SMSU Student Gets Spacey With NASA

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Junior Angela Wieland is a chemistry major and a physics minor with a big passion for astronomy. When she signed up for NASA’s program NASASocial she got much more than she thought she’d signed up for.

“I thought it was just going to be like a newsfeed and maybe some message boards and stuff,” said Wieland. “But then I get this email that’s like ‘You’ve been invited to the Kennedy Space Center[in Orlando, Florida] to view the launch of [this] satellite!”

The satellite in question was the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite K, or TDRS-K for short. This satellite will be used to collect data on weather, temperature, and how much ice is lost annually in the Arctic. This is the first of a series of new tracking and data satellite to go up to replace the older models already in orbit.

Wieland got to attend a series of lectures from the engineers behind the TDRS-K and NASA scientists.  She also went on a tour of the Kennedy Space Center.

“The coolest part was definitely the control room,” she said. “I couldn’t get pictures, of course. Super secret national security stuff. But apparently Michael Bay got to shoot part of Transformers in there. Not fair,” she laments.

Wieland also used her trip to visit the Orlando Science Center, which boasts an observatory, and a stellar Star Wars exhibit. Though the travel costs came out of pocket, Wieland says she would do it again.

“It was amazing. I can’t wait to be doing that kind of stuff one day!”

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