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Friday, January 23, 2004

23-25 JAN 04

Everything becomes routine. My job for instance. Most of my days are spent sitting in the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) Library, a maze of rooms in a bland, asbestos tiled building, performing inane copy shop tasks for NASA engineers, while being driven mad by the prolix directions of the library lead. Smile, nod, breathe deeply, repeat.

The thing that saves the job are the Space Program Moments™. A Space Program Moment™ is when our library fills a request for something that impacts an ongoing mission. For example, two years ago a problem with a door on a shuttle mission had the section that deals with the shuttle’s heating/cooling looking for a document that a flight rule had been based on. This problem might have affected the shuttle’s ability to re-enter. We found the document, the rule was reviewed, and the mission proceeded. It was really a small thing, but our work affected a mission. How cool is that?

Another Space Program Moment™ came to me this week. The Operations Support Officers (OSOs) sit ("sit" is JSC NASA-ese for "the location of ones work area"; "I sit on the third floor, near the Flight Directors’ coffee machine.") just near the library. The OSOs are experts on various items of space station equipment, the mechanics of the ISS. They occasionally speak to Mission Control or the ISS itself on the phone and talk the crew through repair procedures. On Wednesday an OSO came to the library and asked for a drawing to be printed readably and quickly. The task was simple, so I gave him one hour as a delivery time and got more info from him. After looking at the job closer, I dropped the time to one half-hour. He returned to his desk and I got to work on the job. It was done in twenty-five minutes. I’m good.

Since he was mere yards away, I brought the drawing to the OSOs desk. He was on the phone with, possibly, the ISS. Possibly, okay? When I returned, I sent him an email asking for details about the issue. He was kind enough to fill me in. The ISS crew was having a problem reattaching a panel. The drawing was needed to review the procedure and for a closer look at the panel.

A problem on the International Space Station was cleared up and I helped. A spacecraft. In orbit. Astronauts. Cosmonauts. Mission Control. OSOs. And me.

How cool is that?

"I’m useful." – Alec L. Fatherree

posted by latiolais at 0800  

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