Questions from the Songam Space Camp kids

Team Mercury (ages 11-12)

1. Do you miss the earth?
Yes!!!!  I miss it a lot.  Particularly, I miss my little dog.  He can’t say hi on the phone to me and I know he misses me too.  I really like to take him for a walk in the woods, or at the beach.  So missing him means I miss those things about earth too very much – like wind, trees, sand, beach, ocean water.  All those things that make Earth special is what I miss.  And, that certainly included my family and friends.  I miss them too, but really I wish they could be here with me!  Everyone needs to see our planet from space at some point – it is beautiful.

2. Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?
Well, I am married, so I guess I have a boyfriend.  I miss him too.  He is pretty special and really supports me even when I am not on the planet.  He takes care of everything at home for me so I don’t have to worry about that stuff.  He even drives my car so it will work for me when I get home.  He is nice.

3. What is your hobby in space?
My hobby in space is taking pictures and writing a journal.  I want to share this experience with as many people as possible.  So, I write my feelings and thoughs down once a week.  That way, I won’t forget what happened up here and how I was feeling.  Also, taking pictures helps me to preserve these memories.  I love floating though too – so I try to do a flip at least once a day!!!

4. What is your favorite food?  Have you ever eaten kimchi?
I think my favorite food is pizza.  Probably because I don’t eat it that much and we don’t have it up here.  Too many crumbs from the crust.  I haven’t eaten Kimchi – I heard it is sort of tart.  Not sure I like that taste.

Team Apollo (ages 10-11)

1. Who drives the Space Station, and do they need a license?
The ISS can actually drive itself for the most part.  It orbits around earth at a certain speed without any propulsion and generally in a straight line.  There isn’t anything up here really to stop it from moving – not much air.  So, it can just keep going and going.  It is like the difference between throwing a ball underwater and in the air.  It can hardly move underwater, but it can fly in air.  So there is even NO air here in space, so things really fly.   We do have a tiny bit of gravity though and it continually pulls us toward the earth.  So every now and then we shoot our engines and we “reboost” to a higher altitude so we don’t some back into the atmosphere.  The mission control teams on earth help us do that.

2. Do you watch Olympics on the Space Station?
We have been watching the Olympics from the ISS.  Sometimes when the antenna points correctly, we can get continuous video from TV, thru a satellite, up here.  So, we have been seeing how well all the athletes have been doing.  I like swimming so I have been watching a lot of that!!!

3. Do you need money in space?
We don’t need any money in space and I don’t think anyone has any up here.  We trade stuff every now and then.  Sometimes we get spicey ketchup and sauces that the Russians like.  They sometimes have tasty meat dishes that we like – so we just trade.  Actually, everything is open to all of us for the most part.  If we need something that the other partners have, we just ask.  We all share for the most part.

4. How big does the Earth look from space?
Earth looks big!!!!  When we fly over Florida for example, I can see all the way to the top of Canada and down to the top of South America.  Our planet is huge and has so many colors and textures.  Clouds are really cool to see from the top!!!  There are colors in the oceans and you can even see thru the ocean where there are coral reefs.  Beautiful.

Team Gemini (ages 9-10)

1. What does it feel like?
Well, floating is awesome.  My hair is weird because it stands on end – nothing to push it down.  Even our arms float and you have to hold them down.  You float all around when you are sleeping and can sleep upside down and not even know it.  The blood doesn’t go to you head like that.  It is just fun!!!

2. Are you happy to be astronaut?
I love being an astronaut!  I feel at home in space and would love to stay here for a long time.  I wish everyone could be an astronaut and see our planet from up here.  I hope you guys go and explore other planets – that would be really fun!

3. When was the first time you went to space?
I went to place the first time 6 years ago – 2006.  It was really fun because I launched in a space shuttle.  This time I launched in a Russia Soyuz.  The shuttle was like a big car, and the Soyuz is like a Mini.  Both are fun!  I hope we have more and more space vehicles in the future that we can try out!!!!

4. When does it feel toughest on launch?
It feels tough on launch when we first accelerate or start to go very fast.  We are still low in the atmosphere so there is still a lot of air.  That air creates a force which we have to get through – that makes the load on your body a lot.  Once we get past most of the air, we can’t feel the speed as much so the load starts to go away.  But at that point we are going really fast to make sure we get close to 17,500mph so we can stay in orbit.  It only take 8 minutes to get into space, so it isn’t too tough for too long.

Thanks for asking such great questions.  I hope Space Camp has been fun!!  And I hope there are a couple new astronauts in your crowd!

Smiles from space, s


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