Posted by: D. Rand | February 24, 2009

Day 4 “Houston, we have a problem.”

Every  experiement must pass a safety and readiness check before flying on the Weightless Wonder. Moments before our all important readiness review by some very important people,  the metal bar  in our experiment broke!


With extra washers and tightening of a bolt we were able to hold it together to pass the inspection.  Our friends at NASA are helping us repair the bar so it will be ready to fly on Thursday. Can you think of any ways this can be repaired??

Today we learned about the Nuetral Buoyancy Lab (NBL)  where astronauts prepare and train for space walks.  It’s a huge pool filled with equipment that astronauts need in order to do their jobs in space.  Using the tools in water feels very much like using them in space. This is how astronauts practice using the tools before their missions. Flat Stanley found it very interesting.



  1. How did that metal bar break?
    When did you first notice the bar was broken?
    Will you throw up since it has the nickname the”vomit comet”
    How many Flat Stanleys did you bring?
    are you going to go in the giant pool to practice?

  2. We loved your website blog. We were wondering if you have been in the plane yet? What does it look like inside? Also, how deep was the training pool and did you wear any special equipment? We look forward to your future messages. Our thoughts are with you!!


    • Hi 4S and greetings from Houston!
      We are very glad you like our blog. And we are very happy that you have so many questions. Our microgravity flight on Thursday morning at 9am (which is 10am in Connecticut). We will be able to send you pictures of the inside of the plane because we are allowed to bring our cameras.
      Unfortunately, we were not allowed to go into the training pool. It’s only for astronauts and scuba divers who help in training the astronauts.
      The pool is about 60 feet deep.
      Thanks for thinking of us and we look forward to hearing from you again!!

      Mrs. Sliva and Mrs. Rand

  3. What will you do in space?
    will it hurt if you hit your head when youre floating?
    how will you move around the plane if their is no gravity?
    how long will you be in zero gravity?
    will you be able to flip?

  4. Will you fly across the room of the airplane?
    Will there be other people with you?
    are there horses in Texas?
    will Fluffy be in the plane or other toys?
    will there be astronauts in the plane?
    Will you throw your friend?
    will you get to play in the plane?
    how will you float?
    will you be in an astronaut suit?
    will there be a driver of the plane?

    • Hello first graders!
      You have some really good questions and we will answer them all.

      Will you fly across the room of the airplane?
      We can’t really fly, but we will try to do some tricks that look like flying.

      Will there be other people with you?
      Yes. There will be about 20 other people in the plane with us on Thursday. Most of them are teachers just like us.

      are there horses in Texas?
      Yes. We saw horses in Galveston, Texas.

      will Fluffy be in the plane or other toys?
      Yes, Fluffy will be joining us on our microgravity flight. Maybe we can make her do some tricks!

      will there be astronauts in the plane?
      No. Astronauts don’t usually go on the same plane as the teachers.

      Will you throw your friend?
      Oh, yes. But we will be careful.

      will you get to play in the plane?
      I think we will. But first we must do our work with the experiment, then we get to play.

      how will you float?
      The pilot will fly the plane in a special way and do something called a parabola. In a parabola, the plane drops down very steeply (at a 45 degree angle) for a short time – about 30 seconds – and that’s when we will be floating. Count to 30 and you can get an idea about how long that is.

      will you be in an astronaut suit?
      No. But we will wear a green flight suit. It’s made out of cotton, has a lot of pockets and is very comfortable.

      will there be a driver of the plane?
      Yes. I heard he is a very good driver. Did you know the driver of a plane is called a pilot?

      It will be our turn to fly in the plane on Thursday morning.

      Check our website everyday and keep those questions coming!!

      Mrs. Rand and Mrs. Sliva

  5. Dear Third Graders,

    Thanks for reading about our adventures here in Houston, TX. The metal bar in our experiment cracked just before the NASA inspectors looked at our project. However, we were happy that we noticed the crack before our flight in microgravity. Now we will be able to fix it here on the ground where we have the time and tools we need.

    Our flight in microgravity on the NASA Zero-G airplane will be this Thursday.

    We will not be going into the pool to practice.

    Ms. Rand and Ms. Sliva

  6. Dear 1M,
    Thank you for your questions!

    The handle of our experiment has to be pulled to release the small marbles inside the experiment the students built. We are trying to see how the small balls or marbles pack together. Look at the photos of the experiment on the earlier pages. What do you think will happen to the marbles in space?

    We will also have time to try some of the things you asked us to try in microgravtiy such as push ups and “Toss the Teacher!”

    What do you suggest we do to move around when we are weightless? We need to hear from you soon because we are flying in the “Zero G” airplane on Thursday morning!

    Ms. Rand and Ms. Sliva

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