton of cameras there and a bunch of video cameras. I don’t know what all they will do with the video but I hope that I get a copy of it. We had to give back the space suits for now but in October we will get our own to keep. Woo Hoo! Guess what I will probably be wearing to school on October 22.

Once class started, they showed us a video of a previous flight. It was really cool to see a bunch of teachers floating around crashing into each other. And they do crash into each other. They told us that this is the second year of this program. The official title is Weightless flights of discovery. They are sponsored by Northrup Grumman. A company called Zero G actually flies the airplane. We watched a really cool video about what all they do and how math and science are important. One of the guys teaching our class has actually designed experiments that have flown on the space shuttle and the space station.

After our opening where they did a really good job of just blowing us away with shock and awe about what we are going to be doing they got into the details of the flight. Probably the coolest analogy that we heard today was that the flight was like the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard. Basically from the time the car leaves the ramp until it hits the ground it is weightless. The flight is basically the same thing. We will fly in a parabola and from the inflection point (I didn’t know what this was either, from what I understand it is the point where you are not going up any more and starting to level off and start down.) you are weightless. We will fly 15 parabolas and 12 of them will be weightless.

Then the last part of the day was designing our experiments. I am in a group of 4. There are two elementary teachers, one high school science teacher and a curriculum analyst from the Space Foundation. Although we have a wide range of people in the group, I think it will be a really good mix. Our first experiment is a Cartesian diver. Kim, our high school teacher is doing this one. I’m not exactly sure what this is. I think it is a weight that sinks or floats depending on the pressure. She is also going to be holding a bottle with oil and water to see how they separate in weightlessness. Bobby is doing an experiment about mass and weight. Basically he will be standing on a scale for the zero G portion of the flight and also during the bottom of the parabola where we will be pulling 1.8 Gs. My experiment is on Newton’s Laws. I am bringing tennis balls and am going to float one and then hit it with another. This will show that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I am excited that we get to bring cameras and video cameras. The whole experience so far has been awesome. It is going to be a long wait until October 20th. Now I just hope that I can make it back to Kansas City tomorrow.

1 comment:

Eric Langhorst said...


Great post. Can't wait to hear more about your class and of course the actual flight in October. Good luck on getting the flight back to Kansas City.