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January 20, 1999
QuestChat with Ken Schrock

Flight Test/Project/Instrumentation/Telemetry, Data Communication Engineer
Dallas, TX


[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 1 - 08:54:14 ]
Welcome to today's chat with Ken Schrock. The chat will begin at 10 am, Pacific. "See you" then!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 3 - 10:07:39 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] What part of being an engineer do you enjoy most?
Hi Ms. Metcalf! We will begin momentarily...

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 5 - 10:09:21 ]
Hello everyone! Welcome to today's chat with Ken Schrock! Ken is here and ready to answer your questions!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 8 - 10:11:13 ]
Welcome David and your 8th grade class! Glad you could make it today :-)

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 9 - 10:13:02 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] What part of being an engineer do you enjoy most?
What I like best is learning about new things all the time. New project or upgrades to old ones have you continually searching for new and better ways to do things. I've seen jokes about that if you pose a problem to an engineer, they won't be able to ignore, and will figure out a solution, at least in their head, before they can do anything else. BTW, Dilbert is our hero ;-)

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 10 - 10:16:12 ]
RE: [David-SussexMiddleSchool] This is an 8th Grade Science class form northern New Jersey and we have read you biographical sketch. My students have the following questions: 1. Did you like working on the Blackbird airplane? 2. Out of all the jobs that you have had what one did you like the best? 3. Did you think, because of your High School grades, that you would have made it this far? 4. How might your job change in the near future?
Working on the Blackbird makes me feel like I'm connected to something historical. It looks like something from a cartoon, zoomy and gee-whiz, and yet the more you learn about it, the more impressive it is.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 11 - 10:18:33 ]
RE: [David-SussexMiddleSchool] This is an 8th Grade Science class form northern New Jersey and we have read you biographical sketch. My students have the following questions: 1. Did you like working on the Blackbird airplane? 2. Out of all the jobs that you have had what one did you like the best? 3. Did you think, because of your High School grades, that you would have made it this far? 4. How might your job change in the near future?
I grew up wanting to be an astronaut, so I'm partial to X-33. Someday I'd like to work spacecraft again.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 15 - 10:21:05 ]
RE: [David-SussexMiddleSchool] This is an 8th Grade Science class form northern New Jersey and we have read you biographical sketch. My students have the following questions: 1. Did you like working on the Blackbird airplane? 2. Out of all the jobs that you have had what one did you like the best? 3. Did you think, because of your High School grades, that you would have made it this far? 4. How might your job change in the near future?
In high school I didn't think far or big enough to think I'd be working for NASA now. It's not too early for you to start planning about whom you'd like to work for. NASA is a good employer and we'll need bright, energetic people in the years to come. I hope you'll consider us in your plans :-)

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 16 - 10:23:38 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] Is it true that a person will be able to buy a ticket to ride in space in the next ten years, and it will cost about $5000 for an hour ride?
I think the $5000 ride is great. I don't if I'll have saved up enough for that or not. Is it technically possible, yes. Will it happen, since Burt Rutan has got some investors to pony $10 million to prove the concept, it wouldn't suprise me.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 20 - 10:25:46 ]
RE: [Victoria-MMrs.Choate/ViennaGrade] About how planes take off from Dallas/Fort Worth airport each day?
800 some departures is my first guess. We set up CTAS to handle rushes of 126 planes arriving per hour. They hit the gates, deplane passengers, refuel, reload, and send back out within about 90 minutes.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 21 - 10:27:52 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] What do you think of the Stardust Mission?
Flying out to a comet, retrieving some useful samples, and returning is an exciting mission, just from the navigational challenges.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 22 - 10:31:27 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] My fifth grade class is interested in space and science. We are in Ukiah, California. We will visit NASA/Ames in March for the Jason Project. Are there programs available for students in Texas? I used to live in Midland, Texas in the oil business. Texas is a great place to live. How do you like living there?
NASA Johnson handles tours for Texans. There's only six of us here in the Dallas area, so we're kind of small for handling tours. If you know someone in the area, I'm sure something could be arranged. I think if you start with Ames Public/External affairs and/or Susan Lee, the Quest program manager we can get you set up.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 24 - 10:33:05 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] My fifth grade class is interested in space and science. We are in Ukiah, California. We will visit NASA/Ames in March for the Jason Project. Are there programs available for students in Texas? I used to live in Midland, Texas in the oil business. Texas is a great place to live. How do you like living there?
I've lived in Kansas, California coast, desert, and now Texas. You can find fun things to do no matter where you are. I think it just depends on the attitude you take, don't you?

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 27 - 10:35:42 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] What could be challenging in the International Space Station?
Considering that you have to take everything up with you, I think planning what you need is the big challenge. Like when you work a project in the back yard, as soon as you get started you realize what you forgot. I'm looking forward to the space station or a lunar outpost being the starting place for people going to Mars.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 29 - 10:39:26 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] What new alloys make jet engines lighter?
I'm not up on the names of the latest alloys, if you're asking for what's the highest strength/weight that being used in a production setting. What I'm amazed at is the quality and therefore the material predicatability that they're able to get. Engine people talk about grain orientation and characterstics the way carpenters talk about different woods. What alloys have you been reading about?

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 32 - 10:42:13 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] What's your favorite jet?
Tough call on favorite jet. Probably 1)SR-71 2) F-15 A-E, since I worked on it 3) F-16, people in South Fort Worth may lynch me if I don't mention it 4) F/A-18 since it's so versatile 5) Learjet, if I was rich. . .

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 34 - 10:43:45 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] Was the shuttle designed off of the X-33 RLV?
The shuttle came out of work from the '60s some of which were the lifting bodies flown out of Dryden. Those same bodies are coming back as X-33, X-38, and ESA's ARD, to name a few.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 36 - 10:46:38 ]
EVERYONE: Just to let you know... there are about 15 minutes left in our chat with Ken today. Keep your questions coming!

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 37 - 10:46:40 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] What are challenges of working with jet engines?
The main spool on an F-15's engines are turning around 30,000 RPM. They are very highly balanced, but still there's lots of vibrations at frequencies you don't think about right off. For a fighter they all have to be tolerant to goofy air flow and high loads.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 39 - 10:49:12 ]
EVERYONE: The Quest Project would like to know how we're doing with our chats. Please fill out the short survey at the following URL when the chat is over. Thank you!!! http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 40 - 10:49:36 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] The alloys I have heard about include the aluminum alloys and graphics composite materials that Kelly McEntire wrote to my class last NASA chat.
The engine for the MR-UAV I used to work on weighed about 100 pounds yet put out over 1000 pounds of thrust. It wasn't much bigger than five shoe boxes placed end to end. Engineers at NASA Lewis, near Cleveland, are where they are working on the next generation of jet engines.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 41 - 10:52:12 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] If you lived in space, what project would you like to investigate?
One of the things I considered about Junior year in college was researching surface tension of fluids. You've probably seen pictures of bugs walking across water. This is due to the surface tension being greater than the bug's weight. Perhaps there's new combustion processes that could be considered space only applications. . .

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 44 - 10:56:12 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] Who is your hero?
Heros being someone I admire or would like to be like include Jesus (I won't go on further on NASA time), Werner von Braun (Saturn V designer), Jack Riddley (engineer behind Chuck Yeager's flights).

[ MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool - 45 - 10:58:15 ]
Thank you Ken Schrock for your time. Have a great day, y'all.

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 46 - 10:59:02 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] You sound like you really enjoy experimentation. Who in history do you believe started us all in space search and quest for other worlds?
As an interesting historical and scientific project, perhaps your class could look up Johannes Keppler. He was coming up with astrodynamic/spaceflight laws when oxen were still carts through the mud outside his house.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 48 - 10:59:37 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] Thank you Ken Schrock for your time. Have a great day, y'all.
Thank you Ms. Metcalf and students for your great questions! Hope you can join us for another chat real soon!

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 49 - 11:00:39 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool] Thank you Ken Schrock for your time. Have a great day, y'all.
Thanks for joining us Ms Metcalf and company. Check out Mars Orbiter and Lander for upcoming Martian missions. Thanks for the Texas farewell :-)

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 50 - 11:02:12 ]
EVERYONE: It's time for Ken to get back to his real job. Thank you so much for joining our chat today. Your questions proved you did your homework before coming to the chat! Good for you! We hope you can join us for another chat soon!

[ KenSchrock/DallasFtWorth - 51 - 11:09:11 ]
RE: [David-SussexMiddleSchool] What is the most interesting aspect of your position at NASA? How do you get security clearence to complete your job? What change in the Global Positioning System (GPS) does the X-33 need that other aircraft don't need to use to navigate?
Security clearance is not that difficult. Don't do stupid things like smoke pot, get drunk, steal, drive foolishly. Clean records and good grades definitely help. GPS doesn't need changed for X-33, it just has to be watched a lot closer than for a Cessna that can just power up for a go around. Three seconds when X-33 is on approach to landing may be the difference between a good landing and a crash investigation inquiry. NASA tries to avoid the "that's the way we've always done it" sort of mentality. It's almost embarassing to use equipment that everybody else is doing. Gee-whiz is encouraged ;-)

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 53 - 11:17:07 ]
RE: [Autumn-MMrs.Choate/ViennaGrade] What kind of messages do you send if a plane is about to crash?
I'm sorry to say that today's chat with Ken Schrock is over. It began an hour ago, at 10 am Pacific time. For upcoming chats check out: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events

 
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