Return to Human Space Flight home page

Ask the Crew: STS-88

Send a question to MCC or the CrewPAGE: 1
Question #1Nancy Currie's Reply

From: Ginger Thomas, Denver, Colorado - age 10
To:
Mission Specialist Nancy Currie

Question: What is it like sleeping in space and what is your bed like? Are you attached to the wall because there is no gravity?

Currie: I had the answer to this before I went to bed because these guys get a kick out of it.

Interestingly enough I'm the only one in the crew that had a strong preference to sleep between the port floor and port ceiling bags in the remaining 5-6 inch space between those bags if that is… probably more like 3 inches. So each night I feel my way between the two bags and my sleeping bag and that's where I'm sleeping. That to me kind of substitutes for gravity because sleeping in space without gravity is kind of difficult because you're so used to getting into your bed at night and hitting your pillow and your bed and relaxing. In space you really don't feel physically any different than you felt all day because you're still floating. So certainly not Jerry or Jim has been trying to fight me over that space between the two bags and so that's where I am.


Audio Format (English)

5.2 Mb .wav file

Netshow Audio

RealAudio

Question #2 Rick Sturckow's Reply

From: Lewis J. Maslin, London, England - age 24
To:
Pilot Rick Sturckow

Question: At what stage of a mission do you experience stress the most? How do you cope with it?

Sturckow: I think most rookie pilots would say ascent is the most stressful stage of flight. We spent 25% of our training on the eight and a half minutes from liftoff to main engine cutoff (meco). With a 12 day mission that might seem excessive but it is definitely the most dynamic phase of flight with the most bad things that can happen.

The stress comes not from a fear of dying but a fear of screwing something up. This stress can be overcome by studying, preparation, and training.


No Audio Available
Question #3Nancy Currie's Reply

From: Curt Raines, Ogden, Iowa
To:
Mission Specialist Nancy Currie

Question: How much time did the crew spend training for the mission...and who trained the most?

Currie: I think we can all attest that we all trained equally as hard for the past two and a half years to prepare for this mission. I think because of the exceptional training that we recieved back at JSC from Tim Terry and the most wonderful training team in the world that we were well prepared for this mission. So we want to say thanks to Debbie Musgrove and her whole team, Tim Terry and his whole team, and although we trained for two and a half years it was well worth all the training.


Audio Format
3.2 Mb .wav file
Netshow Audio

RealAudio

Question #4Bob Cabana's Reply

From: Adam Lehmon, West Lafayette, Indiana
To:
Commander Bob Cabana

Question: Is it difficult to remain concentrated on the task at hand while in a weightless environment such as space. Are you forced to compensate for drifting around or do you learn to control drifting and, if so, how soon?

Cabana: I guess the answer to that is you adapt very quickly to a zero G environment and it's not difficult to concentrate at all. Usually when folks first get up in space they tend to move fast and they learn that after a while it's very slow controlled movements actually help you get things done quicker than trying to race from place to place.

Because of all our excellent training, when we first get up here, when we're learning to adapt, we can do what we have to do because we rely on our training. then afterwards it just totally seems natural. Every time you fly in space you adapt quicker so the more you fly and the longer you fly, the more natural zero G environment seems.


Audio Format
5.4 Mb .wav file
Netshow Audio

RealAudio

Question #5Bob Cabana's Reply

From: Ryan Jeckel, Manheim, PA - age 14
To:
Commander Bob Cabana

Question: How do you respond to those that say the space station is too costly? What's the most profitable advantage that will come from the space station, and what area of science will the space station benefit most?

Cabana: Well, first off I guess I'd answer the first one there. We're building a space station to learn and it's our destiny to explore in space. We're getting a foothold, a permanent foothold in space with the International Space Station that's gonna help us go beyond the confines of low Earth orbit and explore beyond. We don't even know everything that we're gonna learn on the space station. There's so much to learn in the area's of material science, life science, Earth science.

With the space station, we can constantly monitor the Earth and its changes. We're gonna learn all about the human body and the effects of long duration space flight so that we can explore beyond low Earth orbit. All kinds of areas in material science. There's going to be new drugs developed. I think to make an answer a little long, when we do science on Earth it's done in a laboratory and it's done every day of the year, 24 hours a day. Right now when we go to space on the space shuttle with the spacelab, we only get about two weeks of science and it's hard to make changes to an experiment and see what happens in that short amount of time. But with the space station we'll have a world class microgravity laboratory up there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, changing the experiments and learning. It's not going to be not just for the benefit of one but it's going to benefit everybody.

So I think that building a space station, there's all kinds of reasons for it. Some of the things that we learn we don't even know yet. We're gonna find out once we explore and experiment on the space station.


Audio Format
11.7 Mb .wav file
Netshow Audio

RealAudio

Question #6Sergei Krikalev's Reply

From: Gordon Damien, New Bright, CT
To:
Mission Specialist Sergei Krikalev

Question: With all the work time in space, is it still fun or has it become a job?

Krikalev: It's actually both. Because it's my job to be prepared to fly to space to fly and it's also fun.


Audio Format
1.7 Mb .wav file
Netshow Audio

RealAudio

Question #7Bob Cabana's Reply

From: Daniel Bateman, Hutchinson, KS
To:
Commander Bob Cabana

Question: What's going through your mind as you prepare for this historic flight? Being the commander for the first construction flight must carry tremendous pressure. How are you and your crew dealing with it?

Cabana: Well, I gotta admit, we were all pretty tense at various phases of the mission but we dealt with it through our excellent training. We have great support on the ground and we prepare as best we can for anything that can possibly go wrong at any stage of the mission. We practice it many times over and we do a lot of what if's. What if this happens what are we gonna do? Because of our excellent training we were able to have success on this mission. I gotta admit we're really relieved to have it gone as successfully as it has.

The only thing I'm thinking about now is making a perfect landing when we get home to Florida. So I've still got a little bit of pressure left on me but I think, there again because of all the excellent training we do and having done it before, we gonna have a beautiful re-entry and landingWell, I gotta admit, we were all pretty tense at various phases of the mission but we dealt with it through our excellent training. We have great support on the ground and we prepare as best we can for anything that can possibly go wrong at any stage of the mission. We practice it many times over and we do a lot of what if's. What if this happens what are we gonna do? Because of our excellent training we were able to have success on this mission. I gotta admit we're really relieved to have it gone as successfully as it has.

The only thing I'm thinking about now is making a perfect landing when we get home to Florida. So I've still got a little bit of pressure left on me but I think, there again because of all the excellent training we do and having done it before, we gonna have a beautiful re-entry and landing.


Audio Format
6.2 Mb .wav file
Netshow Audio

RealAudio

Question #8Bob Cabana's Reply

From: Megan Williamston, Michigan
To:
Commander Bob Cabana

Question: Although NASA has had some tragedies like Challenger, what gives you the confidence to continue with your mission, like sending Endeavour into space?

Cabana: Well, we have confidence because we've made a lot of changes. We always try and make the space shuttle as safe as we possibly can. We're always improving it as systems and technology change the space shuttle changes. We have excellent maintenance on the ground, we have a lot of fine engineers and technicians that prepare the vehicle. We know that NASA's number one concern is the safety of our people. Not just our astronauts, but all our people working on the ground and everywhere.

So we do everything we possibly can to ensure a safe work environment. I think we explore because it's the right thing to do to learn. We've always been explorers, it's in our nature as a people to explore beyond the boundaries of our knowledge and limitations. Exploring in space is part of that learning process and we're gonna continue to explore. Nothing is without risk, especially anything that's worthwhile. So we do our very best to minimize the risk and to learn.


Audio Format
7.3 Mb .wav file
Netshow Audio

RealAudio

Send a question to MCC or the CrewPAGE: 1

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
Web Accessibility and Policy Notices