Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Camilla & SDO Story: Chapter 3: Once Upon a Time at NASA

When the little boy named Paul got Camilla home and discovered she was more than your average yellow rubber chicken, he and his father had a long talk with her. They discovered two things; that Camilla should never go back to the circus, and that she was, hands down, the smartest rubber gallus domesticus they had ever met. Paul’s father happened to work for NASA where he had been involved in many important missions. Being a smart guy (as most NASA employees are, as well as some of their subcontractors too) he decided to bring her to work.

Camilla joined the Heliophysics (solar physics) team, and made many friends there. She was particularly good at sensing when the team needed a break. Down the halls you could hear a squak and all the scientists and engineers would rest and recoup with Camilla.
One day while hanging out at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, she spotted plans for a new satellite: The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), going by the name Little SDO. Maybe it was her propensity for science and new things, or maybe it was her alien ancestry that made her so fascinated with Little SDO. No one knows, but she was transfixed.

As plans for Little SDO moved forward, Camilla felt more and more maternal toward the budding new satellite. When construction began on Little SDO, she was there. She was there for all Little SDO’s big tests, and trials. During Spin Test, Camilla rode the spin table with Little SDO and was seen wobbling down the halls of Goddard Space Flight center for days. Now that Little SDO is all grown up and getting ready to launch, their relationship has shifted from maternal, to a true friendship.

Camilla enjoys Little SDO’s shiny personality, his desire to understand Space Weather in more detail, and the fact that Little SDO can keep all of his eyes on the Sun for days at the time without even blinking. He does have 6 eyes on 3 different instruments, which at first made Camilla feel weird. But now Camilla feels so at ease with the fact that Little’s camera are top of the line and impressed that they are ten times more detailed than normal High Definition TV. Once Little SDO launches, he will spend all of his time looking at the sun, which is just fine with Camilla since he won’t have time to look for a new BFF.
In just a few weeks Camilla will accompany Little SDO on a road trip down to Kennedy Space Center and she is excited to ride with him in a beautiful-white-air-conditioned -1st-class-shipping container. Little SDO and Camilla will enjoy some more time together before an Atlas V rocket will sadly part them, currently scheduled for December 4th, 2009.

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