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Space Team Online QuestChat

Date: February 11, 1999

Featuring: Tony Bruins
System Engineer/Integrator
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 11:28:28 ]
Hello to our early arriving chat participants! Today's Space Team Online/Black History Month chat with Tony Bruins from NASA Johnson Space Center will begin at 12:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. Be sure you have read Tony's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/team/bruins.html before joining this chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 11:29:01 ]
Once the chat begins, Tony will attempt to answer as many of your questions as he can, but please be patient. We have many people registrered for today's chat. Therefore, today's chat will be MODERATED so Tony can keep up with our questions. This means that only a few questions will 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 Tony answers those ahead of you.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 11:29:27 ]
Remember to enter "Your Handle" in the box provided before posting messages to the chat room. Once you've done this, please let us know that you have logged on for today's chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 11:29:55 ]
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 - 10 - 11:53:47 ]
Hello and welcome to today's Space Team Online chat with Tony Bruins from NASA Johnson Space Center. Most of Tony's time is spent in the Advanced Projects and Analysis Office developing state-of-the-art technology. His work and innovations support flight controllers in the Mission Control Center (MCC). His job is to generate new ideas, develop new systems, and integrate them to work together to support mission operations.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 11 - 11:54:12 ]
And now, here is Tony Bruins to answer your questions.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 14 - 11:58:56 ]
RE: [MaryAnnAppleValleyMS] How long have you been working at N.A.S.A.?
I have been working at NASA 13 years, 10 months, 24 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes... How does that grab you?

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 17 - 12:06:03 ]
RE: [TylerAppleValleyMS] You have talked about being a successful-failure, what type of failures have you had in your life?
Let me be clear about failures. I am not saying that people fail just to fail. I am a creative and innovative person and I am always thinking of new ideas to do things differently and better. When a person is trying something new for the first time, he is going to fail until he figures it out. But every failure will yield a partial truth and will give you knowledge on why something worked or did not work. The key is to acquire knowledge when you are in the unknown. All great men/women or inventors have failed before they made their discoveries. They know that failing yields great knowledge and they adjust their minds to undestand that this is just a part of the learning process. I hope I addressed your quetsions? All my failures have been because I was exploring new and unknown territory while learning. No one sets out to fail on purpose. The real world is application where you learn by doing and not theory.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 21 - 12:08:50 ]
RE: [Alex] What is this advanced space suit you are designing?
The advanced suit that I designing is only in concept phase right now because we have not received funding. The idea is to develop a new suit that is smart suit and as light as a pair of danskins or overalls.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 22 - 12:09:55 ]
RE: [KendraAppleValleyMS] Do you help astronauts get aboard the space shuttle?
No, I do not. I develop hardware for them to use when they are outside the Shuttle and Space Station.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 23 - 12:10:03 ]
EVERYONE, many of your questions can be answered by reading Tony's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/team/bruins.html. Please do so to learn more about Tony's career and personal life. Thanks!

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 26 - 12:12:17 ]
RE: [BrittanyAppleValleyMS] What encouraged you to do what you do?
I am encourage because I want do something for my country as well as set an example for younger children and people who are inspired to dream and utilize their imaginations. They must understand that creative ideas come from their intuition and imaginations and they must be willing to fail and learn as they develop those ideas.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 28 - 12:14:37 ]
RE: [KyleAppleValleyMS] Do you have a dream to go into space one day? Have you ever helped make a space shuttle take off?
I have thought about going to space if the opportunity presented itself, but the engineers on the ground are the ones that make it happen. Therefore, yes, I help the Shuttle take off. Besides, sooner or later, everybody may have an opportunity to go to space once businessmen decide to do it.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 29 - 12:15:53 ]
RE: [ChaetonAppleValleyMS] What do you think the world will be like in 2050?
Now that is a deep one. Personally, I do not know if a world will exist by then. But if it does, I believe we will be in the Space Age like the "Jetsons."

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 30 - 12:17:31 ]
RE: [MatthewAppleValleyMS] What is your favorite part of your job?
The most favorite part of my job is when I have the opportunity to develop something new that no one has ever thought of. Boy, does my imagination go wild.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 35 - 12:23:15 ]
RE: [Cassy] What happens if an astronaut drops a tool while performing an EVA? Do you have to design the suit so the tools are attached?
When an astronaut drops a tool, it is lost in space. We design tools for the astronaut to use, but they are not attached to his suit. Maybe, that idea should be investigated. Thanks.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 39 - 12:25:53 ]
RE: [TylerAppleValleyMS] When you went to NASA for your interview, were you nervous?
When I had my interview for NASA I was not nervous. I had graduated from college and was unemployed for 1 year before my interview with NASA. I ws not nervous, I was "hungry" and had so many interviews before the NASA interview that I mastered the interviewing process. This is an example of learning from failures. Every interview before NASA's interview, i learned something for the next interview. This is called "intelligent fast failure."

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 41 - 12:26:54 ]
RE: [Alex] How does the air-conditioning unit, in the space suit, run on - batteries, etc.?
Yes! There is a battery in the back pack or Portable Life Support System.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 42 - 12:28:01 ]
RE: [Ethan] Have you been to West Virginia?
No, but if you want me come there I would be more than happy. Your school would have to request that I come and pay the expenses.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 43 - 12:28:56 ]
RE: [Ethan] How old are you?
Currently, I am 38 years old and my birthday is April 6.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 48 - 12:30:43 ]
RE: [BRENDA] Do you think networking is really successful?
Brenda, networking is not only essential to becoming a successful person, it is a means of SURVIVING......

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 49 - 12:31:50 ]
RE: [Cassy] Are EVA suits reusable?

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 50 - 12:32:48 ]
RE: [Ethan] Were you amazed with space as a child?
Yes! I was always curious about everything in my environment and I questioned everything.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 55 - 12:33:58 ]
RE: [Ethan] How many years were you in college?
I was in college 7.5 years and I worked two jobs also.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 56 - 12:35:48 ]
RE: [BRENDA] is there a lot involved when designing a space suit? What type of machinery is used to develop these space suits? What are the space suits made out of?
Developing a new spacesuit is a very complex task. It is rather detailed process because everything has to be tested in a simulated space environment. The contractor the actual builds the spacesuit is Hamilton Standard. Currently, spacesuits are made out of mylar. We are investigating advanced materials for future sapcesuit. For example, materials that repair themselves and breathe.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 59 - 12:37:57 ]
RE: [Ethan] Do you get to inspect the shuttles when they land?
No, that is done in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 60 - 12:39:07 ]
RE: [Ethan] Do you go to schools and talk to students?
All the time. It is one of the things that I feel that I have to do and that is be a role model for other kids so that they understand that they can do what I did and then some.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 63 - 12:42:47 ]
RE: [Christina] What made you decide that you were not going to let your "ghetto" background (pardon the expression), get in the way of your dreams?
First of all, I am sure that you are aware what goes on in the ghetto. I have never been interested in doing what others were doing because I am a leader and not a follower. Second, growing up in the ghetto was real and I was curious to see how I can turn a bad scenario into a positive one. Therefore, the struggles in the ghetto gave me vision, strengthe, made me tough, kept me focused and prepared me for the real world which is application. You must have a tough skin to make it in the real world and growing up in the ghetto provided me with that as well as other survival tools.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 64 - 12:45:55 ]
RE: [EmilioPrez] Mr Tony Bruins. Hello my name is Emilio And I have some questions: The Pionner 10 went out of Universe from 1.983. The Spaceship is transmiting only with 5 W, ┐Is possible from Houston Today can hear the Signal?, The Spaceship has a Nuclear Central for to produce electric energy, the same Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. ┐How many years can the Electric system go on with this energy?. Thanks very much
Yes you can hear the signal, but it was not controlled out of Houston. It is controlled out of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California which is apart of NASA. Electrical system can go forever, but it depends on how the system was design. If you design a closed-loop system, it will fuel and take care of itself. The signal cannot be heard from Houston because it is not controlled from Houston, but the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Electrical systems life-cycles are based on their design. If a closed-loop system is designed, it can last forever because it takes care of itself.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 69 - 12:50:29 ]
RE: [Paulo] hi, i'm talking from Portugal, Europe.I'm not a science student, but i'm very curious and i admire this kind of work.My question is: You said that your job is to generate new ideas, develop new systems and integrate them to work together to support mission operations:is your work includes studies of nanotechnology, in order to apply it to NASA missions?
Yes, I am studying nanotechnology. Nanotechnology and MEMS technology is what will get us to Mars and beyond because it is light, strong, reliable, require low power, and small. I am working on a presentation as we speak to see how it will fit into a new advanced spacesuit.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 71 - 12:51:50 ]
RE: [Ethan] Is this your first internet chat?
Yes and it is cool. I like it.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 72 - 12:55:00 ]
RE: [Cassy] Do astronauts have to wear a diaper for their EVA's? Do accidents pose any problems for the suit--effectiveness of insulation, short circuit any wiring, etc?
Yes, they were diapers. There are no problems to the electronics because the electronics and other internal or external hardware; so there is not impact. It is like putting on a dress, but the buttons are on the outside of the dress.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 76 - 12:58:01 ]
RE: [Cassy] Is cost a factor in the design of the EVA suit?
Definitely. It must be tested to withstand the space environment. For example, small and large meteors, radiation, space debris, etc. The cost is high because we have to simulated on earth before we send it to space. Finally, the astronauts safety is our primary goal. Therefore, the cost is nothing compare to saving the astronauts life. I hope I addressed your question?

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 78 - 13:00:17 ]
We will now be ending our chat with Tony Bruins. Tony will remain online to answer your earlier questions. But we will not accept any new questions at this time. Be sure to share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. We're very happy you could join us today!

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 82 - 13:03:19 ]
RE: [BRENDA] Before going to college did you have an idea of what you wanted to do? Do you have any advice for teenagers on how to choose your career?
When I started college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I got into engieering because I thought I could make a great deal of money. Now that I am wiser, I know I would have gone to school to be a psychiatrist because the "human mind" intrigues me. My advice to you is not to choose a career because you want to make money. It is not about money; it is about making a difference. Therefore, following your heart because if you are doing what you truly like to do, you will make a great deal of money because you are happy. Happiness in the workforce is important. You must be excited to come to work everyday and the last one to leave. All the moeny in the world cannot buy this peace of mind. Because if you are happy, you will be healthy.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 83 - 13:04:50 ]
RE: [Ethan] Do you know astronaut Jon McBride? If so, he came from my state!

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 84 - 13:06:44 ]
RE: [ozge/aaal] Which is more important, resistance or weight of the metal used in spacesuits and also spaceships?
Definitely the weight. It cost NASA $10,000 a pound to fly anything. Can you imagine? If we can get the cost to space down, everybody can go to space. That is one of NASA's challenges.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 85 - 13:07:33 ]
RE: [BRENDA] about how much does a space suit weigh?
About 230 pounds without the astronaut.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 90 - 13:13:43 ]
RE: [BRENDA] What type of inventions have you developed?
I have designed along with my contractor team something that I call the Mission Control Communicator. It a communication device that would work similar to what you see on Star Trek. Unfortunately, I have not receive any additional funding to further the design; so it is on hold. The other project is the Somatic Science Simulation (S3) which is a interactive virtual reality model of the human body. You can actually fly through the body in virtual reality and feel the parts of the body as well as the organ. Again, the contractor and I are on hold because I have not received any funds this year to keep working on it.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 91 - 13:14:41 ]
RE: [EmilioPrez] ┐Do you think that is possible to find extraterrestrial life?
All things are possible, if you believe and are willing to sacrifice to make it happen.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 92 - 13:15:37 ]
RE: [Ethan] Have you met President Clinton?
No, but I have seen him. He spoke at the NASA-JSC last year.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 93 - 13:19:50 ]
RE: [Ethan] Do you know any astronauts? If so, who are a few?
Yes, I know and worked on projects for the following astronauts: Capt. William Readdy, Capt. John Young, Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, Dr. John Grunsfeld, David Wolf, Jim Reilly, Capt. William Shepherd, Greg Harbaugh (my current boss, Ron McNair, Charles Bolden, Bill Gregory, and Mae Jamison. I have interfaced and conversed with these individuals during my career at NASA.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 98 - 13:22:27 ]
RE: [Paulo] What are your projects for the next 10 years?
The ultimate project for me is to design an advanced spacesuit made out of nano materials,nano-electronic,and MEMS technology. Another project would to develop a 0.38G simulator for astronauts who have come from the Space Station to get in to measure how much calcium was lost in their body so that I can develop counternmeasures to prevent it before we go to Mars someday.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 99 - 13:23:15 ]
RE: [Ethan] do you like freeze dried food? I don't!
It is different.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 100 - 13:24:52 ]
RE: [Paulo] Is nanotechnology applyable to support flight controllers?
I believe that nanotechnology would replace the flight controllers because the flight control job can be integrated into the electronics which come be in the suit. Therefore, you have a smart suit that has its on mission control and takes care of itself.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 105 - 13:26:55 ]
RE: [Ethan] What is your favorite food?
Pizza, wild rice, steak, potatoes, corn, green salads, tomatoes, fish, vegetables, etc. I like sweet potatoe and pecan pies. Yet, I do not eat a lot of sweets.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 106 - 13:27:58 ]
RE: [Paulo] what MEMS stands for?

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 107 - 13:32:30 ]
RE: [BRENDA] What does mechanical engineering relate to? As a mechanical engeneerist, where would you be able to work?
Mechanical engineering deals with mechanics, motion, thermal dynamics, heat transfer, cooling,etc. All the engineering discipline deal with building or creating something from ideas. In the real world, your degree just shows that you can think at a higher level. You will be trained to do what the job requires. For example, I have a degree in mechanical engineering but I do not do it. I do system engineering, but I have also learn electronic engineering. It depends on the nature of the job. The objective is to get your degree by any means necessary.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 108 - 13:34:42 ]
RE: [Ethan] Did you watch the Challenger when it exploded?
Yes! It was devastating and actually could not believe what I was seeing. I thought it was an illusion as I set in front of the television, but it was real. People need to understand that space is "risky" business and people constantly put their lives on the line for humankind.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 109 - 13:36:21 ]
RE: [Ethan] What is your favorite vacationing destination?
The Carribean. I like the blue water and white beaches. Hopefully, I can see Europe, Greece, Australia, and Africa within the next 10 years. That is my goal.

[ WhyAskWhyAskYnot - 111 - 13:37:46 ]
RE: [Cassy] What kinds of projects require EVA besides fixing satalites or the Hubble Telescope?
Space Station construction, satelite repair and retreival, Space Shuttle inspection, and Lunar/Mars exploration.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 112 - 13:42:38 ]
This concludes today's Space Team Online/Black History Month chat with Tony Bruins at NASA Johnson Space Center. We would like to thank everyone for joining us for today's chat, and offer our special thanks to Tony Bruins for being with us today. We're very happy Tony was able to share his personal experiences and expertise with us.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 113 - 13:44:33 ]
Be sure to share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. We hope you can join us for our upcoming Black History Month and Space Team Online chats with NASA experts. Be sure to check the Black History Month page at http://quest.arc.nasa/ltc/special/mlk99 and our schedule of events page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events to learn about our upcoming chats.


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