A year or so ago I wrote a feature for work on Heather Archuletta. She was participating in a NASA bed rest study and I asked the main point of contact for the article if I could interview one of the participants for the feature. They put me in touch with Heather, and she was such a delight to work with! When our article came out Heather loved it and wrote about it on her blog, Pillownaut.
This past summer when I went weightless Heather found out about it and wrote about that on her blog too. We’ve stayed in touch off and on and eventually found each other on Facebook. Heather had seen two of three existing Saturn V rockets — the one at Kennedy Space Center and the one at Johnson Space Center — so I gave her hard time that she had to come to Huntsville sometime and see our Saturn V because it’s the best! (OK, so I’m a little partial, but it is rather spectacular.)
A few weeks ago Heather emailed that she’d like to stop in Huntsville as part of a road trip she was making, and if I had time we should meet up.
So this past Monday she was here and I got to plan a few things to show her. It turns out the Space & Rocket Center, where our Saturn V is displayed, was closed on Monday, but that’s OK because I sent an email to a colleague there and he agreed to let us in and show us around. Awesome! Craig, another person Heather knew here at Marshall, had a contact in test stands and arranged for us to take a driving tour of Marshall’s test stand area, including getting pretty close to the historic Dynamic Test Stand. (I had not been in the test stand area since taking a public tour as a teenager so that was quite a treat!) We also took Heather on a tour of the Payload Operations Integration Center.
We ate lunch at the center cafeteria and Heather shopped in the center’s space shop. It was a jam-packed day for all of us, but I was so glad she got to see the many things that make our center and city proud. She’s gonna write all about it (complete with pictures of us and Craig) on Pillownaut so I’ll post a link when that goes up. Below are a few pics from our tours.