Linenger's Letters to his Son

April 23, 1997
"
You overcome and endure"

Dear John:

Talked with two ABC Radio Network stations today. Both interviews focused on the technical difficulties we’ve had onboard. For half a minute, they couldn’t hear me, but I could still hear them. They filled the time by listing the difficulties that I’ve encountered over my stay on the space station, and commented that “he sure has overcome things and endured.”

Space exploration, space colonization in its infancy, is tough. You rely on machines to provide the essentials of life. You are isolated, almost completely; and therefore need to be self-sufficient to a degree that is hard to comprehend. You are surrounded by vacuum, traveling 18,000 mph. Almost every piece of equipment is vital. There is no room for mistakes. You conduct complex experiments in dozens of disciplines, and you are responsible to execute them properly. Your survival depends upon you doing things correctly not once, but every time.

But you do indeed overcome and endure.

You are able to do this because you believe in what you are doing. That it counts for something. That it is worth your personal sacrifice.

You have prepared yourself by training hard, studying hard. You know up front that it will be tough going. You are not surprised when it is.

They closed by saying, “well, you sure sound good.” I thanked them and told them that I feel good, that it was a privilege to representing them up here, and that I'm looking forward to the month ahead aboard the space station.

Good night, sleep tight. Love you.

Dad.

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