Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pluto Day!!!! Part 2

When last we left off Matt and the kids were off to the K-Center for the festivities and I was heading back to the MOC to await the signal from the spacecraft telling us that it successfully completed the fly-by.

The MOC was getting pretty busy. No one wanted to miss out so we all squeezed into a spot. We were waiting for 15 minutes of telemetry that the spacecraft had turned back to earth to transmit. Not only would the telemetry tell us that our little ship had survived but also whether or not it had encountered any problems and had it recorded all the data expected (images etc.). Meanwhile, behind us in the conference room watching through the glass were a good amount of important people just waiting for the call that everything was nominal. Nominal, people in the space industry really like that word. It conveys so much with just 7 letters.

Instead of writing about our excitement, you can watch it all unfold here. You can find me in the middle left hand side of the room. (Notice the use of 'nominal' quite a bit).

The excitement in the room was more than I was expecting. Once all the of the subsystems reported 'nominal' and we knew that we had recorded the expected amount of data there was rejoicing! And maybe a few tears. And lots of fist pumps. All of the people waiting semi-patiently in the Situation Room poured in. The rest of the 15 minute telemetry track is a bit of a blur.

When the track was over, it was decided that our Mission Operations team would walk over to the K-Center so we could be congratulated on stage. The website www.theverge.com got some of the best pictures of us. We were hot, sweaty, and emotional. And it was awesome. (Full article link here.)

And best of all, there was a standing ovation for our Mission Operations Manager, Alice. Cause she is awesome.

It was an amazing day and I'm so glad that my family was there to share it with me. And I'm proud of all of the people that I work with; it took an entire team to make this happen. As more and more amazing pictures are coming down, we know we have only scratched the surface of what we will learn about this amazing planet.