Holidays with Friends
Life on the ISS:
Sunita Williams' Mission Log
• You know what it is like when company arrives - and stays for a while? It is really fun and exciting at first. Stories to share, pictures and presents to give out - but then...it becomes crowded. That was my overall feeling for the week. It has been fun and I do like the company and I know it will become quiet soon, but it is a little overwhelming after living with only 2 others for 4 months! It is weird what you get used to.
• For example, I haven't even had a chance to snap a shot in the window. It has been overwhelmed with people, video cameras and long lens cameras. Not to mention, the Service Module is the heart of where the turnover to the Expedition 15 folks is occurring, where Charles is working his experiments and where Misha is doing his funny pants thing to get ready to come home. Needless to say it is crowded.
• I used to escape the lab for some peace and quiet and have "chikoo" (tea) with Misha in the Service Module. Now, I escape the Russian segment and fly into the quiet lab to relax. I think that will change when we only have 3, so I am really trying to enjoy the noise and confusion of 6.
• This all reminds me of coming home from deployment in the Navy. After living in a relatively closed environment, with limited access to news and family, interactions with lots of other people and news are all a little overwhelming. I can imagine when I come home from space it will really be strange at first. So interesting how the human body and mind adapt to the situations they are put in. I almost can't remember how unnatural and difficult it was to live in space when we first got here...space is now my home and very comfortable.
• As the last week with Misha and LA draws closer, that feeling of your visiting family and friends starting to pack up is starting to settle in. You know that feeling, when you wish they weren't really going to leave, but know they are and you can't change it?
Cool places we have flown over this week:
• Australia - again, the crazy continent. As promised, check out the contrasts of humans and nature as well as color.
Image to right: Rangeland southeast of Lake Dundas in Western Australia is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 14 crew member on the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA
• Western U.S. at sunset - very pretty colors, however, difficult to capture with the camera in low light level.
• Reunion Island - at night and saw an active volcano thanks to someone named JR in Seattle who wrote in to Charles to see if we could see it. In fact, it was unmistakably bright orange on the east end of the island!!!
Image to left: The crew members onboard the International Space Station share a meal at the galley in the Zvezda Service Module. Image credit: NASA
• We decided to have our feast on Cosmonautics Day, April 12th. In case you didn't know, April 12th is a very special day in the space biz. It is the day the first man launched into space, Yuri Gagarin, as well as the first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia by John Young and Bob Crippen. It is a huge holiday in Russia and in the U.S., "Yuri's Night" is a great party in the Johnson Space Center area, Ames area and probably others.
• So, without further delay, The Charles Menu included:
Quails roasted in Madrian Wine
Shredded Chicken Parmentier (not exactly sure what this sauce is - but tasty)
Duck Filet Confit (not sure what that word means) with Capers
Side dish of puree of celeriac (not to be confused with celery - I was corrected) with nutmeg
Dessert was rice pudding with candied fruits, Semolina Cake with dried apricots and apple fondant pieces
LA contributed: octopus, red peppers stuffed with tuna, and anchovies (salt tablets)
Image to right: The crew members onboard the International Space Station share a meal at the galley in the Zvezda Service Module. Image credit: NASA
• The main dishes were each one big can, the side dish came in 3 small cans. The dessert also came in separate small cans. I would say the food was generally tasty, but there is something about eating out of a can... The variety of tastes was the best thing! I will have to admit I had some good old ravioli in a bag after these taste tests.
Image to left: A close-up view of the galley in the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 14 crew member during mealtime. Image credit: NASA
• 40 minutes biking, 2.6 mile run/walk
• 5.1 miles running
• 3.6 miles run/walk
Rest day (actually, CEVIS troubleshooting...)
• 40 minutes biking, 1.2 miles walking
• 4.8 miles running
• 2 miles running - pampering for the big run tomorrow. No lifting today to give my leg muscles a break. I hope I am ready...
• Well, by the time you get this, I hope I have made a good attempt at the 111th Boston Marathon. -A hearty THANKS to all the folks supporting me not only in Boston, but also in Houston (our Operations Control Team works here) and Huntsville, Alabama (our Payload Control Team works here)!!! What a showing!!! Both control teams put together teams and ran a 1/2 marathon relay to support my effort to do this crazy marathon thing. How cool is that!!! Not only for the support, the idea of getting folks out there, working out with us is really what this event is all about.
Things we did:
• ALTEA, last run for LA. Science until the last moment!!!
• TRAC for Misha, LA and me. I think I get to do more later as well.
• SLEEP experiment data download.
• Payload and some systems debriefs with Huntsville and Houston.
• Expedition 14 Soyuz thruster checkout! Final check to make sure the Soyuz thrusters are all working correctly and are ready to go. I sat in the Soyuz with the Exp 14 guys one last time - that was fun.
• Misha still doing Lower Body Negative Pressure Experiment, in Russian called Chibis. The Wallace and Gromit pants, remember.
• So many PAO events, I can't even remember them.
• Expedition 14/15 handover.
• Got my hair cut for the marathon. Misha and LA cut each other's hair to look good for landing.
• Fixed the vacuum cleaner!
• HAM radio pass with DRS Dutch School (Dutch Ministry of Education Delta Researchers School)
• HAM radio pass with Salt Creek Primary School, Salt Creek, Australia