|Posted on Jun 30, 2011 04:07:31 PM | Mike Fossum | 2 Comments ||
June 20, 2011
It’s hard to believe we’re starting our 2nd full week up here! The past 11 days since we arrived at the ISS have been a blur of physical adaptation to space and mental adaptation to working in zero-G.
At this point in a shuttle flight, it’s about time to pack up your gear and head for KSC. And we’re just getting started…. One of the big differences between the two is that every minute is so precious on a short shuttle flight, so we’re scripted and trained for optimum efficiency. You know all of the details of your flight perfectly and it shows in a beautifully choreographed ballet of spacecraft, other equipment (like new pieces of space station), and people in the air and on the ground all doing their part shoulder-to-shoulder. (OK – maybe it’s just “beautifully choreographed” if you’re a techno-space geek. Guilty as charged.)
For ISS, a significant part of our training is devoted to our ride up – the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. That 50-hr ride up and 4-hr ride home after 5.5 months requires a huge dedication of time and training resources, but it doesn’t help us prepare to operate the space station. In addition, the ISS is a huge place. (My previous rough estimate was about 5 Greyhound buses in size. After already searching unsuccessfully for several things, I must recalculate my estimate.) Finally, with laboratories and systems built in countries around the globe, there is simply too much here for one person to learn on the ground, so a good part of our training is OJT or “On the Job Training.” That’s frustrating at times (for all involved), but we’re picking up speed quickly.
I have time for one quick story about adaptation that is hard to imagine back home. When you let something go, it doesn’t fall in the general area around your feet. It scatters in a growing sphere around you, but your instinct is to look “down” for the missing thing. (Wherever your brain interprets “down” to be, that is….) So you lose things. You may have heard me tell the story about losing my fork on the second day of my first shuttle mission five years ago. The photo below is from my STS-124 mission. I looked and looked for that darned thing, but ate with a spoon until the day we were packing up to come home. While adjusting and tightening some bags for reentry, my fork came floating into the cabin. It happened again. On our second night here in the ISS, we had dinner in the Russian Service Module and my silverware (really “eating utensil”) kit didn’t make the trip back with me. Here we go again! I got luckier this time – Sergey found my kit in the FGB lodged in some stored equipment. I’ve managed to keep track of my silverware for a whole week now, so things are looking up!
Make it a great week!
I’m living the dream!!
Tags : General