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Preflight Interview: Rex Walheim, Mission Specialist
11.16.07
 
JSC2003-E-47248: Astronaut Rex Walheim Q: There are hundreds of thousands of pilots and scientists out there in the world, but there are only about 100 American astronauts. What made you try to become one of them and be one of those people who flies in space?

Image to right: Astronaut Rex J. Walheim, STS-122 mission specialist. Image credit: NASA

A: Well, when I was young I thought it was a neat, neat idea. I used to read some books, children’s books about space, and I thought it would be a great thing to go into space. I didn’t really think it was that much of an attainable goal but I kept it in the back of my mind, and I did want to try to shoot for it. And the reason I liked it so much is because I always enjoyed flying, and I enjoyed the space program, so I thought that would be a neat combination. When I was in the Air Force, early in my career, I came down here to the Johnson Space Center as a young Air Force officer and was a flight controller, and that just rekindled my love for the space program. It was so fun to work in the Mission Control Center on some of the shuttle flights, back in the STS-27 time frame, and to be here first hand and work on the space program, and it just got me really excited about it. It was still hard for me to believe that maybe some day I could be a crew member, but then I got involved in, in flight test work out at Edwards Air Force Base where I was doing more of the flight test work that NASA kind of likes in the backgrounds of some of their astronauts. I still had that passion for flying and the passion for spaceflight, and this seemed like the perfect marriage of the two, to apply to be a crew member, and I was very, very fortunate to get picked up.

Do you know what it was that sparked your interest in flying, your love of flying?

My father was a pilot, and so I think a lot of that comes off, from him. He exposed me to flying at an early age with both going to air shows and taking some small lessons and stuff when I was still in high school, and I just enjoyed hearing his stories. It just was something in the blood. So I think it came from, came from the genes.

Let’s go back, to the beginning. Tell me about San Carlos, California, where you’re from.

Well, San Carlos is a small town south of San Francisco, on the peninsula in the Bay Area, a great town. I really enjoyed growing up there -- lots of stuff for kids to do and great schools. I had good teachers who really took an interest in me and taught me how, number 1, when I was even in grade school, taught me how to work hard in school, how to have self-discipline and, and do my work and, and get it done and stick to it. And then, going on, my study skills got better in junior high and high school and I did have teachers who really would take an interest in you and encourage you to go to college and talk about college and careers. I had influential teachers at all grade levels that really helped me go on the right path that I needed to go on to get the basics and the background I needed to get involved in the space program. They had good athletic programs, too. I enjoyed playing baseball and football when I was growing up. The people seemed to look after each other, and we all had a, a good time playing together and learning at school, and we just kind of stuck together. They had a lot to offer, and it was a very safe environment, and I think that all helped a lot.

Do you have a sense of how that place and those people helped make you the person that you are today?

Yeah, most of it, I think, was from the encouragement that I got there, the good background, the good basic education and advanced education that I got there, and the encouragement that people had and the faith they had in me. You could see, as you got older and older and the people started talking to you like an adult, and they started encouraging you, see that you could be somebody. I think that made a big difference. And my, my friends, too, encouraged me and that stuck by me. All that helped a whole lot. And then, of course, my parents -- they were probably the most influential people in my life. My mom and dad both encouraged me to work hard and gave me the kind of unconditional love to give me the send-off that I could try to do something crazy like become an astronaut or whatever I wanted to do, that gave me the kind of confidence I needed to do that. That helped a lot.

Did you get a chance to see it from orbit?

Actually, I did. That was one of the main goals I had on STS-110. I wanted to see my hometown, San Carlos, from space. So I had done some research, looking at pictures from space, to see how I could identify exactly San Carlos, and I figured out a way. You know, obviously, the Bay Area, the San Francisco Bay Area is very distinct from space. It has the big thumb of San Francisco, and San Carlos is down a little farther on that. I found out if I have a good pair of binoculars or looked closely, I could find Highway 280, and I could find the Crystal Springs Reservoir, and I look across the highway the same distance from the reservoir, and there would be San Carlos. And so there was one day on STS-110 we had a great pass, the weather was clear. I said, OK, we’re coming up on California, and sure enough, on the horizon, you could see the, the little thumb of, of the Bay Area. And as we got closer I grabbed some binoculars; sure enough I could see Highway 280 and Crystal Springs Reservoir; went across the highway and there was San Carlos, and I could see the roads leading up to the area where my house was. It was absolutely amazing to see the San Carlos airport. It was just such a thrill, because when you think about it, I remember being a kid, sitting in my backyard in San Carlos watching the airplanes fly over, and thinking I’d love to fly those airplanes one day. And here I was flying over my hometown at mach 25 at 220 miles up. It’s a really neat experience and I hope I get a chance to see it again.

Let’s talk about what you did after San Carlos. Tell me about your education and your professional career.

After I left San Carlos, I graduated from San Carlos High School in 1980 and then went on to the University of California at Berkeley. There I studied mechanical engineering. I originally wanted to be a pilot, but I knew that doesn’t always work out with various eyesight or physical problems, and so I wanted to have a good technical background in case I had something to rely back on. So I decided to major in mechanical engineering and went through four years of mechanical engineering and headed off, after I graduated. After four years of ROTC also, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force and went down to pilot training. And when I got down to pilot training the doctors said they thought I had a heart murmur, and so they wouldn’t let me fly. They said, well, where else are you going to go, what are you going to do instead. I said, well, I’d like to do some engineering work, maybe come to the Johnson Space Center. And they said, well, no, you’re going to North Dakota instead, and so they sent me to a small radar site in North Dakota where I was working as a missile warning officer. We were basically doing space tracking and tracking satellites and guarding from incoming missiles. So that was my job for a while, and then after I served my time up there I was able to come down here in the Johnson Space Center and work as a flight controller for a while. And I’d heard about the fact that engineers could fly airplanes in the Air Force with a waiver for this heart murmur they said I had, as back-seaters at Air Force Test Pilot School where they train with test pilots. So I decided I would apply to that, and unfortunately the first time I applied I didn’t get in. So I figured if the goal was worth having it was worth trying hard for. You could apply a couple years later and I did, and two years later I got accepted. And the interesting thing was when I went to get my waiver for this heart murmur, the, the doctors said, well, you don’t need a waiver, because you don’t have a heart murmur. And so not only was working as a flight test engineer open, but now potentially NASA could be an option also. So, I transferred down. I was in Colorado Springs at the time at headquarters Space Command, and I transferred out to Edwards Air Force Base in California and started finally getting to fly these airplanes after seven years in the Air Force. I was a back-seater, I wasn’t a pilot, but I really enjoyed doing engineering work. Flying in the airplane with the test pilots and helping to evaluate different systems was very, very hard work, but it was something I really enjoyed and had a passion for. I could work really, really hard at it and do well at it. And so that gave me the flight test background, and then in combination with my background as a flight controller, that kind of gave me a good background to apply to NASA. And since there wasn’t this physical problem, I could apply to be an astronaut, too.

Flying people in space as NASA does is not the only way to explore -- we know that NASA explores in other ways, too. But what is it that you think that we get as a result of flying people in space that we can’t get from other means of exploration?

I think bringing people on board spacecraft gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility that you just can’t get any other way. I think some of [the] last missions where we’ve had trouble with solar arrays illustrate that point perfectly. You have a solar array that won’t retract like it’s supposed to. It’s supposed to do it all automatically, and it doesn’t work right. So what do you do? Well, you send a person out there, and even something as simple as jiggling it or knocking some folds in where they’re supposed to go, provides tremendous benefits. I can actually do what it was supposed to do. There are tasks that may not work exactly right. If you have somebody there to just do a tiny little intervention, that a human can do easily, you can save the whole mission whereas with a robotic mission when something like that happens, how would we send up a robotic probe up to the space station to latch onto the solar ray and jiggle it a little bit? That might not be able to done -- so we may have had to not been able to use that solar array, or figure out a different way of doing something. So there’s an incredible flexibility that having people in space adds not only to an off-nominal, but even to normal situations, where an astronaut is on the moon and is executing the procedures that he’s supposed to do, and he just looks to the side and sees a tremendous find of some type of rock that they didn’t know existed or that wasn’t expected there. So he reaches around and picks it up. It’s very, very difficult to program a computer to do that. The inquisitive nature of a human is able to add tremendously to the normal operations, and then just the flexibility of having a human can change the entire plan when something doesn’t work right, which it sometimes happens in space. It’s an extreme environment, and to have things go perfectly is expecting too much. So having humans on board to fix them, I think, really is a tremendous benefit.

You are Mission Specialist 2 on this trip to the International Space Station. Rex, give me a summary of the goals of ISS assembly mission 1E and what your jobs are on this flight.

The main goal of our mission is to bring up the Columbus European laboratory module to the space station, to attach it and to start the activation process of it. So it’s a big mission. It’s an important milestone for the international participation in the International Space Station, and we’re looking forward to it from that perspective. My job, first, is to be part of the flight crew on ascent and on entry, and so I will help the pilot and commander do nominal and off-nominal procedures and help to diagnose any failures that may occur on ascent or entry. And then my main job on the mission is to be a spacewalker. I’m doing spacewalks one through three so I’ll go out twice with Hans [Schlegel] and once with Stan [Love] and take care of all the outdoor work.

Let’s talk about that piece of hardware; the primary payload is a new laboratory module for the European Space Agency called Columbus. Tell me about Columbus, in general, and what it is that that is adding to the International Space Station.

It’s kind of like adding a whole new member to the team, because now the Europeans will have their own laboratory module. They can do their own experiments, and they can let their research dictate what they want to do. They’ll be able to do it with a beautiful, state-of-the-art laboratory module on board the space station exposed to zero gravity and do all the kind of research that they want to do. And that can lead to new discoveries in their areas as opposed to the ones that we are researching in our U.S. laboratory module and the Russians are researching in their module. So it kind of adds another big piece to the research of the space station.

The period when you’re flying is, is one of some pretty dramatic change in the, in the look and the abilities of the International Space Station. What’s it like for you to get to be right in the middle of all of that?

It’s really exciting, especially having been there before. You get used to the way the space station looks. And being in the simulator when we’re training you see what it looks like now, and you’re like, wow. The biggest change you see are the solar rays, the big truss that we started on my last mission has expanded and expanded, and it’s just huge now. That has greatly improved the electrical generation capabilities of the space station. It’s amazing to see. When we get there the Node 2 module will be there on the front of the space station, and will make it bigger. Then we’ll add the Columbus module, so by the time we leave it’ll be a much different space station than I saw before.

Of course, you’ve seen pictures of it as it’s grown, component by component, but, yeah, I would imagine it’s going to be sort of dramatic to see.

It will. It’ll be dramatic to see approaching it, when you’re looking at it and it gets bigger and bigger and the solar arrays get larger and larger. It’s also going to be pretty exciting when you’re outside, too, ’cause now you can really have a lot of room to crawl around and to do your work. It’s going to be pretty amazing to see just how big it is outside.

Well, let’s talk about the spacewalks. As you’ve mentioned, you are spacewalker, EV 1, on all three of the spacewalks planned for this mission. Let’s go through them one at a time. Tell me about what happens on EVA 1.

EVA 1 is our basic spacewalk to get Columbus ready to be attached to the space station. One of the first things we have to do is put a grapple fixture on the outside of Columbus module. It could be launched with it on there -- the only problem is it’s a little bit too big to fit into the payload bay with the grapple fixture on there. It’s, the grapple fixture is basically a big pin that the robot arm can grab onto and then pull the Columbus module out of the payload bay. So we have to put that grapple fixture on there, and that’s one of our main tasks, and then we have to get Columbus ready to be unberthed from the payload bay. One thing we have to do is remove some covers off the end of it where we’re going to stick it onto the space station. We’ll remove those covers, put ’em away, bring ’em back in, and also unplug its Launch-to-Activation cable, a cable that it has to give it power when it’s in the payload bay. Then it’ll be free to go and, Leland [Melvin] and Stan can grab it and pull it out of the payload bay and start attaching it to the space station.

I imagine if you’re going to unplug it, then there’s some sort of clock running, by which time you have to have the module plugged back into something.

Yes, but it’s not too stringent. There are some other flights that have been very stringent about, hey, you’ve got to get it in within the first 24 hours. Once it gets on the robot arm, it can receive some power also, so it can receive some power en route, and it’s not quite as critical as some of the other modules that we’ve had but there is still a concern you’ve got to get it put on the space station before too long.

Early part of the EVA, then, you’re working in the payload bay to prepare Columbus …

Yes.

… to be removed from the payload bay; pick it up there.

And after that then we’re going to start doing some, preparation for another big task on the spacewalks this mission, and that’s to prepare to swap out some nitrogen tanks on the space station. The first thing we’re going to do is on EVA 1 is to head out to the location of the nitrogen tank, on the port side of the truss, and start preparing it to be removed. That’s the one that’s getting empty. We’ll prepare it to swap it out, because we’re going to put in a nice new full tank of nitrogen.

The nitrogen is there for …

It pressurizes the cooling system. In the process of activating the cooling system we used some of this nitrogen, and so we want that resupplied so we have a full capability there.

But you have to change out the hardware, you can’t refill the tank?

No. These tanks you can’t refill. Hopefully the future ones you can. But the one that’s on there now can’t be refilled. You have to exchange the whole nitrogen tank.

OK. I didn’t mean to take you away from the sequence of EVA 1, but go ahead.

That’s basically our last task. We’ll get as much as we can done, preparing those nitrogen tanks to be swapped so that we can do that on the second EVA, which is a full nitrogen tank task, so the more we get ahead the first EVA the, the easier it is to finish off the second spacewalk.

The actual docking of Columbus to the starboard side of Node 2 is done while it is still on the arm. Are you and Hans out in the area to assist?

Yeah, if we need to we can take a look at any kind of things that may go wrong or any problems that develop with the Common Berthing Mechanism in docking, Columbus to the side of the space station. So we’ll be out there. That’s not our planned task, but if they have any problems we’ll head over there and see what we can see to help out.

You all don’t get to go inside Columbus, then, until the day after that first spacewalk, but that ought to be pretty exciting.

It will be exciting, too. It’s always fun to see the new piece put on the space station. I remember my first mission when we put the S0 Truss on the space station. After the spacewalk we came out and looked out the windows of the shuttle and saw it sitting up there, bolted down nice and tight, and thinking, man, that’s great. It’s going to be really neat to go into Columbus and say, OK, we’ve got the big piece on here, and, we can go on with the rest of our tasks now.

There’ll be a lot more room inside the station …

Yeah, there will. Yep, absolutely.

… with Columbus and Node 2.

And the amazing thing is the space station is so huge already. I mean, when I was there before I was just awed at how much room you have. It’s not cramped by any means, and it’s a beautiful facility, it’s state-of-the-art, and it’s going to be amazing to see it even get bigger and bigger.

OK. Second spacewalk, then, is the day after that, the first day, you go into Columbus.

Yes.

And, as you said, some of the tasks on EVA 1 may change what happens on EVA 2, but let’s assume we’re going according to the timeline. What’s the task for the second spacewalk?

The main task we’re going to, my main job -- I’ll be on the end of the robot arm on this EVA -- and I will get the arm ready to ride and then, jump in and basically clip my heels into the robot arm. Leland and Stan will have a chance to drive me around to my work site. My first work site is in the payload bay where I’ll take the brand-new nitrogen tank and extract it from the payload bay, loosen all the bolts and then we’ll take it out to the P1 Truss where we’re going to swap it out, and we’ll basically temp[orarily] stow it. We’ll put it on a ballstack which, basically holds it in place, and then we go right near where we are there for the temporary stow location, and we’ll pull out the, the empty nitrogen tank. I’ll pull that out on the arm, and then we’ll temp-stow that one, also on a ballstack. So we’ll have the two of them basically temporary stowed. Then I go back and grab the new one and put it into the truss, and then we can start doing the electrical and nitrogen connections in the front and the back of that tank. Once I’m done with that I take the empty nitrogen tank and we put it back in the shuttle payload bay so we can bring it back home and use it again.

JSC2007-E-06723: Astronaut Rex Walheim Image to left: Astronaut Rex J. Walheim and European Space Agency astronaut Hans Schlegel (partially obscured), both STS-122 mission specialists, are submerged in the waters of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near Johnson Space Center, Houston. Image credit: NASA

It only takes a couple of minutes to describe the series of tasks like that …

It seems so easy.

… but it’s going to take some six hours to do it.

Yes, it will.

So what thing or things are there that stretch that out? Not that you’re making it longer on purpose …

Right, right.

… but why does it take that long to do it?

Well, there’s a number of bolts that have to be, both have their torque down very tightly, so you have to have a torque multiplier to undo them, and then you have to use your Pistol Grip Tool on them to undo the bolts, and the arm translations of moving me from the payload bay up to the S1 -- the P1 Truss -- takes a fair amount of time, and then doing all the connections in back and doing the gymnastics of swapping them around. These are very large components.

In talking with Leland about some of that movement back and forth, he made the point that it’s very important for the astronaut who’s on the end of the arm and holding the hardware -- whether it’s the new hardware or the old -- has to be able to hold it still.

Yes.

I mean, things are weightless, but they still have mass.

Yeah, they sure do.

What kind of work is it for you to hold that thing without letting it move around?

It’s not too hard. I’ve found in space things are fairly stable when you hold on to them, especially if they’re big, a large mass, you know, several hundred pounds, up to over a thousand pounds. They’re fairly stable. If you want to get them moving, you just give them a little bit of force and they start moving, but then you’ve got to stop them, too. So the main thing is just to hold them loosely -- at loose grip, don’t over control them, and just, hang on, and be aware when you’re starting and stopping on the arm. Leland will be very helpful to us. He’ll say, OK, we’re starting the motion now and he’ll ramp the commands in very slowly, because it’s, it’s easy to move around with these objects but when you start and stop, they kind of want to keep going. So you’ve got to be careful not to get twisted because, you’ve got to be able to make sure you stay in the foot restraint and hold onto this object at the same time. So you go slow and you ramp up your commands, and then when you get to the point you are going to stop, Leland will ramp them out and we’ll slow down and we’ll be able to, to push these things into where they’re supposed to go.

I think a lot of people listen to the conversation going up and down, and you hear somebody say that you’re about to start motion …

Yes.

… or about to stop motion. And then, to the uninitiated, it can sound like, well of course you are. Can’t you tell?

Yeah.

Can’t you tell that the arm has started move?

You can tell, but you want to know, ’cause you don’t want it to get anybody by surprise, and you can tell, but like I say, since that object is hard to start moving, you know, you’re going to start moving and then the object, you’ll move the object on, so you just want to be aware, OK, I’m going to start moving here, and it’s not going to catch me by surprise. So even though it is obvious that it’s starting to move, you don’t want it to catch you by surprise.

Second spacewalk involves completing that installation of the new nitrogen tank.

Yes.

The third spacewalk, this time with you and Stan Love, also includes moving some big hardware around.

Yes.

Tell us about what you’re going to do on that third spacewalk.

The third spacewalk, the three main goals are to bring the two exposed payloads that the Europeans want on the outside of Columbus and attach them to Columbus; they’re called SOLAR and EuTEF [European Technology Exposure Facility]. And so those will be one by one brought out to Columbus and attached. Also, we’re going to bring back a Control Moment Gyro[scope], or a CMG, that had failed earlier in the space station program, and one of the early crews stowed it. They replaced it, so there’s a new one that’s working, but we have to take the failed one back home. Stan’s going to have quite the arm rides around taking these payloads back and forth, and I’m going to assist him. And then we’re going to bring the Control Moment Gyro back to the payload bay, bolt it down really good, and now be ready to go. While Stan’s moving around on the arm I’ll have some other tasks to do: I’ll be putting some handrails out on Columbus to get it ready for any other spacewalkers to move around on it easier, and some sockets for foot restraints that we can use on the outside of the space station.

Is that similar to the grapple fixture that you talked about on the first spacewalk? Why it doesn’t have the handrails?

Yeah, yeah, if we could put the handrails on before, it would be easier, but that’s all right. They’re pretty easy to put on out in space, so, they’re, they’re made for being installed on orbit and you just kind of slide them in and then bolt them down, and they’re ready to go.

The exposed payloads for Columbus, is that installation, are they contained enough so that they are just a couple of bolts to install?

Yeah, that’s very nice about them. They’re designed very well. They have a Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism that holds it down to the space station, and it’s a very simple one-bolt action. So when we’re down in the payload bay to get these payloads, Stan and I will restrain it and one of us will put a drill on it to undo the bolt, and then he’ll take it away and then we’ll come back to the Columbus module and bolt it down, and it should be ready to go.

So, a lot simpler than, say, the, setting up the joint on the truss for the …

Yeah, yeah, there’s not a hundred bolts and stuff like that you have to go over and over and over again, so, no, it’s a pretty simple mechanism, which makes it easy. It’s nice.

The crew on STS-118 removed that failed Control Moment Gyroscope …

Yes.

… but left it out on a stowage platform. What’s involved for you guys to go retrieve it?

That’s not too bad. In the process of this EVA, Stan will come underneath that stowage platform, and we’ll remove some of the insulation that’s around it so he can grab onto some handrails, so he’ll get a good grip on it. Then I’ll do the bolt and release it, and then he can take it off back to the payload bay. When he gets a ride to the payload bay, I’ll go scurry down there, free-floating as we call it -- basically just walk with my hands -- and get down there and help him put it back on the space shuttle’s carrier so that we can bring it home.

JSC2007-E-21203: Astronaut Rex Walheim Image to right: Attired in a training version of his shuttle launch and entry suit, STS-122 Mission Specialist Rex Walheim awaits the start of an emergency egress training session in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at Johnson Space Center, Houston. Image credit: NASA

It’s got to be valuable for you to have had the experience working on the outside of this space station before, but there’s a lot of places you’re going that weren’t there before.

Yeah, yeah.

What’s that like … how is it for you to integrate in your mind that, you know, "this I know because I was there, but this I haven’t seen?"

Well, some of the things are similar, which help you. I know what it’s like with the day and night cycles, which you never really get to see until you get to space. We practice our spacewalks in the big pool called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory here at the Johnson Space Center, and they always keep the lights on in there because obviously, you’re diving with a bunch of people around you and you can’t turn the lights out. So you’re never used to the fact that every 45 minutes the lights are either going to come on or go off. And so it’s one of those things when you first get up there, you see the sun going down and you go, man, it’s going to get dark pretty soon. You turn your helmet lights on and you have this big circle of area that you can work with. But there were some places on the space station that got really, really dark at night. Lights go out but you keep working, and then 45 minutes later the lights come back on again, you turn your helmet lights off and you go to work. So those kind of things … you don’t see them very often but at least I’ve experienced them once, once or twice on my first flight, on the two EVAs I did there. So now I know what to expect from that perspective. Other things you don’t really get too much in the pool is some kind of visual disturbances, kind of like vertigo where things seem out of place. They seem like they should be coming out the side of the space station, and now they look like they’re coming straight up the space station, because your reference frame just gets kind of mixed up in space. When you’re on top of something, it feels like you’re on top of something. But when you’re on the bottom of the laboratory module, for instance, in the pool, you could always tell because you’re, you’re laying back and you could feel the gravity pulling you away from the module. In space you’re on the bottom and sometimes it feels like you're on top of it, and then it feels like your left and right have swapped, and so it can, it can really kind of confuse you there. I know to expect those, and I know kind of what they feel like and kind of how to avoid some of them. But yeah, there’s going to be some new things, too, like working on the S1 Truss, which wasn’t there before, and I didn’t do too much work in the payload bay before, so it’ll be pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to going back to see the space station. There’s more lights on it now, so it won’t be quite as dark at night, I’ve heard, and I’m looking forward to seeing that ’cause that will help out a whole lot, I think.

The International Space Station is the biggest thing that people have ever built in space; well, so far. What do you think about the fact that you get to be right in the middle of all that?

It really is exciting. It’s fun when you’re preparing for it and even after the mission to watch the space station fly over and think, wow, we’re a part of that. We’re all a part of that here at the Johnston Space Center and at the other centers around the country that are helping to build the space station, the contractors and the civil servants and everybody. It’s really neat and I hope everybody gets a chance to do that, look as the space station flies over just after dark or before sunrise, and think, that’s our space station -- there’s people living up there. And, everybody gets to say that they had a part in building that, and I think that’s very important, and it’s, it’s a neat feeling.

The Vision for Space Exploration sees way beyond this space station that we’re building. Rex, what’s your philosophy about the future of human exploration of space?

I think it’s important. I think we need to keep progressing forward. There is so much we learn from space exploration, both on the space station program and on future projects, that a lot of times you never know what you’re going to learn until you [get] there. There’s lots of great research we can do on the space station, and that’s in progress, and that pays off in and of itself, but just the fact of exploring and going out where people haven’t been before, you learn so much. It’s absolutely amazing. We’re learning a lot about living and working in space and how things work for long-duration spaceflight on the space station. That’s an invaluable lesson because if we go to the moon for long term or to Mars, which may take nine months to get there and a mission maybe two years, you really need to know how to build things that work in zero gravity away from the home planet, with very little supervision at times, and how to keep them working. We’re learning a lot about that on the space station.