This entry was originally posted on June 13, 2010 by Astronaut Ron Garan on www.FragileOasis.org
I appreciate that I have been given a special privilege. I realize how fortunate I am to be included in that very small group of people who have the opportunity to fly in space. Because of this, I also realize that I have a responsibility to share that experience, as best I can, with everyone who has not been given this opportunity. I began this blog simply to help others share in the wonderful experience of living and working in space.
In September of 2008, 3 months after returning from the STS-124 mission, I was assigned to International Space Station Expedition 27/28. Since that time I have been in full-time training in the US, Russia, Japan, Canada and Germany. Presently I am in week 3 of a 5-week training trip to Star City Russia. This trip has been special because for first time my family was able to come over and join me for a week. I took some leave and showed them around Moscow, St. Petersburg and Star City. It was really great to see them, spend time with them and help them get a better understanding of what’s involved with training over here. It was a really important trip because now everything will not be so new and different when they travel over for launch next March.
All of the assigned crews live in “cottages” that were built about 20 years ago to support NASA’s partnership with the Russian Space Agency. It’s a great experience to share meals and life with fellow crew members, instructors and members of the support teams.
There really is a great feeling of camaraderie. The training here does not come without sacrifice. Of course family separation is the biggest, but the training is packed into the available time which makes for some long days and late study nights. All the training is conducted in Russian but interpreters are provided for those who still need it (like me).
As I write this it’s Sunday night, but tomorrow is a day off due to “Russia Day.” I’ll close here for the night since we’re all going to get together tonight and watch a movie.
13 June 2010