PART 1: Report about the television crew
PART 2: Another mission log from Juan

[Ed note: David is a senior at Leland High School in San Jose, CA.  
He attended the October 13th event at NASA Ames.]

David Maze

The Kuiper Airborne Observatory is flying for the last time. Over a
hundred students are gathered in a hangar at the Ames Research Center in
Mountain View, California. And somebody has to have the job of actually
covering this event.

The floor of the hangar is covered with cables. At one side, they lead to
a truck, a portable editing studio. Through this room, signals from each
of the four cameras scattered about the hangar are displayed on a bank of
monitors. The truck is small; there is only enough room for four people,
two of whom are directors. Everybody wears a headset, receiving
instructions from the program directors in New York or from the other
people in the hangar.

The people in the truck have control over what the world sees from Ames.
In addition to the monitors, the truck is filled with editing equipment.
Two studio-quality VCR's are mounted in racks, allowing workers to edit
footage as the event proceeds. While the event is being taped, the truck
crew is also sending live footage to New York; they must decide which of
the four cameras has the best image to send.

One of the cameras is on a permanent "establishing shot," which can see
the entire hangar. The other three focus on one of the events, centering
on a metal structure in the hangar's center. From this structure, four
lights illuminate the area below. Demonstrations are held in this area;
students sit in the rows of bleachers surrounding it.

The lighting is crucial to the production. Instead of ordinary
incandescent light bulbs, the media crews are using special lights that
emulate sunlight. Since the sun was out at the beginning of the show, the
cameras' white balance -- their ability to decide what color, for
example, red is -- would be confused by a change in lighting.

The lighting crew had been having some problems with their power supply.
They recognize the importance of their job. "These lights go out," says
one of the technicians, "and the show's over." As he completes his
statement, the room darkens slightly; a light hanging from an airplane
has shut off. One of the power supplies, cooled only by a small fan, has
overheated. The crews scramble to fix the problem and replace the faulty
power supply.

As television stations across the United States receive the live camera
shots, precision is key to the media presentation. Through an almost
superhuman coordination of lighting, sound, and video, the crew at Moffett
Field was able to make their part of the presentation come through


[Editor's note:  this is another classic journal from last year]

                Juan Rivera - Monday, May 15, 1994

0751 UT (9:51 PM local time)

Taxiing out...

It's very hot and muggy in here with my flight suit on.  I always wait
till the last minute to put it on while I'm in the tropics.  The air
temp in here will be hot till we get into the air.  It's always too
warm for me even then, but it will get a lot better than it is now.

0804 UT

Off we go.

0813 UT

Passing through 17,000 feet now.  I forgot to bring my quart of orange juice.
That's really annoying because I'll have to drink water all night to stay
hydrated, and it doesn't taste that great.  At home we use bottled water but
here in Hawaii I think we are filling the canisters with tap water.

0816 UT

Passing 22,000 feet...  Time to turn off the flow of liquid nitrogen to the
cavity.  I bring work gloves along because one of the valves I have to close
gets really cold.  It's always encrusted with frost and ice.

This will probably be my last flight on this deployment.  I will have spent
about 75 hours in the air in the last month, not including a ferry flight
back from New Zealand.  I remember one week on the last deployment when I
had about 56 hours in the air in one week.  A commercial 5 hour flight to
or from Hawaii is just a short hop to those of us who fly on the KAO.

There is a tracker operator on this project who has been here for almost 20
years.  He's got about 10,000 hours flying at night in this plane.
that's over one solid year in the air.

0830 UT

Compressors on.  Passing through 36,000 feet.

0831 UT

Coming up on vibration isolators. 15 minutes till we turn on to the first
observation leg. The PI's are having noise problems and they're working on
it. They're seeing noise spikes on their spectrum analyzer.

0839 UT

Opening the aperture door...  I have one TV monitor looking at the acquisition
telescope camera, and one looking at the tracker camera video. These small
telescopes are aligned to look straight up the same line of sight as the big
telescope. We use the video from these to locate the place in the sky where
the object we want to gather data on is located.

I saw the biggest sea turtle yet today. I'm getting to know this area where we
snorkel pretty well now. I swam out past the breakwater this time into some
pretty good ocean swells. It's was fun being lifted up 3 or 4 feet when a
wave would pass under me. I can get around pretty well by locating familiar
landmarks on the bottom.

0949 UT

It's Harvey Mosely's birthday.  His crew just brought out a birthday cake and
sang "Happy Birthday" to him.  They're having a good old time up there at the

1111 UT

So far it's been a routine flight. Everything is working fairly well at the
moment. There are a few things that are not completely functional but we
can work around them.

1141 UT

Have I mentioned how uncomfortable these headsets are?  They're like a vice on
your head. We are scheduled to land at 1541. Exactly four more hours to
go. Tomorrow will be an easy day unless I come back with a big list of
problems from this flight. So far, it's looking reasonably good.

1353 UT

Nothing new to report. We're still drilling holes in the night sky somewhere
out over the Pacific Ocean at 41,000 feet. Chatter on the intercom has fallen
way off now. No one has a whole lot of energy at oh four dark hundred in the
early morning.

1449 UT

It's positively quiet on the intercom now. Minutes go by without a word.  We're
on the last leg now. I've tidied up my area and have my pre-landing check list
up on another window of this computer. In 24 minutes we'll start our descent
back towards Hickam Air Force Base. It's been a long night. I won't have much
time any more to go snorkeling during the days, but it's a small price to pay
for being able to have evenings of and sleep at night. I've enjoyed writing
these logs, but once I get on days I'll be busy doing maintenance and
preparing the plane for missions.  I won't have the access to a computer I
have here during a flight so this will be all for me for the rest of this

Good bye and good night!
Juan Rivera

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