Monday, February 22, 2010

Astronaut Robert Satcher


So! After we watched the ISS welcome video, the Tweetup attendees rowdily applauded the main event! Astronaut Bobby Satcher of the STS-129 mission described the activities on his Shuttle trip to the International Space Station.

Astronaut Robert Zatcher
Dr. Robert Satcher's Twitter feeds:
@Astro_Bones and @ZeroG_MD

Upon this 31st mission to the ISS, Atlantis "re-stocked" spare parts, intended to extend the years of the station’s life. Every subsequent flight in 2010 will do the same, continually replenishing gyroscopes, nitrogen and other tanks, robotics systems, latching and reel assemblies, as well as components designed to provide power or prevent the station from over-heating or tumbling through space.

Good idea, huh?

International Space Station Crew + STS-129
Clockwise from Bobby Satcher: Mission Specialist Randy
Bresnick, Pilot Barry Wilmore, MS Nicole Stott, Commander
Charles Hobaugh, MS Mike Foreman, & Leland Melvin.

When all is said and done, the last six crews will have delivered nearly 30,000 pounds (13 metric tons!) of spares to keep the station alive for many years after the shuttle fleet retires.

Three spacewalks completed by the STS-129 crew revolved around installing certain spares, and completing preparatory work for the installation of the last American module. Tranquility was originally going to be installed on the Earth-facing side of Harmony, but it was then decided the port side would work better, necessitating the re-routing of crucial connections (power, air, cooling, data, etc.) to new locales. And they did it all in 11 days!

Satcher discusses astronaut Twitter activity

Click here for a second short clip on my Pillownaut YouTube Channel about why everyone should get a chance to go into space, and for a real treat, check out Bobby Satcher's amazing self-portrait during his very first spacewalk! He crawled about the space station's truss for nearly 7 hours with fellow astronaut Mike Foreman, installing various antennae and cables... but still found a moment to snap this awesome picture with his digital camera.

I'd have reproduced this on the blog, but it's better to follow the link and see the larger, hi-res version for full impact. Also, for various photos of Satcher's presentation and Q&A session, check out my STS-130 Tweetup Picasa Gallery...