Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Long Pants and Closed Toe Shoes?

One question I asked a lot at the NASA Tweetup I attended last week was regarding the requirement that on Day 1 of the Tweetup that we had to wear long pants and closed toe shoes. Coming from an Indiana winter, I was looking forward to wearing shorts in the hot Florida sun once I was accepted for the Tweetup.

All through the first day we couldn’t figure out why we had to wear such warm clothes, and believe me, it was warm.

Finally, towards the end of the day as we were heading to the launch pad to watch them retract the RSS (Rotating Service Structure) they explained the safety concerns that forced our dress code. We were able to visit the launch pad within 24 hours of launch so the SRB (Solid Rocket Boosters) had already been fueled. Do to the potential dangers for leaking gas they want anyone within a mile of the launch pad to wear long pants and closed toe shoes. The gases that may leak are heavy in nature and would fall to ground level where they can burn your skin or cause other types of irritation.

Even though it was hot and my jeans were sticking to me, it was all very well worth it. Being 200 yards from the launch pad with the shuttle on it and ready to go was incredible. I would have worn my snowsuit if that’s what they would have required.