Space Monkeys

Posted February 28, 2000 at 5:31 pm No Comments

So who are these crazy space monkeys to whom I keep referring?  I think it’s high time you met the team!

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“Southwest sure is a classy airline,” Kate thinks to herself.

Kate Williams is a spunky biomedical engineer with a fiery head of hair and an occasional temper to match.  She is familiar with the NASA atmosphere, having worked at the Johnson Space Center as a co-op last summer. Along with developing our project concept and providing our initial NASA connections, Kate was instrumental in writing our research proposal and acquiring recommendations from Carnegie Mellon department officials and NASA-affiliated professors doing neurovestibular research. Kate will be soon be taking her MCAT exams in preparation for medical school.
You can always count on William Emmer in a pinch — he’s the sort of stand-up guy you’d want your daughter to marry.  A junior majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering and an active member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, William (or “Emmer”, as he is affectionately referred to by his friends) demonstrates an admirable blend of responsibility and jocularity; he’s straight-edged enough that Kate gives him a hard time about it, but wild enough that his ROTC friends sometimes call him “Crazy Emmer”.  Emmer constructed our “mission toolkit”, the container of components that we’ll be bringing on our flight, and carried out the stress tests and structural load analyses required for our research proposal.  When he graduates, Emmer will serve as a Lieutenant in the Air Force.

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Emmer gets a kick out of hypoxia.

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Would you trust this yokel to program your VR system?

As the only computer scientist on the team, my task was to program a virtual reality system that simulated the physical conditions that occur on a flight on the KC-135.   This proved somewhat daunting, since I knew nothing about airplanes and my grasp of physics was limited to what I learned in high school.
Peter Yeung might be described as the archetypal fraternity brother.  A member of Delta Tau Delta majoring in Industrial Management, Peter divides his time between heavy beer consumption, recreational belching, and half-hearted efforts not to fail the macroeconomics course that he is cross-registered for at the University of Pittsburgh.  It’s not entirely clear what role Peter plays on the team, but he does do a great job of keeping us sane.   Peter is an incredibly fun guy to be around, and his devil-may-care attitude and complete lack of respect for authority prevent us from taking ourselves too seriously.   Even if Peter isn’t able to graduate this year, I think he’ll do well in business one day — he has the rare sort of up-front honesty that I admire.

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Peter shows off the plaque he won in a keg-standing contest.

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