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The Blank Slate Part 2: She’s making a list and checking it twice (can you tell I am working on this during the holidays?!?!)

Continuing on with the process of building the labs and offices from scratch….

As you can imagine the excel spreadsheet we have to document all of these items is enormous. It is called the PSRD or the Payload Support Requirements Document. It is an official document that goes to NASA and is approved. It is difficult, but not impossible (I am told) to add items after the document is approved. Unfortunately, if we get down to Florida and realize we are missing items, I cannot simply go to the store and buy them.

With the list of equipment somewhat complete, one would think we are almost done. Not so, now we need to “check it twice” and think about things like: Who will pay for which items (NASA, DOD, IU, CASIS, etc.)? Who places the orders? How, when and where to schedule the deliveries? Also, any potentially hazardous materials being delivered need to be identified so they can be handled safely (such as our x-ray machine and tissue fixative solution).

There are three people from NASA that are primarily helping with this task, two doctoral scientists and one veterinarian technician. I am the main person from our team going over the list but have enlisted four people from my team to help check and double check the items as well as two people from the DOD and one person from Johnson Space Center. We started the list in August and have made a number of edits. I have personally spent 40+ hours working on it during the holiday break, when most people are spending time with their families (yes, the sad reality of meeting the constant deadlines – I have never worked so hard in my life as I have been working to prepare for this spaceflight mission), and yet it is still not complete.

I have just sent a revised list with a number of questions out to all parties for comments and clarifications. I think we are finally getting close on the list and will need to get approval soon. We must have our approvals no later than early February because some items require at least 120 days to obtain prior to the mission.

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Written by Melissa Kacena

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Carl Pinkham