So I have been on the ISS now for almost 2 weeks. While the time has flown by, it also feels like our launch was so long ago. I think we have all experienced these types of time warps. It has been everything I expected and more. It is funny that we train for over 2 years for a flight and I feel very comfortable with any technical tasks that I may have to do and it was the daily routine/personal items that has been the most overwhelming. It was the simple things: where do I find clothes, what is the best technique for using the bathroom, how do I set up my personal sleep station, etc that really worked my brain. The only way to learn all of that is by being here and relying on the patience and experience of the your fellow crew mates. Don and Andre have been great. I will always be grateful for their assistance. Now that I am settled in and comfortable, I can now focus on the science and maintenance that we do during our work days.
Of course the big story so far of my short time period onboard, has been the arrival of Dragon. I congratulate the SpaceX team for their monumental accomplishment. Since my original launch date was delayed by 6 weeks and Dragon was scheduled to arrive before me, Don and Andre had trained onboard as a 2 person team. They had a great game plan. With very consistent training in Houston, I was able to assist and fill holes as needed. It was too cool the first time we caught sight of Dragon. As it got closer and closer, it just became more and more amazing. The grapple and berthing went without a hitch. Even though we are very well trained, there was quite a bit of relief onboard after our tasks were complete. We gathered as a crew that night for a group dinner to celebrate.
Things that are memorable up here: floating (you never get tired of that, it is like a dream), group dinners and stories around the table, working on science experiments that can only be done in a micro-gravity environment, reading a book while positioned in the Cupola with the Earth as a backdrop, working out and while doing bench press staring at Earth (I think if more people had that view while working out, we would make it a higher priority), sleeping in the vertical….. The list will grow with every passing day. I am grateful every day for this opportunity.