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Female Frontiers QuestChat Archive

Date: March 3, 1999

Featuring: Julie Mikula
First woman manager of NASA's Simulation Laboratories (SimLab)

Main Room

last read Wed Mar 3 11:04:43 1999

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 0 - 08:11:04 ]
Join us here, Wednesday March 3 to chat with Julie Mikula. To prepare, read her profile at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/frontiers/mikula.html

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 1 - 08:12:51 ]
Until the time of the chat, this room will remain in moderation, which mean you will not see any message that you post. Your questions will be held in a queue and posted to the room by hand. You may post questions early if you like, but please be patient. We will handle as many questions as we can in the hour scheduled for this chat.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 5 - 10:00:19 ]
Good morning, We're about to begin our chat with Julie Mikula.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 8 - 10:03:54 ]
RE: [Christine] I'm here and ready to chat! :)
Hi Christine! We'll begin posting your questions soon.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 11 - 10:06:41 ]

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 12 - 10:08:15 ]
RE: [JulieMikula/ARC] Hello.
Hi Julie, Good to see you online. We have several questions already coming in.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 13 - 10:09:47 ]
[ Grace - 9 - 10:04:15 ]
My class 3 girls would like to know if you have ever taken your children to the NASA lab and what was the most dangerous thing you did in your flight training.
Grace, Yes, I did take my children to the NASA lab when I received the "Silver Snoopy Award" from the Astronauts. They attended the ceremony with me. The simulator is a very large, but there are so many safety features in the system the risk for danger is extremely low.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 15 - 10:11:40 ]
[ Christine - 10 - 10:05:53 ]
How did you choose Michigan State? What factors affected your decision?
Christine, I choose Michigan State because it was an excellent college and had a very good engineering program. Other factors were location to my home.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 17 - 10:13:51 ]
RE: [Christine] Do you think that earning you pilot's license is essential to your job?
Christine, Earning my pilot's license was very essential and beneficial for my job. I work with the research and development for many different types of vehicles. Understanding the principles of flight and how the pilot must interface with the aircraft is extremely essential to ensuring the research is conducted well.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 20 - 10:22:21 ]
RE: [Christine] Could you explain more about the SimLab? Exactly what do you use it for, and how does it work?
Christine, SimLab is the Simulation Laboratories Facilily. We accomplish aeronautical research for the development of many types of vehicles. Like the helicopters, Harrier fighters, transport planes like 737 and more, Space Shuttle, and future aircraft that haven't been built yet. One of these would be the next generation of the concord. We build up a cockpit for a pilot to fly like he would the real plane (for instance a helicopter and we install the cockpit on a large, ~10 story platform which makes the pilot feel like he is actually flying out in the real world. But he is really only flying a "simulated" aircraft. That's why it is called the Simulation Laboratories. We create many different simulations of different aircraft.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 21 - 10:22:48 ]
RE: [Christine] Thank you for answering my questions! I have to go now.
Thanks for joining us Christine. Be sure to come back later and read the answer Julie is typing to your last HUGE question!

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 22 - 10:24:13 ]
RE: [Christine] I want to become an aerospace engineer. Should I work for my pilot's license?
Christine, Having your pilots license would be very beneficial to you as well if you are going into the aerospace field.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 25 - 10:29:58 ]
RE: [mrsmcdZak] What is it like being the first woman to have this job?
It was very challenging, but I loved it! I always wanted to work in the aircraft or space fields. So I was ready for the challenges of being different.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 27 - 10:32:18 ]
RE: [mrsmcdtoridanielle] What inspired you to do this job?
I will always remember watching one of the Apollo missions and was fascinated with the concept we could begin to explore space and see our world from an entirely different perspective. Aircraft and space vehicles allow you to see the world from a view from above. I believe this new perspective would be helpful to help our world in our future.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 30 - 10:33:43 ]
RE: [msmcd/casey/ben] What happens when the simulators break?
We have plans in place so that when the simulator breaks, the people here know who to call and fix the simulator as fast as possible.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 31 - 10:36:56 ]
RE: [mrsmcdtiffkisha] What is the easiest thing about your job and what is the hardest thing about your job?
The easiest thing is keeping the interest in the work when it is something that you always wanted to do. The hardest thing is research and the simulation systems are very complex and you must be consistly aware of what is occuring, what your goals and plans are and the facility is operating as it should.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 34 - 10:39:25 ]
RE: [mrsmcdkaylachase] How long have you been doing this job?
I have been working here at SimLab for 16 years. First I began here as a mechanical engineering, designing the cockpits for the pilots to fly. Then I read books on computer programming and aeronautics and began computer programming, I also worked on the construction of a facility. After that project I became the SimLab manager and have been doing this job for 5 years now.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 37 - 10:43:30 ]
RE: [mrsmcd/kaycie] How do your children feel about you working for this wonderful job at NASA
My childrem understand what my work is about. I think they like telling their friends some of things I do and what they have been able to see and do because of my work. They know that sometimes mom has schedules to work with and they work with my schedule and I like having them involved with my schedules as well.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 38 - 10:47:02 ]
RE: [mrsmcd/Sarah/Emilee] Could you tell us more about the "Silver Snoopy Award?"
The "Silver Snoopy Award" is an award that is given by the astronauts. Every year the astronuats vote for those they feel has made contributions to the Space Shuttle Program. It comprises of a framed award and a silver snoopy pin that was flown on a space shuttle mission. I was honored to recieve this award from them.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 41 - 10:47:49 ]
RE: [mrsmcd/jacqie/beth] How long do you expect to work for NASA?
I hope to work for NASA as long as the government continues to do aeronautical or space research.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 42 - 10:49:25 ]
We still have a little time for questions, but I want to remind you to please give us feedback when we have finished the chat at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys Thanks!

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 43 - 10:52:41 ]
RE: [mrsmcd/austin/ben] How many different kinds of simulators are there in your facility? What do some of them do? How are they different?
This is a good huge questions too, but they are good ones. Let me attempt. There are 5 cockpits that we make into any aircraft we need to. All of them can either be flown on the ground so they don't move, this is called a fixed base type of simuator. OR they could be put onto the large 10 story platform and be able to fly just like a real aircraft. Meaning they can go up down, sideways, roll, pitch or yaw just like a real plane but they must do this within the tower. This is called a simulator with six degrees of freedom. The cabs are built up as different as each aircraft is.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 45 - 10:57:56 ]
RE: [mrsmcd/terry] What accomplishment are you most proud of professionally?
My accomplishments through the years have been very rewarding to me and there would be a good number of accomplishments for me to think about. In this job I have had the opportunity to work with many different types of people and projects. I am probably most proud of being able to grow in this profession and to learn enough to become the manager of the world's largest motion base facility. The people I work with are so talented.

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 47 - 10:59:27 ]
RE: [mrsmcdAdamhector] How many years of school did it take to complete your engineering degree?
I went to college for 5 years. I worked part time during some of those years to help my parents in paying for my college degree.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 48 - 11:00:48 ]
RE: [mrsmcd] Your job and facility sound so interesting. We would love to visit on a field trip! Our students are leaving for another class now. Thank you so much for taking time to communicate with us.
We are delighted to have had your class on board today. They appear to have done their preparation well! We have placed a video of the SimLab at Julie's profile: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/frontiers/mikula.html

[ JulieMikula/ARC - 49 - 11:02:03 ]
RE: [mrsmcd] Your job and facility sound so interesting. We would love to visit on a field trip! Our students are leaving for another class now. Thank you so much for taking time to communicate with us.
I believe in showing our children what is out there for them to get involved in. There are so many wonderful oppurtunities if they are willing to search and work for it. You are very welcome to visit Ames and SimLab on a field trip.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 50 - 11:02:08 ]
The timing and questions seem to have worked out just right! I want to thank Julie for joining us during what is a very busy time for her. We will be coming to you live from her facility tomorrow at 1pm Pacific time. Join us from http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ltc/sto/vms


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