Well, in just a few days, I should get my first real taste of life in outer space.
So, what will life onboard the ISS be like? Well, just like you, I can only imagine at this point.
I am now a proud member of not one, not two, but three different crews!
It was November 4, 1998, and I had arrived at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, for my very first flight in the T-38 training jet.
Well, on a recent trip to Star City, Russia, it was time for me to try on some of my spacesuits...Russian style!
A long time ago, in a place far, far away (Chapter 2) I wrote about winter survival training in Russia.
I was recently fitted for a fine new suit.
An excellent protein source, soybeans are already being used in foods consumed on the space station.
One of the difficulties with an astronaut training flow is the “upset” by delays such as caused by the ET foam shedding that the training teams must grapple with.
From mashed potatoes with onions to bream with baltika sauce to coffee with cream and sugar, we tried it all. Most of it was quite tasty, but there were a few things that I don’t think I could handle on orbit.
Now, I have been in a sauna before, but not like this one. First we donned hats reminiscent of an old Robin Hood movie. Second, we put on our slippers and grabbed a seating mat.
Our spacesuit is called an EMU or extra-vehicular mobility unit … whew! Their suit is designated the Orlan-M.
Over the past 13 months or so of training for my initial flight into space, I have often remarked to folks about the challenges of dealing with the separation from my family.
During this session I was, understandably, focused on family. With Mike’s return to Earth to the open arms of his wife, son and brand new daughter (they were waiting for him here in Russia!), my thoughts were turned to my family back in Houston.
As an astronaut and a former college athlete, I try very hard to stay in decent shape. Not so much as a requirement for the astronaut job mind you, but for peace of mind regarding my health given my family history.
Our adventure began on an overnight train from downtown Moscow and took us to one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
Today, here in Star City, Russia, I had one of those special days ... Today, I was fitted for my seat on the Russian Soyuz TMA spacecraft!
Each four-week session of training in Star City includes a multitude of theoretical classes. These classes are designed to provide us (the crew) a working knowledge of the myriad of systems operating onboard the Russian segment of the ISS.
The Russian alphabet and its Cyrillic characters further complicate the learning process by the simple fact that much of what you learned as a child to help you master English has to be “unlearned” for you to master Russian!
The Station’s robotic arm is similar to the arm we have used many times on the Space Shuttle (also provided by CSA). However, the station version has additional capability and is incredibly more complex.
Whew, it’s over … two days of winter survival training in Russia! Whoa! The second night’s temperature was -27 degrees Celsius (yes, that’s below zero!). The approximate conversion is about -18 degrees Fahrenheit!
This is not my first trip to Star City, Russia. As the Expedition 4 (E4) crew’s “Crew Support Astronaut,” I was able to visit Star City twice in support of Yuri Onufrienko, Carl Walz and Dan Bursch.
In December of 2003, I received word from the head of the Astronaut Office, Kent Rominger, that I was being considered for placement into the International Space Station (ISS) training flow for future consideration as a possible crewmember.
As a flight engineer for Expedition 15, Clay Anderson has been writing about his experiences aboard the International Space Station.
NEEMO, or NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, is a project that takes place at an underwater laboratory off the coast of Florida. Engineers and astronauts test concepts for future space exploration here.
The astronaut candidates of 2004 are pictured here during training and other activities. Selections include both American and Japanese astronauts.
What are NASA's policies for utilizing JSC multimedia for personal or professional use? Find JSC video and imagery. Browse among online galleries or call the Media Resource Center for more resources.