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Meet: Dan Cooper

Instrumentation Technician

My Field Journals
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Who I Am
I am an instrumentation technician in the twelve-foot pressure wind tunnel. The only pressure wind tunnel in the world capable of pressures to six atmospheres. My responsibilities in this job include: the manufacturing of cables and test equipment; insuring that all the test equipment that we use to take data is in calibration; connecting the various control lines; monitoring the pressures for the control lines and other electrical connections via the SDS data system. I also help with the assembly of the model.

My Career Path
I retired from the Navy a couple of years ago and I came straight from the Navy to this job. The work here is similar to the work I was doing in the Navy as an Avionics Technician. I joined the Navy when I was barely seventeen. In the Navy I got my high school diploma and my college degree.

Why I like my Job
I enjoy being around, observing and using the state of the art equipment that we are privy to here at NASA. And the people here really are the best in the business, I am learning a lot from them.

As a child
I read science fiction. My favorite authors are Robert A.Heinlein and Edgar Rice Burrows. One science fiction series I enjoyed was the Conan series.

Advice
If you want to be successful education is paramount. You will need to reeducate yourself because everything is constantly changing. Attention to detail is your number one asset. My advice is perseverance. Success is found in the journey not the destination. If you have a goal to be a doctor or a technician as long as you keep striving you will eventually achieve your goals. If you can't afford to go to college the Navy provides a way to get an education, and support and you get to do a lot of traveling. (I saw half a dozen countries before I was eighteen.)

Future Goals
I plan to stay in this job as long as it continues to be fun. I think I might like to teach fourth or fifth grade science at some point.

Personal
Building models is something I enjoy doing in my spare time. This is actually not that different from what I do at work, with scale model of an airplane.

 
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