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  • -= Mercurious Chat =- (hodges Chat Log)Hosted by Lt. Col. Mike Hodges of International Space Station Mission Control Center

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Welcome to the Space Explorers, Inc., chat with Lt. Col. Mike Hodges, former Mission Controller at Johnson Space Center.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    What are some of the things CATO has control over at Mission Control?

    CATO operates several sub-systems: S-Band for commanding to the station and for voice with the crew, Ku-Band for Video and Audio which ties into the S-Band System.

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    Room opened by Moderator on 12/15/03 at 10:00.

    Karen Schonauer - Teacher at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    If all the computers or communication devices all fail what do you do? Have they ever failed?

    Yes they have failed. We have procedures in place for the crew to contact MCC over either Russian or US ground sites.

    Nick - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Do you like your job on the space station.

    I did like it, I'm now back on active duty in the Air Force, but hope to return one day.

    Aaron - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Is it fun watching people in space?

    We always enjoyed seeing what the crew was doing. Some of their tasks were placed on NASA TV and some not.

    Bonnie Zak - Chat Guest at from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    With all the technology that changes so quickly, how is the Space Station able to to keep up to date and utilize it?

    They can't. It's very expensive to build each component and place it on orbit. Once a capability is on station, it will probably not change for awhile.

    Elizabeth Lazar - Chat Guest at Barron High School from Barron, WI asks:
    What was one of the most challenging aspects of working at Mission Control?

    First, getting certified! I spent the first two years studying and working simulations. Second, once certified and sitting console - troubleshooting onboard system failures (real-time).

    Aaron - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Have you ever been at Cape Canaveral to see a shuttle launch?

    I went to the Cape to see a launch, but it was pushed back a week. Sad me!

    Rebecca - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Have you ever been in a space shuttle

    Only the simulators. I actually flew several launches and landings - lots of fun!

    Andrew - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    how many times do you call the space shuttle when it is in space??

    Since I supported the Space Station, I had no direct interface with the Shuttle crew.

    Rebecca - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    How does the camera work ?

    There are several cameras both inside and outside of Station. The camera is attached to a port that allows MCC to control its motion and focus.

    Dustin - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Is it hard to use the cameras?

    Not really, it's actually a bit of art knowing when to send the command to start/stop the camera movement since each command is delayed a bit.

    Jesseca - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Have a asteroid ever hit the space shuttle

    I've heard of some small objects that have hit both station and shuttle. The damage to both was significant.

    Elizabeth Lazar - Chat Guest at Barron High School from Barron, WI asks:
    Do you help assist in training the astronauts on how to use the communications equipment?

    Sometimes. There is actually people trained to teach the crew how to operate all the equipment. We also work with them for our own training.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    How much of a delay is there between sending a command and the station receiving it?

    Depend. If you are operating S-Band low data rate it can take about 10 seconds. If high data rate (nominal) about 3 seconds.

    Dustin - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    How long have you been working there?

    I worked at JSC/NASA for about five years. I just left last March to return to active duty in the Air Force.

    Ashley - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    is it fun controlling the space cameras?

    It's the best part of the job. Zooming in on the earth!

    Elizabeth Lazar - Chat Guest at Barron High School from Barron, WI asks:
    Since you are in the Air Force, do you want to become an astronaut?

    I think about it - not sure if I would be ready or committed at this time.

    Jesseca - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    How much damage did the small objects do?

    Shuttle: crack a window, no leaks. Station, damaged the S-Band radiator - no affect.

    Nick - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    What do you fly in the air force?

    I use to fly on the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). Right now, I fly a desk!

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    What kinds of problems arise that CATO has to troubleshoot?

    Loss of forward and return link; loss of video, loss of audio to name a few.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    What were some of the aspects of your job as CATO that you enjoyed or found particularly satisfying?

    The most satisfying missions are those that involve adding a new component to the station and getting it activated.

    Nick - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    How is your job cool

    Not many folks have or will work in the Mission Control Center. Getting to command to a spacecraft and watching it respond is way cool. Beside, you get to wear a headset and talk on radios - chicks dig it!

    Dustin - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    How long is the space shuttle?

    I don't have specifics, but check out NASA's web sites for the answer.

    Jesseca - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    What other jobs have you had?

    Air Force: AWACS controller, Battle Director in Korea, Battlestaff at HQ NORAD, and sevela staff assignments, and of course - CATO!

    Nick - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    What is your favorit part of you job?

    Working the CATO console. The work is fun, keeps your attention, and not much paperwork.

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    Coul you tell us about a time when you had to work as a team in order to accomplish a difficult challenge?

    One problem all flight control team members never want to happen is Loss of Attitude Control. For the CATO it means potential loss of communications. It takes everyone working together through multiple procedures to regain attitude control. As a team member you are expected to know the procedures and act quickly. Lots of pressure to perform correctly the first time.

    Elizabeth Lazar - Chat Guest at Barron High School from Barron, WI asks:
    How modern is all the communications equipment at CATO?

    I wouldn't say it was real modern, but it does the job as it was designed to do. We can always use better capabilities, but that comes with a cost to the tax payers.

    Jesseca - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    How many years have you been in NASA

    I was a NASA for five years. Just left last March to return to the Air Force.

    Jesseca - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Have you ever met any astronauts?

    Yes, but my interface with them is very limited. I've worked with several CAPCOMs.

    Ashley - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Have you ever been in space if so. How was it?

    I've never been in space, but met those that have.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    What is your educational background?

    I recived a BS in Electronics Engineering Technology, received training in command and control operations, and I'm currently working on a Masters Degree.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    What other things did you have access to becuase of your job, that the average person would never get to see or experience?

    Sometimes the crew allows us to "come onboard" by the use of an internal camera. We get to watch a day-in-the-life of the crew and some of the funny things they do.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    Have you ever flowin on the KC-135 Vomit Comet?

    No. I did use to fly T-37 and T-38 aircraft - experienced negative g's which is like the VC.

    Ella Madsen - Chat Guest at Stearns Middle School from St. Cloud, MN asks:
    Was working for NASA a goal you had or did you just stumble into it?

    It was a goal many years ago, but life and work got in the way. But that life involved many of the things NASA was looking for at the time I was hired. Specifically, operational experience.

    Ella Madsen - Chat Guest at Stearns Middle School from St. Cloud, MN asks:
    what would you like to see happen in the next 100 years of flight?

    Complete Station contruction, setup a base on the moon, then go to Mars.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    What are some of the funny things you have seen astronauts do?

    Fly through the air riding a vacuum cleaner. Wearing Santa Clause hats that stand up on there ends - looks like a dunce hat.

    Nick - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    what kind of communication did you have on the space staion/

    Voice through the Audio and S-Band subsystem; Video through the Ku-Band and Video Subsystem, UHF, and VHF.

    Jesseca - Student at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    What is your main job?

    At NASA I was the Communication and Tracking Officer. I worked the communciations (voice and data) links from the earth to the station.

    Ella Madsen - Chat Guest at Stearns Middle School from St. Cloud, MN asks:
    Do you think Pres. Bush will announce new NASA plans on Wednesday?

    Yes! I can't wait!!!! If NASA is going to move beyond Low Earth Orbit, we need the political will and congressional backing.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    What is the atmosphere like in MCC? (business like, family like, etc)

    It's always business. There are times during loss of signal when we can relax, go outside and get some fresh air. We do tell jokes and try and get the best of each other at times.

    Ella Madsen - Chat Guest at Stearns Middle School from St. Cloud, MN asks:
    Do you think NASA will build new space equipment or use commercial companies?

    Yes. NASA normally contracts out most of their work to commercial companies. Companies competing for contracts help control costs.

    Karen Schonauer - Teacher at West Elementary from East Rochester, Ohio asks:
    Thank you so much for answering our questions. We need to start Math class. The students would rather send questions.:)

    I can be contacted at: michael.hodges@eglin.af.mil

    Chrissy Paape - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from De Pere, Wisconsin asks:
    If you had one closing thought or piece of advise for inspiring students planning to someday be part of Mission Control, what would it be?

    Science and Math should be your focus. Using what you learn in practical applications will give you the experience to apply for a NASA position.

    Alicia Baturoni - SEI Staff at Space Explorers from Green Bay, Wisconsin asks:
    If we are to return to the moon, do you think we have to invent new technologies or use what we already have?

    I think we can return to the moon by using commercial off the shelf technologies. Remember, we went to the moon in the 1960s and 70s using technology that we would consider stone age now. New types of vehicles for transporting us to the moon surface would be someting new to look at.

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    The chat room will be closing in a few minutes. Thank you for joining us. And we would especially like to thank Lt. Col. Mike Hodges for being our guest today. Please join us again on Wednesday Jan. 7, 2004 from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. CST when we chat with Dr. Alan Binder about the Lunar Prospector Mission.

    Brian Dannemiller - Moderator at Space Ed from De Pere, Wisconsin comments:
    12/15/2003 10:58:24 AM - Room closed by Moderator. Thank you for your participation.

     
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