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OT: "Endurance" by Astronaut Scott Kelly


David Emm

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This is a bit long, but please excuse my enthusiasm. In this bio, part of the tale is Scott and his brother Mark's childhoods and similar paths to becoming astronauts, but most of it describes life on the ISS. I'm only a third of the way into it and I'm already deeply impressed. By definition, every astronaut has to be a near-polymath, with very broad mechanical and, obviously, high math skills. The ISS is in a constant state of maintenance: "Saturday is clean-up day. With no gravity to pull it down, we have to use a hand vacuum and wipes to remove dust, human hair and food particles that can build up and damage the equipment. There is no floor or ceiling, so every surface requires attention. No one likes cleaning day." Ha. Of his fellow astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who speaks multiple languages, including Russian: "Samantha is going to set up and test a new piece of equipment designed by the European Space Agency: an espresso machine. Apparently when you have Europeans in space, you also have to have good coffee- the instant stuff just isn't the same. After working through the procedures to brew a small bag of espresso, including multiple troubleshooting calls to the payload operations center in Huntsville, the historic first espresso shot in space is brewed. I take a picture of Samantha holding the espresso in a special cup designed to allow sipping in zero-g. As she takes her first drink, I say 'That's one small step for woman, one giant leap for coffee.'" If you thought wrestling with a big ol' Eurorack was complex, you'll see it as a piffle after Kelly's description of having to unship one of two massive CO2 scrubbers, disassemble half of it to get to a place where only specialized tools can reach and trying not to cuss, as the entire audio system is hot most of the time. Yes, Kelly once said the F-word on the space shuttle. :D Its an engaging, uplifting read & highly recommended.

 

 I told Hazel about my youth as a djinn, of how we used to eavesdrop on the angels
  and how they would throw comets at us if they spied us listening.
        ~ Neil Gaiman, "Trigger Warnings"

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Hey David. Awesome post. Hope you don't mind. I took your post and broke it up into paragraphs. I have some vision issues, and when it's all together like that on forums, I have trouble.

 

Here it is

 

 

This is a bit long, but please excuse my enthusiasm.

 

In this bio, part of the tale is Scott and his brother Mark's childhoods and similar paths to becoming astronauts, but most of it describes life on the ISS. I'm only a third of the way into it and I'm already deeply impressed. By definition, every astronaut has to be a near-polymath, with very broad mechanical and, obviously, high math skills.

 

The ISS is in a constant state of maintenance: "Saturday is clean-up day. With no gravity to pull it down, we have to use a hand vacuum and wipes to remove dust, human hair and food particles that can build up and damage the equipment. There is no floor or ceiling, so every surface requires attention. No one likes cleaning day." Ha.

 

Of his fellow astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who speaks multiple languages, including Russian: "Samantha is going to set up and test a new piece of equipment designed by the European Space Agency: an espresso machine. Apparently when you have Europeans in space, you also have to have good coffee- the instant stuff just isn't the same.

 

After working through the procedures to brew a small bag of espresso, including multiple troubleshooting calls to the payload operations center in Huntsville, the historic first espresso shot in space is brewed. I take a picture of Samantha holding the espresso in a special cup designed to allow sipping in zero-g. As she takes her first drink, I say 'That's one small step for woman, one giant leap for coffee.'"

 

 

If you thought wrestling with a big ol' Eurorack was complex, you'll see it as a piffle after Kelly's description of having to unship one of two massive CO2 scrubbers, disassemble half of it to get to a place where only specialized tools can reach and trying not to cuss, as the entire audio system is hot most of the time.

 

Yes, Kelly once said the F-word on the space shuttle. grin Its an engaging, uplifting read & highly recommended.

David

Gig Rig:Depends on the day :thu:

 

 

 

 

 

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I was thinking of keeping it in a quickly-scannable space for the sake of convenience, but next time, I'll remember that many of us are of a Greybeard age (harumph) and spread it out. I don't want to be as guilty as synth makers who put red or blue legends on black cases. :pop:

 I told Hazel about my youth as a djinn, of how we used to eavesdrop on the angels
  and how they would throw comets at us if they spied us listening.
        ~ Neil Gaiman, "Trigger Warnings"

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Cool.

 

Along those lines, I highly recommend Mike Massimino's "Spaceman." Wonderfully told, funny guy.

 

His last shuttle mission was to do repair/upgrade work on the Hubble Space Telescope--a final expensive upgrade which would hopefully allow it to last until the telescope's replacement came online. One of his tasks was to remove a panel held on by four screws. The first three screws came out fine but the last one stripped even though he was using very precise equipment and the whole procedure had been practiced hundreds of times on earth. After having him good back and forth between the shuttle and telescope way too many times to try this or that tool, Mission Control finally had him get a vise grip and tape. Amazingly, they wanted him to yank the part off this $1 billion telescope. Well, it worked and he was able to complete his part of the mission. After all that the Mission Commander gave him the option to relax, sit back and float in space for the next 15-20 minutes, which he of course accepted. His description of this experience is mind-blowing. The Hubble orbits at 350 miles above the earth vs. 250 for the Space Station. Whereas with the Space Station you're still close enough to the earth you can't get all of it in your field of vision, you can when orbiting at Hubble's distance. You see the planet as a blue ball in space. There are only ~15 humans that have experienced this. And being outside is COMPLETELY different than inside the spaceship.

 

Another takeaway was in his chapter on weightlessness. Weightlessness and falling off a cliff are one in the same sensation because when you're weightless in space you're actually falling but at a speed, in his case, of 17,500 miles an hour. You become weightless when you go into orbit, not as is commonly believed, when you "leave the earth's atmosphere."

 

Tying these two books together is another book with the title "Endurance." That's the story of Shackelton's 1914 doomed expedition to Antartica and the crew's 10-month ordeal of survival trapped on an ice flow. Surviving extreme conditions on earth has obvious parallels to space travel. Massimino referenced Shackelton in his book. There's even a chapter titled "Shackelton Mode." I won't make it into space but setting foot on Antartica is definitely on my bucket list.

 

Busch.

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Another takeaway was in his chapter on weightlessness. Weightlessness and falling off a cliff are one in the same sensation because when you're weightless in space you're actually falling but at a speed, in his case, of 17,500 miles an hour. You become weightless when you go into orbit, not as is commonly believed, when you "leave the earth's atmosphere."

Good point (ignoring terminal velocity wind resistance); it's the distinction between weightless and zero G.

 

In orbit you're weightless because the orbital inertial force cancels the earth's gravitational force. Same deal on plane traveling a parabolic arc to simulate zero G.

 

Einstein proved the equivalence in his theory of General Relativity.

 

The canonical example is not being able to distinguish being in freefall in an elevator vs a spaceship halfway to Alpha Centauri if blindfolded.

 

I'm looking forward to reading "Riding Rockets" by astronaut Mike Mullane. Love this subject!

 

J  a  z  z   P i a n o 8 8

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Yamaha C7D

Montage M8x | CP300 | CP4 | SK1-73 | OB6 | Seven

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My favorite part of Endurance is the fact that on the way out to the launch pad everybody stops and takes a piss on the rear tire of the bus, because Yuri Gugarin did it first.

 

 

Talk about tradition.......

 

Jake

1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

 

"It needs a Hammond"

 

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