Franklin Chang-Diaz, physicien, est un astronaute de la NASA en 1980 dans le Groupe 9.
Il effectue 7 vols à bord de la Navette Spatiale (STS-61C, 34, 46, 60, 75, 91 et 111).
Il est un des 2 hommes qui a effectué le plus de vols dans l'espace (avec Jerry Ross).
Il quitte la NASA en 2005. Il dirige actuellement Ad Astra Rocket Company. Il est l'inventeur du moteur à plasma VASIMR
Q : How many years were you connected to the space program prior to your 1st flight ?
A : Six years
Q : How did you feel prior to the flight ?
A : Much anticipation and excitement
Q : What kinds of sensations did you experienced during take-off ?
A : The vehicle vibrates much in the early phases of flight and then it becomes smooth as it climbs out of the atmosphere and accelerates.
The g forces are steady and cause a great deal of discomfort but they are manageable.
Q : What does weightlessness feel like, and what did you think about during the flight ?
A : A great sense of freedom. It is similar to scuba diving without the friction of the water.
Q : What were some of the problems you encountered and how did you fixed them ?
A : All the problems are dealt with by procedures we practice over and over during our long training. There is very little that is not foreseen.
The ground control team helps a great deal. We had hardware problems in most of my missions but they were dealt with and mostly overcome with patience and team work.
Q : What did you eat, and did it taste real ?
A : The food is ok, not the best, but it is gradually getting better as more people from different countries fly and bring new flavors and styles on board. Eventually it will be out of this world.
Q : What was re-entry like ?
A : Weight returns gradually and the feeling of it is amplified by the long exposure to weightlessness.
The sense of speed is more pronounced as we descend closer to the ground.
We have to ingest large amounts of fluids to rehydrate our bodies so they can withstand the 1-g environment once again.
Q : Were you glad to be back on Earth, or did you feel you could have spent the rest of your life up there ?
A : I was glad to be back with my family but I could spend the rest of my life up there (if I could have them with me).