With Two Seconds to Spare

The education downlink with the STS-133 and International Space Station crew went off this morning without a hitch. Voice checks were good. We started on time. We made it through all 20 questions with just enough time to say a sincere and heartfelt thanks to the crews for talking to us when our time drew to a close.

The astronauts gave great answers to questions about robotics, the legacy of the space shuttle, what it’s like in microgravity and how they tackle problems in space. We’ve got it all on video, and we will be sharing their responses and those videos here on the blog. For now, a few pictures from the event and the promise of more to come.

One thought on “With Two Seconds to Spare”

  1. You know, I thought that this blog entry would have been about the Herculean efforts that preceded the recent STS-133 launch.

    We all sat and watched as a “no go” that was generated by a problem with an Air Force range safety monitoring system threatened to put the kibosh to the launch with nine minutes left in the countdown.
    In my mind’s eye, I thought about the movie “Crimson Tide”.

    This following exchange, edited for this blog, and courtesy of the Internet Movie Database, might well have taken place:

    Hunter: [asking about the radio repair] How long’s it gonna take?
    Vossler: I don’t know, sir.
    Hunter: You know what’s going on here?
    Vossler: Yes sir.
    Hunter: No I don’t think you do. Let me explain it to you. If we launch, and we’re wrong, what’s left of Russia is gonna launch at us. There will be a nuclear holocaust beyond imagination, now it’s all about knowing, Mr…
    [Hunter looks at Vossler’s name patch]
    Hunter: Vossler. We have to know whether our order to launch has been recalled or not. The only way we’re gonna know, is if you fix that radio, you understand?
    Vossler: [looks down]
    Hunter: You ever watch Star Trek?
    Vossler: St- yeah, Star…
    Hunter: Star Trek! The USS Enterprise? All right, now you remember when the Klingons were gonna blow up the Enterprise and Captain Kirk calls down to Scotty he says “Scotty, I gotta have more power-”
    Vossler: He needs more, more warp speed, yeah.
    Hunter: Warp speed, exactly. Now I’m Captain Kirk, you’re Scotty, I need more power. I’m telling you if you do not get this radio up, a billion people are gonna die; now it’s all up to you, I know it’s a rotten deal but you got it, can you handle it?
    Vossler: [silent]
    Hunter: Scotty?
    Vossler: Aye, Captain.

    As someone with a 33 year career in industrial instrumentation and controls, I appreciate the efforts behind the “rescue” of the STS-133 launch, and would love to know the whole story.

Comments are closed.