This is the very personal account of this test, for more facts and figures, as well as scientific context, check out the press release.
Had my first experience as a Test Director for "hardware validation in relevant environment." It was an incredible honor to work with the team at NRC-Canada, and there was no one I would have rather had my ass-handed to me over and over again by until we got hardware approval. They were incredibly helpful and supportive in getting the test up to acceptable flight-worthiness. During test approval, I would be super focused on resolving an open issue, but also surrounded by brilliant, talented, and generous people ready to lend a hand on anything. On top of their own responsibilities, whenever something came up that could use extra hands or new ideas, they would rush on in!
FFD space suit tests were approved for parabolic flight early on the 2nd day in Ottawa, and The A-Team (aka Test Group 1) got to fly the microgravity flight mission before storm clouds rolled in. The team performed beautifully, and I was proud of our joint achievement. I didn't barf, and got to sit in the jump seat watching the autumn colors during take-off and landing. I also had a delightful moment when the pilots warned of a bump and I got to see the plane run into a cloud and feel it.
Was equally excited to fly with Test Group 2, and since my flight had gone smoothly the day before I felt much more able to enjoy it. There ended up being a free parabola at the end, and I let myself unclip and free float (during test tasks I only loosened my lap belt entirely, since I wanted to be controlled in case someone needed help after a parabola).
Those who had weekend departures were able to kick back and just celebrate. Our meet up location had beer flights, which seemed like the perfect thematic choice. I suggested if we just took sips out of each others' glasses we could try one sip per parabola, until someone pointed out that I was on two tests and would need my stomach pumped. One flight it was, but I couldn't resist calling the phases of the flight. Then there was bistro food, decadent desserts and lots of hugging. I love the striving and the challenge, but I also love the moments we take to celebrate the team.