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Quest Chat with Mike Ciannilli

June 13, 2002


[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 422 - 18:07:08 ]
This chat room has been created to accept your questions for the June 13 chat with Mike Ciannilli. Questions may be placed here at any time. They will be held in a queue until the time of the webcast and will not be visible until that time. Please do not repeat your questions.

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 423 - 18:07:22 ]
Remember to read Mike's bio at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/people/bios/space/ciannilli.html before attending so you can ask appropriate questions. If for some reason you cannot join us for the live chat, you can input your question ahead of time, and then read the archive later to see if your question was answered. It's not as cool as being there live, but it is very helpful when there are scheduling conflicts.

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 424 - 18:08:12 ]
Please be sure and identify yourself in the body of your message as the "Your Name/Location" window is not working at this time -- Johnny/6th/TX or Pam/4th/Mr.Johnson (Remember, don't use your last name). For example -- Jesse/6th/Mr.Green - How many people live on the ISS?

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 431 - 16:37:34 ]
Welcome everyone!! We will begin our webchat with Mike Ciannilli, from the Kennedy Space Center, in about 25 minutes (12 noon Central time). If you haven't read Mike's bio yet, there's still time.

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 433 - 16:59:21 ]
Welcome Mike!! We are so glad you could join us today!!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 432 - 16:43:37 ]
Hi! I would like to welcome all of you here today to the Kennedy Space Center. Thank you for joining me, it is great to have you here. I look forward to meeting everyone and having an exciting conversation about America's Space Program.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 440 - 17:04:21 ]
RE: It is my understanding that the shuttle has only one chance to land insofar as there are no controls to "circle the field" and line up for landing. What safety precautions are taken to maximize safety of the astronauts during this critical period?
Hi. First of all thanks for the great question. You are exactly right. We have only " 1 shot " to land and land perfectly. We have a few things we use to ensure safe landings. First we monitor the weather very closely along with having an astronaut in a jet getting first hand knowledge of the conditions. We also have very strict weather landing rules. As far as systems go, we have a very advanced Tacan system onboard the orbiter, a system we call "MISBLISS" to help guide the orbiter. Upcoming we will actually be using GPS to help us bring the orbiter home.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 441 - 17:04:59 ]
RE: hEY, what is ur age?
Well I am 34 years old. How about yourself?

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 442 - 17:07:43 ]
RE: what tools do they use in space?
Great question. Well much like a good mechanic on the Earth, we have a wide array of tools to use in space. Some you would recognize like screwdrivers and wrenches like the ones you might have in your garage. However, others look kind of odd and are developed to perform a very specific task. One big difference you will notice on tools used primarily on spacewalks is that they have tethers on them. After all you don't want them floating away.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 443 - 17:09:44 ]
RE: Maryjane/ID--We saw you fly over last night. How fast were you going?
Hi Maryjane! Well actually that wasn't me flying over that you saw, but I bet you did see the Space Shuttle Endeavour along with the International Space Station fly over your hometown. They are actually flying at 17,500 miles per hour. And that's what we call........MOVIN' !!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 446 - 17:13:35 ]
RE: Won't the future travel to space bring any pollution to Earth?
Wow, thanks for the interesting question. Well about the only pollution we get from space travel is from the rocket exhaust from our rocket engines. However, good thing about the Space Shuttle is that a lot of our "exhaust" is only water vapor. Back in the days when we came back from the Moon we did worry about "germs" coming back and protected for it. I imagine we would look into this again if we were to go to Mars for example. Thanks for the question.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 447 - 17:17:55 ]
RE: I would like to know that if an astronaut were to stay in space for four months (which I am told is the average time to stay) what would happen to the bones of the individual? I know that if you stay too long in space then your bones will weaken and learn to not support your wieght on Earth. But if you just stay in the space station for four months what would happen than? Would you be able to walk off the space ship planing as day, when you return?
Hi! Sounds like we have a future doctor in space medicine out here today!! Well, yes over time we are finding out that bones tend to lose calcium. Knowing this we can help to prevent it. However, we also see over a 4 month stay a weakening of the muscles that support the bones. Therefore, the astronauts perform a great deal of exercise during their mission. If after 4 months of no exercise you would have a very hard time walking without help. With exercise you would adapt back to normal pretty quick after landing and possible walk some, although a bit slower than normal.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 448 - 17:21:15 ]
RE: Timmy/5th: Do you get to meet alot of astronauts? Did you ever want to be anastronuat?
Hey Timmy! I hope you are enjoying and doing well in the 5th grade! Yes, I have meet alot of astronauts. I even have had the chance to meet some of the guys that walked on the Moon. That was definitely COOL! Actually one of the jobs my group has is to brief the astronauts before they launch and tell them if the Space Shuttle is ready to go. That is always fun! By the way, yes, when I was younger I did want to be an astronaut. Now I am happy to launch them. Hey, do you think you might want to be an astronaut one day Timmy?

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 451 - 17:26:10 ]
RE: Lydia Ė Mike, what is the coolest project you have ever worked on, or your favorite assignment?
Hi Lydia, thanks for spending time with us today. Hmmm....coolest thing I have worked on huh. Well actually several things come to mind. I have to say working Launch Countdown is something I really enjoy and look forward too. It is exciting and your heart beats a little faster. We sometimes get some very challenging problems to solve along the way. I also like all the times I get to be around and near the Space Shuttle itself. That still is a very cool thing I like to do. I also have to say that all the Public Affairs type stuff I do on TV, radio, and the Internet that lets me talk directly with all of you is definitely one of my favorite things to do.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 453 - 17:28:14 ]
RE: From Samantha: How many years have you worked for NASA?
Hey Samantha! How are you today? Well, I have been here at the Kennedy Space Center for 6 years now. Sometimes it feels like I have always been here, and sometimes it feels like I am still that little kid from New York thinkin' this is the coolest place to be.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 454 - 17:31:04 ]
RE: Do you watch every launch in person?
Hi! Yes I watch every launch in person. It is an amazing sight. I don't know if you have ever had the opportunity to do so, but I would definitely recommend it.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 458 - 17:34:54 ]
RE: Jeffrey/9th/Do you ever think about going back to school? Do you have your bachelor or masterís degree?
Hey Jeffrey. Hope your Freshman year in High School goes well. That can really be a fun time in your life. As for me I have thought about it from time to time. However, there is so much I can still learn and do learn everyday about the Space Shuttle that work, in some ways, kind of feels like being back in school. This vehicle is so amazing and complex that you can never know all there is to know about it. As for college, I have a bachelor's degree in space science along with some master's course work completed.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 460 - 17:37:00 ]
RE: being an indian can i join NASA?if no what should i do to get there?
You sure can join NASA and we would be happy to have you. All you have to do is work really hard in school, do the best that you can in your schoolwork and outside activities and then come out here one day and say Hello and apply.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 461 - 17:41:33 ]
RE: where abouts is nasa
Well that's a good question with a bunch of answers. I say that because NASA has a bunch of different centers where it does different things. For example, here at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida we get the Space Shuttle ready to fly and launch it. Over in Houston, Texas they train the astronauts and work with them once the space shuttle is in space. Also NASA has interesting work going on all across the county......including California where some great folks help us put these web chats on!

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 464 - 17:44:01 ]
Welcome Nazifa!! Glad you could join us again :-)

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 465 - 17:48:14 ]
RE: Nazifa/India/Suppose if sometimes the computers on ISS shut down and that may last for long time so what would be the immediate reaction of the astronauts and how they will manage ? Is there any new technology in ISS for this problem.
Hey Nazifa! Great to have folks like you from India here today. By the way, if I remember correctly you asked me a question last month during my live Internet Broadcast. If that was you, Welcome Back! Great to see you again. As for the question, the astronauts are well trained to handle emergencies such as this. Their first reaction would be to perform a check of all the systems to see what was the most critical thing to fix first. Then a call to the ground controllers along with working through a procedure to get the computers back up and running would be done. As for new technology....yes. The station has a very good built in system that monitors all of the other systems. In several cases it can reconfigure to backup systems.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 467 - 17:50:59 ]
RE: What was your favorite subjects in school?
Hey good question. My favorite subjects in high school were all the sciences, Spanish and social studies. For college it was astrodynamics, launch operations and several of the other space related ones.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 471 - 17:55:56 ]
RE: Did you have trouble with any of your classes when you were in school? from Britney/13
Hi Britney! Hmmm....Guess you want the "real scoop" here huh?? Well....the answer is yes. You know what actually gave me the most trouble? It was math. It really gave me some trouble. But that just made me work as hard as I could to figure it out and get past that. Most everybody I know, including the astronauts had to work real hard in school. However, the important thing is to never give up.....keep trying as hard as you can until you succeed!!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 474 - 17:58:09 ]
RE: What types of classes did you take at FIT?
I took alot of physics, math, chemistry, engineering, weather, ocean engineering, computers, and a lot of classes dedicated to space related subjects.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 476 - 18:00:06 ]
RE: What is a fuel cell & what is it used with?
Hey a good question. A fuel cell is a device that takes gaseous hydrogen and gaseous oxygen, puts them through a very neat chemical reaction ( although the never actually touch each other ) and produces electrical power and water. Pretty cool huh?

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 477 - 18:01:21 ]
RE: Mr. Ciannilli, do you work with the ISS? Norma
Actually I work with the Space Shuttle. The only time I get involved with the Payload side ( ISS ) is when we are checking out the station component once it is installed in the shuttle's payload bay.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 484 - 18:16:41 ]
RE: Nazifa/India/At a time of launching i mean countdown and just 5 minutes left out and if computers show any mistake with the launch pad or shuttle or fuel thanks then what would be your immideiately responce ?
Hey Nazifa.....Great question. Well we actually have a computer system called the "Ground Launch Sequencer" that monitors hundreds of measurements, continuously right up until launch. If anything is not what it should be then the sequencer will automatically "kick us out" and stop the launch. Also if anyone on the Launch Team saw a reason that we need to stop the launch, then they would call out on the communications net and the countdown would be automatically stopped by pushing a button on the console. Actually the Sequencer has stopped the countdown with less than 1 second left!! And we have manually stopped the count with just seconds remaining also. And let me tell you, when this happens....you heart beats a little faster!! However, as you can see.....we don't launch unless the Space Shuttle until she is 100% ready to go!!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 495 - 19:20:30 ]
RE: Do you work on any of the Mars projects? Simon
Hey Simon. Actually I am not involved at all with the Mars Project. However, if you have an interest in these programs, NASA has some great sites to learn more about them.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 496 - 19:44:42 ]
RE: What exactly does a test project engineer do? What are some of the projects you are working on now? Ripley
Hi Ripley. Well, Test project engineers have several primary responsibilities. First, they serve as the technical contacts in the Firing Room. This means they monitor all of the systems as they are testing and resolve any conflicts between systems testing that may arise. Also TPEs provide any technical or engineering assistance that a systems engineer may ask for. It is quite possible that a test one system is running may in some way impact that of another. Therefore, someone keeping "the big picture" in mind is very important. Secondly, the TPE console ensures the vehicle is in the proper configuration to power up in the morning and perform the scheduled testing. Soon, the TPEs will perform the majority of power up and power down activities. They also play a role in the resolution of problems that occur during testing. Outside of the Firing Room, TPEs have a wide variety of other responsibilities. They support vehicle testing in the Orbiter Processing Facilities, Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Pads. Also they provide input to a variety of scheduling and engineering meetings on a daily basis. Management briefings both here at the Cape and at Johnson Space Center in Houston also are carried out. Prior to every launch, the group conducts what are called L-1 briefings. It is at these meetings that they brief the astronauts on the engineering status of the space shuttle and answer any of the questions the flight crew might have. They are one of the principal interfaces between systems engineers and the astronauts. TPEs also review and approve testing to be conducted on the vehicle, approve troubleshooting plans, and conduct testing on items such as the extravehicular mobility unit (EMU), or space suit.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 497 - 19:50:38 ]
RE: HI MIKE: My question is : I wanna be an astronaut, what is your advice from you that you can give me to be a very good astronaut since this moment???/
Hey....looks like we might have a future astronaut out there. Well, my best advice for you to pursue a career as an astronaut is for you to get as much education as you can and do as well as you can. Typically astronauts fall into two categories. First, are the commanders and pilots. They have a great deal of flight experience and actually "fly" the space Shuttle. Therefore, a career in the military is helpful in this regard. The second type is the Mission Specialist. They carry out the spacewalks and experiments primarily. For this get alot of education in the field of your choice and do well. Also, get involved in as many extracurricular activities as you have an interest in. Then, apply to NASA and give it your best shot! Good Luck!!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 498 - 19:54:33 ]
RE: How many peoiple total can fit in the shuttle for a mission? What is the least amount of people needed to operate it on a mission?
Well thanks for this question. The largest number of people we have launched on the shuttle so far is 8. That would mean 4 on the flight deck and 4 on the middeck. The least amount you would need to launch would be two people. We actually flew crews of 2 people for the first 4 flights of the Space Shuttle from April 1981 to July 1982.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 499 - 20:02:05 ]
RE: Iíve heard something about the shuttles being refurbished with new cock pits. Can you tell us about it? Whatís the difference Ė are they jus new pieces, or redesigned too?
With this question I can tell you are paying good attention to what we are doing out here as far as upgrades go. Yes, we are now installing what we call a " glass cockpit " on the orbiters. The original cockpit design has a large number of meters and dials and gauges to give the crew information about the systems. However, with the advance of technology we are able to incorporate these into our fleet. The glass cockpit replaces those old meters and gauges with 9 color 'monitors'. These make it much easier for the crew to monitor the systems along with being safer to fly. To date, Columbia and Atlantis has the new cockpit. Discovery is getting it now and in a couple of years Endeavour will get it too.

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 473 - 17:57:57 ]
We have 3 or 4 more questions in the chat room and just a few minutes left in the chat. Great questions today!!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 500 - 20:16:35 ]
RE: first of all I wanna tell you that I really wanna be an astronaut and I also wanna get involved in hings that I can do at my age of 14 years old ,my question is : In which school did you study to be an astronaut? And what is your advice that you can give to get my goal pretty early? In what special school,career,or work can I get involved at these age or pretty soon ? I'm very interesting to be an astronaut and at the same time be an astronomer . How can I get involved since this time to get my goal? I hope you can answer me those questions. Than you Aleida R.
Hi Aleida. Well looks like we will be seeing you fly into space one of these days. Well, my best advice for you to pursue a career as an astronaut is for you to get as much education as you can and do as well as you can. Typically astronauts fall into two categories. First, are the commanders and pilots. They have a great deal of flight experience and actually "fly" the space Shuttle. Therefore, a career in the military is helpful in this regard. So perhaps if you are interested in this aspect maybe joining ROTC in your school or flight school if you are able to go. The second type is the Mission Specialist. They carry out the spacewalks and experiments primarily. For this get alot of education in the field of your choice and do well. Sounds like you like astronomy, so perhaps focus on learning as much about astronomy as you can now as you are in high school and then study it in college. The most important thing I believe is to chose what you love to do, do it as best you can and then apply it to your other goals such as spaceflight. Also get involved in as many extracurricular activities as you have an interest in. Then, apply to NASA and give it your best shot! Good Luck!!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 501 - 20:20:39 ]
RE: first of all I wanna tell you that I really wanna be an astronaut and I also wanna get involved in hings that I can do at my age of 14 years old ,my question is : In which school did you study to be an astronaut? And what is your advice that you can give to get my goal pretty early? In what special school,career,or work can I get involved at these age or pretty soon ? I'm very interesting to be an astronaut and at the same time be an astronomer . How can I get involved since this time to get my goal? I hope you can answer me those questions. Than you Aleida R.
Hi Aleida. Well looks like we will be seeing you fly into space on of these days. Well, my best advice for you to pursue a career as an astronaut is for you to get as much education as you can and do as well as you can. Typically astronauts fall into two categories. First, are the commanders and pilots. They have a great deal of flight experience and actually "fly" the space Shuttle. Therefore, a career in the military is helpful in this regard. So perhaps if you are interested in this aspect maybe joining ROTC in your school or flight school if you are able to go. The second type is the Mission Specialist. They carry out the spacewalks and experiments primarily. For this get alot of education in the field of your choice and do well. Sounds like you like astronomy, so perhaps focus on learning as much about astronomy as you can now as you are in high school and then study it in college. The most important thing I believe is to chose what you love to do, do it as best you can and then apply it to your other goals such as spaceflight. Also, get involved in as many extracurricular activities as you have an interest in. Then, apply to NASA and give it your best shot! Good Luck!!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 502 - 20:42:15 ]
Hi Aleida....Welcome Back! Well you ask several questions in your question so here we go. 1.) On being an astronaut: My best advice for you to pursue a career as an astronaut is for you to get as much education as you can and do as well as you can. If astronomy is your passion, then learn as much as you can about it, perhaps major in it in college and become the best astronomer that you can be. Perhaps your astronomy skills will be needed one day in space. Also get involved in as many extracurricular activities as you have an interest in. 2.) For college: I went to school at the Florida Institute of Technology here in Florida. 3.) Astronaut for Career: I think it is a very interesting, exciting and rewarding career. It is also very tough to achieve so don't get disappointed with taking a lot of work to achieve it. Just keep going for it. 4.) My connection to astronauts: I brief them on the status of the Space Shuttle prior to launch and then get the opportunity to help send them in to outer space. 5.) Travel: I stayed at home in NY when I was a young teen, but yes at 17 I had to move to Florida to attend college to pursue my dream of working in the space program. 6.) Clubs: I would say get involved in every activity that you have the time for that you have an interest in. This can mean academic clubs like the science and math club. Also other things such as volunteer groups, perhaps a church, sports, basically anything that you enjoy. 7.) Work for NASA: You can be a college intern ( so maybe 18 or 19 years old ), then work full time after you graduate college. 8.) Requirements for NASA: Remember astronauts can be pilots or mission specialists. For mission specialists and pilot astronaut candidates, the education and experience requirements are at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. For mission specialist applicants, three years of related, responsible professional experience must follow the degree. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for all or part of the experience requirement (this means a master's degree = 1 year of work experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience). Pilot astronaut applicants must also meet the following requirements prior to submitting an application: At least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft; flight test experience is highly desirable. Ability to pass a NASA Class I space physical, which is similar to a military or civilian Class I flight physical, and includes the following specific standards: for your eyesight - 20/70 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20, each eye. For Blood Pressure-140/90. Height between 64 and 76 inches. Mission specialists have similar requirements to pilot astronauts, except that the qualifying physical is a NASA Class II space physical, which is similar to a military of civilian Class II flight physical and for eyesight - 20/200 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20, each eye. For Blood pressure-Same as for Pilots. Height requirements for mission specialists are between 58.5 and 76 inches. I hope that answers all of your questions. Thanks for being so interested in the space program and best of luck in whatever you decide to do. Got for it!!

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 479 - 18:03:32 ]
While Mike finishes up the last question, I just want to thank everyone for joining us today!! Please join us July 17 for a webcast from the bottom of the ocean floor -- aboard the Aquarius. For more info see: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/projects/space/aquarius/2002/index.html.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 503 - 20:50:52 ]
RE: [unknown] Are you involved in every launch, in some aspect or another? Terry/grade11/TX
Hey Terry. Hope all is going well in the 11th grade out there in Texas. Well yes I am fortunate to be involved in every launch of the Space Shuttle. Pretty much from the time it lands on the Runway to the moment she lifts off of the Launch Pad I had been a part of it. Since we have 4 orbiters in all different states of processing at any given time, my job can be quite different from not only day to day, but sometimes hour to hour on any particular orbiter. As many do here at the Cape I feel a great deal of excitement here on Launch Day. I typically have a lot of memories from each of the processing flows of each orbiter, thoughts of what it took to get us to this point, the challenges and the successes. They tend to come back especially on Launch Day and often they put a smile on my face. I just feel very fortunate to do what I love to do. Thanks a lot for your question!!

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 480 - 18:05:29 ]
As we get close to the end of our chat I want to remind everyone of the exciting Launch Schedule we have for this summer. First up is the Space Shuttle Columbia on July 19th for a research mission. Next up is Atlantis on a trip to the International Space Station scheduled for August 22nd. Then, finally, is Endeavour on a return trip to the ISS to pick up the crew members she is now dropping off. I hope all of you continue to keep an eye on us here at the Cape this summer.

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 481 - 18:08:05 ]
Wow, Mike -- the shuttles will be getting a work out this summer :-) You can follow all the shuttle missions at: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov.

[ MikeCiannilli/KSC - 482 - 18:08:44 ]
I would like to thank everybody for spending time with me today here at the Kennedy Space Center. It is great to see all the interest in the Space Program out there. It was nice to meet all of you. From the questions I can see there are a lot of very talented students out there. I wish all of you have a fun summer break. I always look forward to talking with all of you. Have a very Cool Summer!

[ Lori/QuestChatHost - 483 - 18:10:36 ]
Thanks for chatting with us today Mike! We certainly enjoyed you sharing your time and expertise with us! Have a great day everyone :-)

 

 

 
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