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Shuttle-Mir Stories - Thomas on Adapting to Microgravity

In his Oral Histroy, U.S. Mir astronaut Andy Thomas discusses how quickly he adapted to microgravity on Mir.

He says, "One of the things that surprised me was how quickly I could adapt to that environment. Now, true, it was my second flight, [but] I was surprised, because on this flight I adapted to being at zero gravity psychologically very quickly, and I very quickly learned to function and to accept that environment as the normal environment, and it felt natural."

Thomas elaborates. "That was what was so strange, [that] an environment which is fundamentally so unnatural could so quickly feel natural." He adds, "You become more blase' about it because you have it all the time. And every now and again you have these little reality checks with, 'Wait a minute. I'm weightless. I can float. That's the way I move.' And you just have to remind yourself that, yes, you are weightless.

"Of course, another form of reality check was when you would go and look out the window and have this spectacular view -- just to remind you of where you really were. It was a great experience."

Related Links:
Life in Microgravity
Life on Mir
Thomas Increment
Profile: Andy Thomas

Andy Thomas Oral History (PDF)

Tours | Timeline | Shuttle-Mir Background | Shuttle Flights & Mir Increments | Mir Expeditions

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty