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Space Team Online QuestChat

Date: February 9, 2000

Featuring: Michael Ciannilli
Test Project Engineer
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL

Wed Feb 9 11:43:39 2000

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 2 - 09:59:38 ]
Hello to our Space Team Online chat participants. Welcome to today's chat with Michael Ciannilli from NASA Kennedy Space Center. Michael is a test project engineer, and is joining us from the Firing Room today. We're glad Michael is here with us today to answer our questions.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 3 - 10:01:12 ]
Michael will attempt to answer as many questions as he can. However, he may need to leave us early for special activities in preparation for the upcoming space shuttle launch.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 10:01:33 ]
And now, here is Michael Ciannilli to answer your questions.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 8 - 10:03:32 ]
Hi! I would like to welcome everyone to the Cape today!!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 9 - 10:05:45 ]
RE: [Liam] Hi Mike, it's me Liam the English guy that sent you an e-mail and you replied to, remember?? Just to let you know I will be watching the chat and want to know what part of the Space Shuttle do you find most interesting???????
Hi Liam. I sure do remember you. Hope you are doing well. That is an interesting question. There really isn't a certain part that I find more interesting than any other. In my job I get exposed to all aspects and I find them all interesting in their own way.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 11 - 10:07:23 ]
RE: [Birtu] Have you ever gone to space? If not, do you want to go to space and can you?
Hi Birtu! No, I have never gone to space. If given the opportunity I think it would be an awesome trip to take. I haven't pursued that direction as of yet.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 12 - 10:09:11 ]
RE: [Birtu] How does someone become an astronaut?
Well, you actually contact NASA and request an application to become an astronaut candidate. However, long before this you should be focusing on your education and related experiences so that you can submit the most impressive application you can.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 15 - 10:13:12 ]
RE: [TonyChenFriendsLowellElementarySchool] What does the fuel cells look like? How do they work? Why are the external tanks painting in red? Can it be blue or other colors? How many external tanks do the shuttles use so far? I can't watch your video when it is online because I have to be in the classroom. But I will watch it later. I wish you answer my questions this time. Please don't forget to say my name. My name is Tony Chen from Lowell, San Jose. Thank you.
Hi Tony! It is very nice to have you with us today. Well you have several questions so here we go.... The fuel cell looks like a long rectangular box about 4 feet long and 1 foot high by 1 foot wide. They, through a quite complicated chemical process, convert liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into electrical energy and water. As for the external tank, actually the natural color of the insulation is orange. We could paint them but we don't because that would add extra weight to the vehicle. We use 1 tank per launch, so we have used 97 so far since 1981.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 16 - 10:13:22 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we ask that you share your thoughts with us. You can send your comments to us by visiting our QuestChat Information Center, at http://quest.nasa.gov/qchats. We look forward to hearing from you after today's chat!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 19 - 10:15:21 ]
RE: [Birtu] What other jobs are available?
NASA and the various contractors have thousands of jobs, consisting of everything from engineers to technicians, scientists to a whole host of various disciplines.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 20 - 10:15:56 ]
RE: [MichelleMock] Hi Mike! I just got back from a three day teacher field trip with the Mars K-12 Educational outreach project from ASU. Among other things we got to go to NASA Dryden and saw the 747 that carries the space shuttle when it lands at Edwards and we got to go inside it AND sit in the cockpit! I have some questions that my students asked after they heard about the trip.
Wow that must have been neat!!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 23 - 10:18:15 ]
RE: [MichelleMock] If rain and other weather conditions can harm the finish of the space shuttle when it is in flight aboard the 747, how damaging is rain if it is just waiting on the ground to be transported. How do they protect the shuttle when it is not being transported?
Hello Mrs. Mock. True during ferry flight on the 747, we stay clear of any rain to prevent any damage. On the ground we are pretty much ok. Rain does not hurt because the tiles are waterproofed. However, hail would do damage. We pay very close attention to weather and potential weather at all landing sites.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 24 - 10:19:30 ]
RE: [Birtu] How big is the space shuttle?
The Space Shuttle is about 184 feet long, and 78 feet wide. At launch the vehicle weights 4.5 million pounds.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 25 - 10:22:06 ]
RE: [MichelleMock] Do birds cause problems for the shuttle if they land on it when it is sitting on the ground? Kids want to know if birds ever sit on the shuttle and *mess* on it.
Well, actually we do get concerned with birds. We have had woodpeckers in the past peck holes into the insulation on the external tank, so we do keep an eye on them. From time to time they do land on the tank, and we try to "scare" them off.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 27 - 10:24:17 ]
Be sure to visit our Black History Month chat schedule at http://quest.nasa.gov/qchats/special/mlk00. We have many exciting chats scheduled with NASA experts during the entire month of February. We hope you can join us!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 28 - 10:24:39 ]
RE: [Birtu] How do space shuttles launch into space?
Well we have very powerful rocket engines to lift these awesome machines into outer space. The orbiters have 3 main engines which generate thrust along with the two solid rocket boosters. The boosters provide the majority of the required power.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 29 - 10:25:24 ]
RE: [Birtu] How long does it take to get into space?
It takes the Space Shuttle about 8 1/2 minutes to get into orbit.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 35 - 10:29:36 ]
RE: [Birtu] What is the inside of the space shuttle like, are there different rooms?
Well the living quarters is divided into two areas. There is the flight deck on the upper portion where we actually control the shuttle ( kinda like an airplane cockpit ). Then below that we have the middeck area where we have space for experiments, along with the living quarters which has the bathroom, food station and sleeping area.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 36 - 10:31:27 ]
As a reminder, Michael is chatting with us from the Firing Room at NASA KSC. He is simultaneously working with team members in preparation for the upcoming launch this Friday, February 11 at 12:30 p.m. EST. He will do his best to answer your questions as soon as he can. Be sure you've read Michael's profile at http://quest.nasa.gov/space/team/ciannilli.html to prepare your questions.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 37 - 10:32:09 ]
RE: [Birtu] How much water does the space shuttle carry into space?
We carry four separate water tanks with approximately 120 gallons of water. Remember we constantly produce new water while the fuel cells are running so we are never in danger of running out of water. Actually we often have to perform water dumps overboard because we have too much water.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 40 - 10:33:39 ]
RE: [Birtu] How many miles per hour does the space shuttle go?
When the shuttle reaches orbit, it is travelling 17,500 miles per hour......that's 0 to 17,500mph in 8 1/2 minutes........not too bad huh!!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 41 - 10:35:01 ]
RE: [Birtu] What chemicals do you put in the water? Why do you put chemicals in the water?
We put an iodine mixture into the water. We do this to keep the microbe or " bug " count very low. We don't want the astronauts to get ill.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 45 - 10:37:17 ]
RE: [Birtu] How many toilets, showers and baths are on the space shuttle?
There is one toilet on the orbiter. There are no showers or baths. The astronauts take sponge baths.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 46 - 10:38:47 ]
RE: [Birtu] What do they do with the waste?
Good question. The solid waste is left in the " potty " for return to earth. The liquid waste is stored in the waste tank, and when that fills up it is dumped overboard.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 48 - 10:40:49 ]
RE: [Birtu] Has anyone ever gotten injured in space?
We have been very fortunate to not have any astronauts get seriously hurt in space. That is a great credit to the emphasis all of us in the space program put on safety. Also to the care taken in the processing of the orbiter on the ground. In addition, the excellent training the crew receives on the ground.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 51 - 10:43:24 ]
RE: [MichelleMock] At Dryden/Edwards they had some sort of shell that I thought they said was used to protect the space shuttle in flight aboard the 747. I dont think I have ever seen pictures of the shuttle in any sort of protective shell. Can you explain?
There is no such thing about a protective shell for ferry flight. The only thing I can think he was referring to was the " tail cone ". This item is put over the main engines to help with the aerodynamics during the trip on the 747.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 54 - 10:48:36 ]
Once again, at the conclusion of today's chat, we invite you to share your thoughts with us. Please visit our QuestChat Information Center at http://quest.nasa.gov/qchats to access our online surveys.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 55 - 10:48:36 ]
RE: [Birtu] Why isn't there gravity in space?
The presence of zero gravity in orbit is caused by the " free fall " of a spacecraft over the earth. This may sound strange, but you can kinda compare it to an elevator. If you were in a very tall elevator and the cable holding it broke, you would actually lift off the floor of it an " float ". Think of a spacecraft " falling over the edge " of the earth. Do remember though that if you are another planet or moon, there IS gravity there.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 57 - 10:51:57 ]
RE: [Birtu] Do you believe in aliens?
Wow, that's the first time I ever go that one. I really don't follow that discussion much, but I do think there is a possibility. You never know what is out there. In the space program we are in the business of exploration, so the possibility of discovering new worlds out there is pretty exciting.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 58 - 10:53:34 ]
RE: [MichelleMock] At Dryden/Edwards we were shown the tower that lifts the space shuttle onto the 747. They say it takes 8 hours to lift the shuttle and it is like watching grass grow because it is so slow. Do they have other towers like this at other landing sites in case they have to remove the shuttle due to mechanical problems with the 747 or other delays?
Yes, we have a device known as the Mate Demate Device here at the Cape to put on and remove the orbiter from the 747. If the shuttle were to land at a remote site we would have to bring mobile structures to carry out this task.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 62 - 10:56:44 ]
RE: [MichelleMock] Perhaps the protective shell I am talking about is for the X-33. It did not seem like it had the proper shape for the shuttle. When I get my pictures back I will look closer. If there is no protective shell or cover, my students wondered why not?
Good question. Well, it was decided during the development of the program that it wouldn't be needed. And history has shown us that the orbiter makes the trip across the country very well, getting very minor damage at the most.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 65 - 10:58:58 ]
RE: [Birtu] What movies do you like?
I do like watching movies. My favorites are comedies. However, I also like watching suspense movies and thrillers.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 66 - 11:01:19 ]
RE: [Birtu] What books do you like?
Actually my favorite books to read are autobiographies and biographies. I love to learn about other people's lives.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 67 - 11:04:42 ]
RE: [MichelleMock] Mike, most of the questions my students asked me, I could answer myself from information I have learned from your many chats and the Landing to Launch webcasts. Thanks for taking the time to answer all these many questions. We all learn so much! Even though my students cant go online live at this point to chat with you, they LOVE being part of the process. So from all the kids at St. Catherine of Alexandria: THANK YOU!
Mrs. Mock, you are a great example of what teachers should strive for. You interest in giving your students the tools to learn and grow is quite evident. I am always glad to see you and your students join us for these events. Please give them my best.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 68 - 11:06:13 ]
RE: [Birtu] How did you learn how to surf?
Well surfing is the most challenging sport I have ever tried. Mostly I have just gone to the beach every chance I got, paddled out and.......just keep trying. I have definitely had my share of wipeouts!!!!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 70 - 11:08:17 ]
This concludes today's Space Team Online/Countdown: Landing to Launch chat with Michael Ciannilli from NASA Kennedy Space Center. Thank you to everyone for joining us today, and to Michael Ciannilli, for sharing his time and expertise with us online. We would also like to recognize Michael for his consistent support of and commitment to the Space Team Online project. He has offered invaluable service and contributions to the success of the project. THANK YOU, Michael!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 71 - 11:09:11 ]
I would like to remind everyone that the Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to launch this Friday at 12:30pm. I hope all of you can watch the launch. Endeavour will carry out an exciting mission to map the Earth.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 72 - 11:10:04 ]
A final reminder to share your thoughts with us at http://quest.nasa.gov/qchats.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 73 - 11:12:01 ]
I want to thank all of you for joining me at the Cape today. All of the questions I have received today were awesome and it just shows me we have a lot of future scientists, engineers and quite possibly astronauts out there in the audience.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 74 - 11:12:52 ]
Be sure to visit our Black History Month and National Engineers' Week chat schedules to learn about our upcoming chats with NASA experts. The schedules are available at http://quest.nasa.gov/qchats/special/mlk00 and http://quest.nasa.gov/qchats/special/eweek00, respectively. We hope you can join us!


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