Christer Fuglesang's newsletter: ‘Tough week’
Houston, 30 June 2009. Hi! I'm in the Space Shuttle Simulator at JSC (Johnson Space Center). We're going through the ‘tough week’, as our commander CJ calls it. It's a four-day exercise, when we simulate everything from the launch, up to and including the first day on ISS when we attach the MPLM module Leonardo to the Station.
The days are long and we even sleep here at JSC for two nights, in the crew quarters. These are the quarters we will live in during the first days of quarantine, before we fly to Florida for the launch.
The simulation started yesterday after lunch by donning the orange suits. Once in space, however, we were able to remove the suits that, while good-looking, are also hot and cumbersome. Before bedtime we simulated everyone needing space sickness medication and I administered injections for real for the first time. My brave crewmates all accepted a dose of phenergan (the name of the drug) in the buttock from me without complaining. I got my dose from CJ, the ‘ship's deputy doctor’.
But apart from giving me an opportunity to get some training in administering injections, the reason was to test how we react to the medication. I personally slept like a log, but felt a bit groggy all morning today. I hope that when we get up into space for real it will be like last time and I won't have to take any medication for space sickness.
In Florida they're preparing a fuelling test. They think they've found a simple solution to the problem with hydrogen leaking when the big tank was filled up for STS-127 on 13 June and then again four days later. If this works out there will be a new launch attempt for STS-127 on 11 July, otherwise everything is extremely uncertain. Update 1 July: The attempted hydrogen fuelling appears to have succeeded!
Last week I mentioned that NASA has chosen new astronauts. Here is a link with more information if you want to know more: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31623240/ns/technology_and_science-space/. Now it's almost time for bed after the second day in space. Tomorrow we'll dock with ISS – simulation from 8 to 10 (in the evening). The last day starts at 5 in the morning. Tough week.