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Sunita Williams' Mission Log
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Week In The Limelight

Life on the ISS:
It has been a busy week as we are getting ready for our EVAs (spacewalks) to begin next week. Unfortunately there wasn’t too much time to look out the window as we were working most of the time in the airlock getting our suits and our equipment ready for next week. There were a couple interruptions to our work and I think we may have picked up a couple good tidbits from our “guests.”

Okay, honestly there are some fringe benefits in this job because some folks are interested in what we are doing and we are happy to tell folks about what life is like here. We talked to a couple of experts who offered us some pointers based on their expertise…

Expedition 14 crew talks to Martha Stewart Image to right: Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Suni Williams talk to Martha Stewart. Image credit: NASA TV

First we talked to Martha Stewart during the taping of her TV show. My sister, Dina, was there and was taking some notes for us as we asked Martha for some ideas about recipes for our space food, any ideas on how to increase the growth of our experimental plants, and how to clean up the place. A good friend of hers is coming up to the ISS as a space tourist with the next Soyuz. That Soyuz brings me my next set of crewmates, Expedition 15, as well as Martha’s friend, Charles Simonyi. He will return to Earth with Misha and LA when they leave. Martha will be in Baikonur to see the launch. Hopefully she stuffed his bags with good food for us!!!

Secondly we had the opportunity to talk to Theo Epstein, the GM of the Red Sox. He really is an amazing individual who put together the 2004 Red Sox team that won the World Series. His bio, though seemingly short, is quite impressive! The idea of using statistics rather than relying on scouting is now a common practice after such success. It was just awesome to hear that thick Boston accent coming across the airwaves!

To top it all off, we also spoke to “Alvin” – a submersible 2 miles beneath the Earth’s surface conducting experiments on thermal vents and the life forms living and thriving there. Tim Shank, the lead scientist on the 28-ft-sub and his crew of 2 others spoke with us about the similarities of our missions, training, and goals of exploration through our Mission Control in Houston and the ship Atlantis which Alvin is based from.

Trivia questions:
     1) Speed questions answered below in FAQ section.
       Korolev was the one of the lead rocket scientists in the USSR during the “Space Race” timeframe. It was his rocket design which took Gagarin, the first human to space - in essentially the same Soyuz that is used today!!!

Cool places we have flown over this week - “hints”
• Hawaiian Islands
• Aleutian Islands
• Chile
• Argentina

Good Food
• The usual - canned fish with cabbage, canned beef with vermicelli, lamb - that didn’t taste so good…
• Hawaiian fare this week! Teriyaki pork and teriyaki vegetables. That sweet taste of warm pineapple makes me think about mom’s Hawaiian chicken recipe and eating good luau in Hawaii. Mmmmm… Also, sucked down another Pina Colada gelatin dreaming of the great vacations I have had on Oahu and Maui. My tan is going away up here, so I am living vicariously.

One more little fact - we don’t get any vitamin D naturally, so we have to take vitamin D pills every day.

Exercise - Pre EVA test!
• RED lifting every day for about 45 minutes. Single leg squats have been going very well. I have increased my weights on here over the first week by double. It feels pretty good like I am actually gaining some muscle mass in my legs. Upper body weight training is also going well. I am starting to increase weights on biceps where I was just able to do 0 weight on the canister (thought there is some resistance built in) before. I’ll probably lift until Sunday and then take a break until the first EVA is over - sort of like tapering for meet.
• Bike. I had my first physical fitness exam (PFE), which I did with oxygen uptake measurements on Monday.
• 3x for 35-40 minutes of interval training to get the heart rate up beside the PFE, and then walk/run for 15 to 20 minutes each time after the bike.
• Run only 2 times - 3.8miles, 5.4 miles, but every time I get on the TVIS it feels better and better.

Things we did:
• EMU (extravehicular mobility unit - space suit) battery charge
• EMU helmet light battery charge
• Pistol grip tool (EVA power tool) battery charge
• SAFER (Simplified Aid for Emergency Rescue - jet backpack) checkout
• SAFER training - using computer model
• Fluid quick disconnect training (we will be working with ammonia lines outside and this type of fitting is specially made for these lines)
• Ammonia contamination review (we could have a leak manipulating these lines)
• EVA procedures review