Candid and the Camera

For my Soyuz launch, I had worn a standard Shuttle diaper with two inserts for extra absorption. (I have found it advantageous to add a little extra in certain places—in weightlessness, urine will creep around under the guise of capillary action and find your long underwear.)

Still, we were in our spacesuits for over 12 hours, and that’s a long time. Even with the extra inserts, my diaper became completely overwhelmed. It leaked real bad; I could feel it happen, and was powerless to control the flood. When the time came to de-suit, I was more than ready to get out of that thing, but dreaded the impending mess. Fortunately, I was able to cover up my stained underwear with a pair of woolen bib overalls.

On docking day, we put on our Sokol suits again and strapped in about six hours before arriving at Space Station. By the time we docked I was tired, dehydrated, hungry, had to use the bathroom, and was still wearing my yellow-stained long underwear. My sinuses were a bit congested, with the standard red puffy, chipmunk face. Our Soyuz cabin pressure was at 830 mm, but station is maintained at 740 mm. When we equalized the two, I got a splitting sinus headache.

Let your smile be your umbrella!

When we opened the hatch we were immediately on camera, downlinked live to the world as we were greeted by the smiling faces of our space station crewmates. All I wanted to do was have a good “rest stop,” get something to drink, and hide in my sleep station (in that order). We were pulled into the Service Module, where we were once again on camera with Russian Mission Control and my family, all anxious to chat. They wanted to know what it was like. I felt like a red-faced, dehydrated, puffy sack of — (fill in the blank). That is what it was really like. I was able to force a smile.

Feeling better!


7 thoughts on “Candid and the Camera”

  1. Don is all you work on the station coordinated with mission control or are you free to do experiments on your own. We never get to see how you interact with your Russian partners on NASA TV so we never know how you get along with each other in your daily schedule. I love this technology I’m able to use.

  2. Don’t feel bad Don. I believe Alan Shephard had the same issue (without diaper)on the first Mercury flight. Surprising that in 50 years of manned space flight technology in this area hasn’t advanced much. God speed!

  3. Thank You Don. It is rare that the reality of what goes on during these fantastic launches is explained in real life terms and with real physical descriptions to the public… I learned more from your post then I’ve ever learned in the past. Most other information is powder puffed in order to draw a more positive view. It would be nice for others to be as open as you are. Just come right out and say it… These launches and dockings make you your pants and feel like as well… Thank You for being real! Good luck in your endeavors and your expedition.. Happy Landings Sir. (even though it will be a while until you come home).. I hope you post about what it’s like to come back through the atmosphere and the “gentle” landing.

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