Here I am sitting in an actual chair used in the space shuttle
and it is definitely designed for function and not comfort. We also saw a floor that was sort of like a gigantic air hockey table. The chairs that are put on it "float" as the astronauts practice performing tasks on this chair, moving around as if they were weightless.
Next we went into a robotics lab and met
"Robonaut." This is a prototype of a robotic assistant for space walks and some day might be controlled from inside the space station by an
astronaut wearing gloves and a virtual reality visor. If the astronaut closes a hand, so does Robonaut. Versions of this might go on a future Mars rover or help repair something on the space station.
NASA is also working on a version that moves like a spider. "Spidernaut" has 8 legs and distributes it's weight among them in order to travel over avariety of terrains such as the surface of Mars.
Next was the observation area of Mission Control for the space shuttle and we were
just in time to see a ceremony hanging a large patch honoring the team for the last shuttle mission, the one that successfully repaired the Hubble Telescope for the last time. 6 of the 7
astronauts from that mission were there and the Mission Director handed out awards to most of the teams. He gave a special award to the team that supported the space walks and they got to hang the patch.
From here, we went to Mission Control for the Apollo missions. This was the actual room
where they did all of the missions, including landing on the moon. Hanging from the ceiling
was a flag flown on the moon and then brought back to Earth. Hollywood recreated it perfectly for the movie Apollo 13.
Tomorrow, our alternate flyer, Aliya, gets to fly with one of the other schools and we'll be there to support her. After that, I'm headed to the airport to return home. The official NASA photos of our flight will be posted next week and we will have the video in a few weeks. It's hard to believe that the trip is almost over.
Yesterday's flight seems like a dream.