When I was little, after the explosion of the Challenger, I wanted to be a Mission Controller instead of being an astronaut (as I had wanted to be for the past two years.) I admit that I got scared of being blown up on the way to orbit. (A valid fear for a 7 year old.)
So, it was Aerospace Engineering and then Mission Control. At least that was the plan...(Yes, I had "life plans" already in elementary school. I really was an older child than my years even back then.)
So, I opted for the subject I was best at and had the most fun with, History. I decided to shelve my dream of becoming an engineer involved with the space program and planned on becoming a history professor. Well, the history job has evolved into a library job at a NASA Contractor so, I've moved kinda back towards my original career path. But still, I never thought I'd get to be in Mission Control.
Until this past Tuesday that is.
That's me at the Apollo Era Mission Control Flight Director's Console. That's right. THE Console in THE Room where it all happened. This was the room that, filled with smoke and nervous engineers and astronauts, monitored Armstrong and Aldrin's descent to the lunar surface, and radioed the instructions that helped save the crew of Apollo 13 from dying of carbon dioxide poisoning.
I tell ya, it was the best day of work in my life. Especially when, as this photo was being taken, our guide said my pose was "Kranz-ian."
(Update-10/31/08): Now that I'm reflecting about this picture today and not as excited, I wanted to thank some people for helping me get where I am. Seriously, I've wanted to be in that room for 23 years. First, my family for being really supportive, especially the home made astronaut costume my mom and dad and grandparents (who had bought a toy race car driver's helmet that wound up being covered in foil and becoming an astronaut's helmet) made for me in 3rd grade. It was cool. They never stopped supporting me, (trips to Air & Space, Florida to KSC for the family vacation to Disney World), even when I made that hare-brained decision to go for a history degree. (Yeah, I can get a job with history, no sweat!) I'm glad it's worked out in the end, even I got worried for a while. Next, at Kemptown Elementary, the principal and my teachers in 4th Grade let me be part of a special program for the 5th Graders when a NASA person came to visit. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and loved every minute of it. It really helped stoke the flames of my passion for working at NASA. Now, all of my teachers and professors, especially my math and science teachers. While I didn't go into the field, I still learned a lot, and in my job I actually do use it. And finally, my friends. Thanks for sticking with me and suffering through one of the most nerdy blog posts ever.