Mission Support Summary, July 20
Today was a relatively calm day for mission support. Here follows a list of
Mission Support Director - Tony Muscatello
Cap Com - Katya Muscat
Liason - Michelle Stempel
Journalist - Sybil Sharvelle
Operations Support - Jim Rankin
Two friendly and helpful visitors, Josh Wilcox and Jake Thiel, also accompanied
us. Josh and Jake are both University of Colorado students and Mars
enthusiasts. I am sure they enjoyed themselves thoroughly today and will back
to help staff Mission Support in the near future!
The day started with a phone call from Robert Zubrin who informed us that Devon
Island communications were down. Unfortunately, we were not able to maintain
normal communications with the FMARS crew via e-mail. However, we tried to go
ahead with a live link update for tourists at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). It
was decided that we would let FMARS field team members hear the tourist's
questions through the telephone once Mission Support received the sound files
from KSC. The FMARS crew then answered questions while we held a digital
recorder to the telephone. After the answers were successfully recorded onto
the digital recorder, Tony scrambled around making every possible effort to get
the answers sent back to Kennedy by 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, when our
presenters are kicked off the stage. Unfortunately, the answers were not sent
until 6:01 eastern time so the audience was left hanging once again, despite
Tony's relentless efforts. Maybe next time!
Communications were finally established with Devon Island at 6:30 pm Mountain
Standard Time. Some problems were reported to us regarding backpack failures
and some problems with the helmets. These problems were forwarded to Dewey
Anderson, the designer of the backpacks and helmets, and will be dealt with
promptly. We were also informed that the food shipment has finally arrived to
Devon Island, so the field team will not starve to death after all.
The rest of our time was spent repositioning the web cam to a place where more
action could be seen. We found a slightly better location, but hope to find an
even better one. This better location will require the assembly of a small
shelf. Hopefully an eager staff member will take on this task tomorrow so that
people all over the world can have a better view of what we are doing instead
of just looking at one of our computer screens.
Some issues were discussed regarding the overly consuming job of being Mission
Support Director. Tony, who takes on this job all too frequently, has a hard
time even reading all of the messages that come in and thus can not keep up
with providing solutions to the never ending problems and needs of the Devon
Island field team. It was determined that it would help to have a smaller
Mission Support staff on site at Pioneer Astronautics so that computer space
can be freed up. This can be achieved by having some of the jobs done
remotely. Also, a system of delegating tasks needs to be developed that
ensures tasks are done. This will allow the Mission Support Director to be an
overseer rather than a person who is stuck doing everything.
Over and out for today!