Standing by the Crew Hatch of Space Shuttle Discovery - April 6, 2005

I’m Featured Today on A Quilter’s Life Podcast

Paula Chamberlain who hosts the A Quilter’s Life podcast, reached out to me a few weeks ago, and we were able to schedule a time for an interview. We have all heard that every quilt tells a story, and Paula believes that every quilter has a story. Her goal is to capture details about what inspires and drives the quilting passion of each quilter to create a time capsule that would allow future generations to know more about us. I had a lovely time chatting with her, and I hope you enjoy getting to listen to my podcast episode (which is also embedded below for your listening convenience).

If you would like to have your story recorded by Paula, you can sign up to for your own interview with her using the A Quilter’s Life Calendly page. Once you schedule a time, please make a note that you were referred by me to help Paula plan.

Typical questions that Paula might cover include:

  • Background (think of things you want your friends and family, even generations from now, to know about you)
    • Where were you born and raised?
    • A special childhood memory
    • Employment – Why did you choose this career?
    • Where do you live now and how did you get there from where you were born and raised?
  • Besides quilting, what other crafts do you do or have you done?
  • What other hobbies do you enjoy (examples: backing, cooking, gardening, sports)
  • Who introduced you to quilting?
  • What’s your favorite quilt?
  • Do you have a favorite tool?
  • What’s your favorite part of the quilting process (design, cut, piece, sandwich, quilt, bind, etc.)?
  • What was your worst quilting experience?
  • Why do you make quilts? Whats draws you to this craft rather than using your time on other things?
  • Who do you make quilts for?
  • What are you working on now?
  • Describe your sewing space
  • Quilting tip
Standing by the Crew Hatch of Space Shuttle Discovery - April 6, 2005

Yvonne Standing by the Crew Hatch of Space Shuttle Discovery in the Vehicle Assembly Building – April 6, 2005

I mention in the podcast that I worked as a civil servant at NASA Kennedy Space Center. One of the many projects I was a part of was working on bipod bolt analysis work for STS-114, which was the Return to Flight launch of Space Shuttle Discovery after the Columbia accident. The Columbia accident was due to foam coming off of the external tank bipod strut and impacting the leading edge reinforced carbon carbon heat shield of Columbia during the launch. During the Return to Flight phase of work at NASA, many engineers poured over lots of details and we made as many changes and improvements as possible. The foam on the bipod strut was removed, and the torque requirements of all of the bolts on the connection were reviewed in detail. These photographs are of me with Discovery in the Vehicle Assembly Building on April 6, 2005, after it was “stacked” and before it was rolled out to the launch pad (during the bolt analysis time frame).

With STS-114 Bipod Strut in Vehicle Assembly Building

Yvonne with STS-114 Bipod Strut in Vehicle Assembly Building – April 6, 2005

Working around delicate flight hardware can mean that space is limited. One of the big challenges of the bipod strut is getting the bolts preloaded with enough torque without slipping and damaging either the foam of the external tank (which is creamy orange in the photo above) or the delicate heat shield tiles on the underside of the shuttle (which is black on the right behind all the ground service equipment). Also note that my engagement and wedding rings had to be secured with Kapton tape. If anything comes off and falls in either the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) or at the launch pad, it can damage sensitive hardware down below.

STS-114 launched on July 26, 2005, and landed on August 9, 2005, after having spent just under 14 days in space.

10 thoughts on “I’m Featured Today on A Quilter’s Life Podcast

  1. Always interesting to hear about the work you did with NASA. I look forward to listening to the podcast!

  2. This sounds like a fun podcast. I cued it up for my retreat ride this morning.

  3. Barbara says:

    Yvonne, thanks for sharing your inspiring journey.

  4. Debbie says:

    VERY interesting! Nice you had the opportunity for an interview.

  5. So interesting to read this! And see you beside the Space Shuttle. :-)

  6. Kaja says:

    Lovely photos – the first one looks almost like you could take inspiration for a quilt from it. I like a podcast in the evening with a cup of tea, that that’s my treat for this evening and I’m really looking forward to it.

  7. Preeti says:

    Loved your stories, especially the one about brownies :-D

  8. What a cool, but probably stressful project to be involved in. You have to absolutely sure you’ve got things right. Were you making quilts at that point?

  9. Love this and loved the podcast…you rode with me on the way to Bolton MA for my retreat…setting the mood for working Planview!

  10. michael harrison says:

    muy impressivo – i was deleting old files from my pc and found “Yvonne Fuchs – recommendation”. Had to look you up on the internet to see if my hyperbolic pronouncements of your certain future successes after UT graduation were accurate. They appear to have been exceeded. Also opened some of your Michael’s referenced pages to learn you married a genius, as did he. Am happy to learn you are out of government, look & sound as I remembered from your too brief tour at Oak Ridge w/ our safety analysis group.
    Somewhat disappointed only in not reading of any little > 200 IQ Fuchs sons & daughters being home-schooled to soon help restore our national and international sanity.
    May GOD bless you both and keep you, make His Face shine upon you and be gracious to you, lift up His Countenance upon you and give you peace.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)