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Space Team Online QuestChat

Date: May 11, 1999

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

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 1 - 08:04:15 ]
Hello to our early arriving chat participants! Today's Space Team Online chat with Michael Ciannilli from NASA Kennedy Space Center will begin at 8:30 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time. Be sure you have read Michael's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/team/ciannilli.html to prepare your questions.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 2 - 08:04:42 ]
Once the chat begins, Michael will attempt to answer as many of your questions as quickly as he can, but PLEASE be patient. Today's chat may be MODERATED to help Michael keep up with our questions. This means that only a few questions would be posted to the chat room at a time. Don't worry if your questions do not appear on your screen immediately during moderation. They will be held in our chat queue and posted as Michael answers those ahead of you.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 3 - 08:05:02 ]
Remember to enter "Your Handle" in the box provided before posting messages to the chat room. Your handle should include your name and who you are representing, such as: "Jeremy/St.Louis."

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 08:05:20 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we ask that you take a few minutes to let us know what you thought about it. For your convenience, you may use our online feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. We look forward to hearing from you!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 08:29:13 ]
Hello and welcome to today's Space Team Online chat with Michael Ciannilli from NASA Kennedy Space Center. Mike monitors all of the systems on the orbiter as they are tested, and resolves any conflicts during systems testing that may arise. During vehicle testing, Mike ensures vehicles are in their proper configuration to power up in the morning and perform the scheduled testing. He helps find solutions to any problems that occur during testing. Additionally, Mike supports a wide variety of shuttle upgrades along with the next generation of launch vehicle studies.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 8 - 08:29:32 ]
And now, here is Michael Ciannilli to answer your questions.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 9 - 08:30:44 ]
Hi! I would like to welcome everyone to the Kennedy Space Center. It is great to have you down here today!!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 11 - 08:34:23 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Hi all. I'm from Portugal and it's a pleasure to be here with you all!
Welcome, Miguel! Michael is ready for your questions at this time.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 12 - 08:35:07 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Hi all. I'm from Portugal and it's a pleasure to be here with you all!
Hi Miguel! It is great to have you here today. How is everything in Portugal?

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 14 - 08:36:23 ]
RE: [MichaelCiannilli/KSC] Hi Miguel! It is great to have you here today. How is everything in Portugal?
Miguel are you in school?

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 15 - 08:38:18 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] Raining!! anyway, my first question to you is: when there are missions what is the average number of hours that you work (just curiosity!!) :)
Good question. Well, usually we work 8 hours per day, but can be as high as 12 hours per day during the launch countdown. We try to stay away from working more than that because we don't want to get overtired as that could affect safety.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 19 - 08:40:12 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] well, we can say that! I'm in the Center for Astrophysics of Oporto University. I'm an astronomy student!
That is great! I am a Space Science graduate and did some astronomy during my undergraduate work.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 20 - 08:42:00 ]
RE: [Jim/Syracuse-JimUrtz] Hi Mike..I just heard that the upcoming launch has been cancelled....has it been rescheduled? and why was it scrubbed?
Hey Jim, great to hear from you. Well as of right now it hasn't been cancelled. We have meetings later today to decide if we are gonna fly next week or not. The reason for the discussion is that we have hail damage on the External Tank. We basically have two choices. The first is to fly as is if the damage is not considered that bad. The other is to roll the Space Shuttle to the Vehicle Assembly Building and repair the insulation damage on the tank if that is required.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 25 - 08:46:43 ]
RE: [Jim/Syracuse-JimUrtz] Is it something that can be repaired or replaced? I would imagine it could be critical if there is a lot of damage
The fear is that the holes in the insulation could fill up with ice prior to launch and then break loose during launch to damage the orbiter. This could possibly cause several damage if it happened.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 27 - 08:48:13 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] well, have you been participating in missions like "Mars Global Surveyor", "Galileo", and so on...
Well Miguel I really haven't. I am responsible for processing and launching the Space Shuttle. I do like to follow the progress of those missions though as they are really exciting.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 28 - 08:49:06 ]
Miguel, what year in college are you? Also is there a particular area within astronomy that you like the most?

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 29 - 08:50:39 ]
RE: [Jim/Syracuse-JimUrtz] Decisions such as this must be very stressful for all involved
That's exactly right Jim. If we roll back that would be at least a week delay in the launch. So weighing the decisions can be stressful. However, my position if there is ever any doubt as to whether we are ready to fly or not, we DO NOT fly until we are confident that we are indeed ready.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 37 - 08:53:58 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] sorry for my grammar errors. :(
No problem, Miguel!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 39 - 08:55:18 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] in situations like you deal, you must have a very strong mental healtness. Aren't you affraid anytime you go to work and think: "Man, I'm commanding millions dollars"! Do you feel that pressure???
Well, I try to keep myself very aware of what we are dealing with at all times. It can get pretty stressful when there is a problem because you realize you are working on a 3 billion dollar national asset. Also I always keep in focus that we have people on board and that we want them to be as safe as possible.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 40 - 08:57:35 ]
RE: [Jim/Syracuse-JimUrtz] That sounds like an excellent position to take...It is better to be safe than sorry
However, I am always trying to become a better engineer and better prepared for when things don't go the way you expect. We also do a lot of training in high pressure situations to get us ready for situations just like this in real life.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 44 - 08:58:20 ]
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] No problem, Miguel!
Yeah, I am bound to make several wacky spelling mistakes too!!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 46 - 08:59:51 ]
RE: [Jim/Syracuse-JimUrtz] I used to manage a medical laboratory and dealt with human lives on a daily basis so I can relate to the stress that you talk about
I think it is very important to never forget that! On my desk I keep a picture of the lost Challenger crew to make sure that focus is never lost.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 51 - 09:01:43 ]
RE: [ShuttleBoys-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Hello Michael, Sorry we are late but we had difficulty with our computer. We fixed it and are ready to chat. We live in Va. and are third graders. We are working on a space/ computer project. Our first question is: What type of computers do you work with?
Hey Shuttle Boys! Great name!!!! Sounds pretty cool! Well we use personal computers in our offices and we have special computer consoles in the firing room to launch the shuttle. By the way, what exactly is your project?

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 52 - 09:02:41 ]
RE: [ShuttleBoys-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] How do you like working at the Space Center?
It is AWESOME!! It is something that I have always wanted to do since I was your age, so I am very happy to be here.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 54 - 09:04:08 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] and another question: wahts is going to be in your opinion the future Shuttle? Are we so far away of some science fiction ideas like "Star TRek" and "Star Wars"???
As far as Star Wars type stuff....yeah a long way off. Currently we plan on flying the space shuttle for another 15 to 20 years. After that I think we may have one that takes off more like an airplane than a rocket.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 55 - 09:05:26 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] 3rd year, actually, I'm more interest in planetary astronomy and popularization! :)
Sounds interesting Miguel

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 57 - 09:06:40 ]
RE: [Jim/Syracuse-JimUrtz] At least we can be confident when we know that we have good.. qualified .. and intelligent guys like you there to make these decisions Mike
Ahhh your just being nice! I appreciate all the interest of those of you out there writing to me!!!!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 58 - 09:08:53 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] I know this is a terrible accident to remeber, but tell me some numbers...what is the possibility of having another "Challenge" accident.
Well every time you launch a rocket it is VERY dangerous and there is a fair risk. Thousands of components have to work perfectly! As far as numbers, I believe the current thought is that 1 in every 400 or so launches are the odds.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 60 - 09:10:11 ]
RE: [ShuttleBoys-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] What type of equipment do you work with?
Mainly we work with the actual space shuttle orbiter, the solid rocket boosters and the orange external tank.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 64 - 09:11:18 ]
RE: [Jim/Syracuse] I have to leave the chat now but want to thank you Mike for the opportunity to chat and learn from you...thanks and I'll talk with you later
Thank you Jim, your interest is very much appreciated and hopefully we will see you online for the launch of Discovery!!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 65 - 09:14:30 ]
RE: [Miguel] about my previous question about "Challenger": does the safety rules and mesures actually are really totaly modified? Did NASA learned anything about that? Is it possible to have another "Challenge" accident?
Yes they did Miguel. There were hundreds of modifications to the space shuttle itself. Also many changes in the way we process the vehicle. In addition, the rules we have to launch ( called the Launch Commit Criteria ) were also made more strict. But, yes every time we launch the shuttle we take a natural risk.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 66 - 09:14:32 ]
We would like to remind you to share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 69 - 09:16:10 ]
RE: [ShuttleBoys] Michael, How long have you worked in Florida at the Space Center and about how much money does an engineer make there?
Well guys, I have been here three years now. As far as money goes, we do ok, but people in private companies tend to make more.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 70 - 09:17:15 ]
RE: [ShuttleBoys] Speaking about Star Wars, are you going to see the new Star Wars movie?
Yeah, but I think I will wait a few weeks because I bet the lines are gonna really be long when it first opens up. Are all of you going to see it?

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 72 - 09:18:57 ]
RE: [ShuttleBoys] We are working trying to learn more about the shuttle and practice using our computer skills. This is our first time online.
You are doing EXCELLENT so far! It is great to have you down here at the Cape today. I hope you get to watch the launch of Discovery real soon. By the way I will be doing a live video broadcast during that launch so maybe you can join us again for more questions!!

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 73 - 09:21:36 ]
RE: [Miguel] Well, finally what can you tell me about the new technologies for shuttles, like X-33?? is it trustable?
Miguel, they are working on X33 right now and currently are working several difficult problems. At this point it is hard to say if it will be a successful vehicle or not. It is important to remember though that the X-33 will NOT replace the space shuttle, just be another vehicle we will have to use.

[ ShuttleBoys - 76 - 09:21:47 ]
Michael, Thank you for talking to us. We have to go to lunch. We will check the archives for all of our other answers. :)

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 77 - 09:23:21 ]
RE: [ShuttleBoys] What have you done for the year 2000? Are you worried about problems in Jan.? What will happen to your computers? Are you waiting a long time after the New Year before you try another launch?
Well, we just finished fixing our computers for the year 2000, so we should be ok. We don't expect any problems at all with launching the shuttle because of the y2k problem. By the way.....Good Question!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 79 - 09:25:39 ]
For those of you leaving us, please share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 80 - 09:25:42 ]
RE: [ShuttleBoys] How big is the Space Center? Are you going to add on? What is NASA going to do if a meteor was heading toward the Earth?
The Space Center is huge. It is roughly 25 miles long and 8 miles wide. Some new buildings [have been] built recently, but no more planned yet. As far as meteors, there are some people within NASA looking into that, but they haven't made a plan yet on what to do.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 81 - 09:26:54 ]
RE: [Miguel] weel, it was very good to speak with you Mike. Although, this is not my favorite field on astronomy, I really admire your work. Keep it up! No matter what, NASA is the world leader in the space industry and investigation! :)
Miguel, thanks for coming today. If you have additional questions on your studies, feel free to write to me at Space Team Online and I will try to help ya out.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 83 - 09:28:09 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] ann also astrobiology!
Astrobiology sounds really exciting! Have you ever been to the Cape?

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 85 - 09:30:46 ]
RE: [Miguel] Speaking about the millenium bug...aren't we going to have in the entry for the year 2000 a lot of satelites all falling around up there, because the computers aboard them aren't ready fot the millenium??
Miguel that is a great question. I have not heard that at all, but I will look into that. I, have not heard of any concerns about that. I believe most satellites can receive time and computer software updates from the ground to avoid that problem.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 86 - 09:31:34 ]
RE: [Miguel] Take real! :(( I'm in Portugal, I don't have financial funds to go there. A great dream...
Well maybe one day!! I wish you the best of luck in school!!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 89 - 09:32:55 ]
RE: [MichaelCiannilli/KSC] Are the Shuttle Boys still out there? I was curious to learn more about your project.
I think they've logged off for lunch at this time, Mike. Are there any additional questions for Michael today?

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 91 - 09:33:22 ]
RE: [Miguel] ok...thank you!! Bye to all of you! Keep up with this interactive projects!
Thank you for joining us today, Miguel. We hope to hear from you again!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 93 - 09:34:15 ]
RE: [Miguel] wait, just one more question!!
OK, Miguel. One more. ;-)

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 95 - 09:34:29 ]
RE: [Miguel] wait, just one more question!!
ASk away....I am here

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 97 - 09:36:30 ]
RE: [Miguel] what are you going to do today, Mike?? what are you plans at the Cape? :))
Well today I am going to do some more research for putting together the next Launch Countdown Simulation. This id kinda a side job of mine to help train the launch team. Also, I need to follow the decision if we are going to launch Discovery next week or roll back to the VAB.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 101 - 09:38:31 ]
RE: [Miguel-Miguel/GIRA] ok...that's all..thank you for you kindness Mike! :)
Do you get much or any info on the Space Shuttle Program in Portugal?

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 102 - 09:39:12 ]
We will now be ending our chat with Michael Ciannilli. We would like to thank everyone for joining us today. Our special thanks to Michael for his thoughtful responses and sharing his career experience and expertise with us.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 103 - 09:40:29 ]
We hope you will be able to join us for our next Space Team Online chat with Lonnie Moffitt from NASA Johnson Space Center. This chat is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 104 - 09:40:52 ]
Be sure to share your comments about today's chat with us, by using our online surveys at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ MichaelCiannilli/KSC - 105 - 09:41:16 ]
I would like to thank everyone for coming down to the CApe today! I really appreciate your interest. Please remember we will be doing a live launch broadcast of the Space Shuttle Discovery. [More information is available at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ltc/sto/launch/sts96.] I hope to see you then! Take Care!!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 106 - 09:45:06 ]
Check the Space Team Online chat schedule page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/chats/#chatting" to learn more about our upcoming Space Team Online chats. Also check our schedule of events page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events/to learn about other upcoming chats with NASA experts.


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