First of all, thanks to everyone for cheering us on! We could feel the support from earth as though you guys were all right here with us!
One group who is always cheering us on, is our “flight docs.” To make sure we are ready to go outside for an EVA, and then again after we come back inside from an EVA, we check in with our flight surgeons. We all have a flight surgeon assigned to us, or we are assigned to them – and they have a backup. There is always a doctor in Mission Control, but we each have an individual flight surgeon and their backup who we talk to on a regular basis. So, I get to work and visit with Steve and Shannon on a weekly basis in general. However, right before and after an EVA we chat with them too. Just like our family conferences, we talk to our docs thru a Skype type video meeting called Net Meeting program on our computers. That way we can see each other and the doctors can see us rolling our eyes at their “silly” questions – just kidding. It is always really good to “see” each other especially when talking about potential injuries, issues, etc.
Getting back to the story at hand, the day before EVA we talk to them and right after we get back in the station after EVA we talk to them. I was a little surprised at how short a 6 hour EVA felt compared to an 8 hour EVA. I felt great – yeah a little tired, but really still full of energy and not much finger or muscle pain. So, our “conference” was pretty quick . Steve and Shannon then invited some other people to come in to our conference. The other people happened to be our EVA team led by Keith, our robotics team lead by Melanie and our flight directors Ed and Dina, increment manager Melissa, and the ISS program manager rep, Kenny Todd. Their faces were glowing and even now it still chokes me up thinking about how happy they all were. My response to them was:
Toothbrush – . 99 cents
ACME bolt – $50,000
Smiling faces – priceless
You know you get sort of focused, or as we used to say in the Navy, have the ability to compartmentalize to get your job done. In other words, put everything else aside and do what you have to do to get the job done. If you think about how many people’s lives you will effect, how much money is being spent on what you are doing you wouldn’t be able to do it. But then at the end, when it is all said and done, and you see how you effected people lives by getting this bolt installed, hear about how much time and money went into this event – it is humbling. I am so thankful for this opportunity to make people smile…and I’m just glad I can compartmentalize while out here.
The entries are getting slim – so either you guys don’t know your geography, or you aren’t trying! My mom even got this one after some “hints”, but it was again, Ken Loy the over –achiever who came in with San Diego/North Island first. Congratulations on being the first 2 time winner! Not only does San Diego have great weather, great outdoors activities, but It is also near and dear to most of us who have been in the Navy. 32nd street is the home to many US Navy ships, North Island is home to many aircraft squadrons, and right down the strand lies the home of the SEALS. A great place to be stationed for a while.
Again, only day this week since I have too many “motor-head” pictures. Motor-head comes from Mr. Tomkowitz, 10th grade biology teacher, who used to peer out the window at the shop class below working on cars. He would sort of threaten us on how if we screwed up in his science class we’d end up motor heads. Well, I guess I sort of screwed up…I’m a space motorhead!)
This week’s quiz is quite easy, but I will give you some hints anyway – I decided on this one since today the Colts and the Bears play. It is in their neighborhood. Another hint is that my boy, Tom Brady, played college football in this state. I have also heard many stories of Mike, Mike O’hearn, Tom Gibbons and Stan (their highschool FES – foreign exchange student) going on a canoe trip here…
Things we did this week:
So, Joe and Aki got their haircuts this week. They knew they would have to be on TV again with the second EVA, and decided to clean up a bit. Plus, I am not sure Aki’s communications cap would fit on his head with his hair growing so much. It was getting long and sticking straight up. Yes, my hair sticks up but it curls, his sticks straight up! Too much. We gave Aki an “high and tight”. Joe did the sides and I smoothed out the top. Then it was Joe’s turn. He hasn’t cut his hair since being here. I started on in on the sideburns, and whacked one off by mistake – Aki was the closer and finished it so they “blended” better. I didn’t know men’s hair was so complicated…maybe that is because Mike’s is a little more simple…
I thought you guys would be interested in seeing our Home-made Tools. It was fun to make them and I seriously thought maybe we would use only one or two. In fact we ended up using all of them – except the dreaded Grease Gun. If you can imagine, a grease gun works well in space, sometimes too well as grease just oozes out of them unless you have a really good way to stop it. That is why I called it dreaded. If we get this stuff on our gloves, it would be really messy. I was labeled “dirty girl” by 2Fish – our CAPCOM (whose voice you heard a lot and was quoted!!!) and crew rep for this EVA. Meaning, I was the one who was to handle the greasy parts of the tools. Aki was to stay “clean” and work the tools.
So, our first action was to get the box out with the magic dither I talked about earlier. We then “cleaned” off the metal shavings on the bolt and bolt housing with a little nitrogen sprayer, like a bike tire inflator – installing small nitrogen cartridges is “interesting in EVA gloves. Third, we used a a home-made wire brush, made from 4 gauge electrical wire to “clean” the housing using our drill called a Pistol Grip Tool (PGT).
(see toothbrush above) to give it one more cleaning – intermittently we used the nitrogen sprayer to spray out any shavings again.
Then finally we got the bolt out, greased it with the “mit” we packed it with. The mit has braycote on it. I carried 6 of these mits – 4 “dirty” with grease on them, and 2 clean for any mess to clean up.
(see The bolt above). We installed the bolt in the housing using the large L wrench. Here we ran into some resistance, but worked the bolt in and out to get thru and probably tapped the housing with the stronger metal bolt. Finally, with these greasy mits, I lubricated the bolt housing posts as well, just in case.
We used the ratchet wrench by hang to put the box in. That was a good idea since we could “feel” when things got tight and we dithered to alleviate the binding. All worked!!!
Again, Aki was on the arm. Joe and Yuri were in charge of driving him around. This is Joe’s command post inside the lab.
Two more outside pictures – one of Aki and the Japanese segments behind him. I think this shot will be on billboards in Japan!
Well, our week wasn’t over on Wednesday. Still more to do afterwards. Gennady, Joe and Sergei are getting ready to leave us in a week. They got in their Soyuz in their space suits to make sure everything works. It went fine and their spacecraft and suits are ready to undock. To get ready to come home, we need to increase the exercise we do, and some believe we should supplement it with equipment that brings pressure back to your lower body. Here, Sergei is in the “scary Pants” – Lower Body Negative Pressure Machine, walking, to simulate how it will feel on earth. He really did look like he was dancing – so I joined him.
Finally – back to science, biology and education. Soon after the EVA, the planners had all of us engaged in some sort of science experiments on ourselves. Aki had a thermal sensor on his head, I am peeing in a bag, and Joe has to eat a special diet. We also did some education and public relations events. I got to put together this Lego airplane with a tilt sensor to see if the sensor works in space versus on the ground. It is like what you have in your ipad and iphone – how it changes from vertical to horizontal when you turn it…do you think it works up here???? (hint…NO) Cecilia mentioned that I must have liked legos as a kids- I still like them.
See fun and games above. The background is Aki’s shirt. He has a number of shirts that kids and Japan designed. This one is a cartoon of the Japanese Segment (similar to what you saw EVA picture of him) with the name of the main module, Kibo – or Hope – shown.
We got to get back on T2 after the Station was brought back up to full power. That actually took another day after the MBSU was installed. There are lots of commands the ground has to send to “reconfigure” the power strings. There was a lot of sharing of power and they have to step by step undo what they did to provide us power before the MBSU was powered, and then reconnect the original stuff to the “now providing power” MBSU. Pretty complicated and choreographed procedure. We on board, just needed to remove 2 jumpers we installed to route the power, but we can’t do that randomly – it has to be when the ground is ready.
Since we couldn’t use the T2 for about a week, we were all using CEVIS (bike) instead. We also did not use the exercise equipment the day of EVA. Result – it feels like I am starting all over again! The 2 minute interval workout on T2 kicked my butt. I had just mentioned that I might make it harder to our Strength and Conditioning guru – Bruce. Well, not so fast. I forget that the absence of gravity is ever present. We have to continually work out to keep ahead of that bone and muscle losing trend…hard work! I am happy we are back on our routine again for that matter.
Yep, had to have my Fluffernutter and Tvorog to go outside…what would I do without these two things…
We needed to celebrate this weekend…it is really our last free weekend. Next weekend Gennady, Sergei and Joe will be making last minute preparations for undocking on Sunday. So, we decided to live it up. We had quite the international food festival complete with Lobsta from Maine, Bean dip and nacho cheese, corn tortillas, European white bean dip, calve cheeks, Japanese yakatori chicken, Japanese chicken in sauce, crabmeat, sardines in tomato sauce. Most of this stuff we got from our Bonus food containers which include standard stuff and stuff we and our families pick out for us. Thanks to mom and Dina for getting me the lobsta – it was awesome and even smelled a little like salt water! Yummy!
General thoughts and questions:
So I was asked a question about radiation. Maybe you noticed we “went outside” an hour earlier on this EVA than the one on the 30th. Well, that was because the sun had an eruption a couple days before. That means that we would be subjected to that increased radiation. To keep us from getting a large dose, the folks working radiation and the flight docs decided it would be better if we went out and came in earlier. We wear our normal dosimeters that we always wear up here in our liquid cooling garment under the space suit. We also carry Russian (actually Hungarian I think) dosimeters on the outside of our suit. There is a machine onboard in the Russian segment that will show how much radiation we get when we are outside. It is individual and depends on where you are working and what radiation you are exposed to. In general, I was told we get about 3 times as much radiation as folks get on the ground being in the ISS. Being outside gives us about 10 times the radiation for the same time we are inside the ISS. The US and the Russian suits provide about the same amount of protection. But you can see, EVA increase your level of radiation overall. Thanks for the question Peter!
Congratulations to Gennady – 700 days in space on 6 September!!! Amazing considering the radiation comments above. He is awesome. I have learned so much from him as a commander, leader and friend. He is quite the role model, and even though we don’t have shoes up here, his are pretty big to fill…
Happy Birthday last week and this week – sorry I got a little behind. I am noticing there are lots of Virgos…it’s cold in late December and January – good snuggling weather…
Thanks again for tuning in!
Smiles from space, s