Imaging and Photographic Technology students fly on NASA's Vomit Comet!
As narrated by Andy Davidhazy:
Crystal Embrey, Jason Babcock, Keith Krause and Sam Hill proposed an experiment to the NASA Microgravity Research Flight Opportunity for college students and in a competition involving 60 universities nationwide they were selected to be among the 23 student teams to be invited to fly on NASA's famed Boeing 707, KC-135, "Vomit Comet", at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The Imaging and Photographic Technology team was selected along with student teams from Texas A&M, Purdue, Georgia Tech, University of Washington, University of Utah, and others.
The four members of the team are seen as they prepare and conduct their experiment involving the application of high speed motion picture photography at 2,000 pictures per second of bursting (on command) balloons filled with water, carbonated water and a mixture of oil and water. After their assignments were completed they took a few relaxing minutes off to enjoy a breathtaking ride as close as one can get to space conditions while still remaining within the atmosphere. After some fun in the near zero gravity environment chasing water drops and doing multiple flips in midair, some members of the team wished for the whole experiment to come to a prompt conclusion and, in fact, were wishing they had never set foot on the plane in the first place ... as those little white bags sticking out of their flight-suit pockets started to overflow.
At last report the crew was able to photograph the bursting of four out of the 10 balloons they had planned to carry on the two missions that they flew in groups of two. Design and performance improvements are already being contemplated!
The photographs above were made by a graduate of the Imaging and Photographic Technology program, Robert Markowitz, who is a regular NASA photographer on the Vomit Comet. Among other graduates of the program who provided the visitors with a behind-the-scenes look at the NASA/JSC Photography Lab, barbecues at home, meetings with a Russian cosmonaut, an outing to Galveston, etc. were Sheri Dunnette and Mark Sowa. Their assistance and hospitality for the members of the IPT team is gratefully appreciated.