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Robert Thirsk
IMAGE: NEEMO 7 Mission Commander Robert Thirsk
NEEMO 7 Mission Commander Robert Thirsk, representing the Canadian Space Agency, prepares his SCUBA gear for a training dive.
*NEEMO 7 Journals
*Aquanaut Profile: Robert Thirsk

NEEMO 7 Journals

NEEMO 7, Robert Thirsk
Day 2, Tuesday, October 5, 2004

How well an astronaut, pilot or surgeon prepares for her or his flight or surgical operation largely determines their success. If preparation has been thorough then actually flying the space/aircraft or performing the surgical operation should be easy. Like most other endeavors, the success of NEEMO 7 will be largely determined by the quality of pre-mission preparation and training. Our support team of managers, mission planners/controllers, and instructors has done a superb job of preparation. The job of my crewmates and I is now to assimilate all the operational knowledge and skills related to this mission.

It is a mistake to think that education ends with graduation from high school or college. This is especially true for astronauts and aquanauts. This week's NEEMO 7 training is like drinking from a fire hose. The amount of new information related to payloads, systems, diving and potential emergency situations is daunting.

I use mnemonics and catchy phrases to help recall important information. "The surface is not an option," "If you feel uncomfortable about something, stop," "Box the north," "Stay ahead of the timeline" are phrases that probably mean nothing to you but will help our crew accomplish our mission objectives and keep safe in difficult circumstances.

Our mission training is challenging but there is nothing else that I would rather be doing. I feel fortunate to be involved in an undersea mission. Another catchy phrase I saw on a car bumper today read "A bad day at the ocean is better than a good day in the office!"

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 10/08/2004
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