mardi 9 juillet 2013

Interview de Kathryn Sullivan, première américaine à marcher dans l'espace

Kathryn D. Sullivan est astronaute américaine et est docteur en géologie.
Elle se spécialise notamment en télédétection spatiale.

Elle est sélectionnée par la NASA en 1978 dans le fameux groupe 8.
Elle mènera plusieurs projets de télédétection pour la NASA, notamment avec l’avion de haute-altitude WB-57F et sera une des responsables  du SIR-B (Shuttle Imaging Radar-B).
C’est en partie à ce titre qu’elle est affectée à la mission STS-41G en 1984.

Toujours lors de cette mission, elle deviendra la première américaine à effectuer une EVA (la russe S. Savitskaia devenant la 1ère femme à effectuer une EVA quelques semaines auparavant).
Elle effectuera en tout trois missions spatiales (STS-41G, STS-31 et STS-45) avant de quitter la NASA en 1993.
Elle deviendra par la suite responsable scientifique du NOAA puis directrice du COSI (Center of Science and Industry).
Elle enseigne actuellement à l’Université de l’Ohio.

Kathryn Sullivan nous parle ici de sa première mission STS-41G (5 au 13 octobre 1984).
Interview réalisée en juin 2013

How many years were you connected to the space program prior to your 1st flight ?  
Fifteen Years (1978-1993)

How did you feel prior to the 1st flight ?
Eager to take off and get to work

What kinds of sensations did you experienced during take-off ?  
A Space Shuttle launch is like a magnitude 4 earthquake plus a huge push in your back.

You are embedded in a tremendous ball of energy and very aware of how rapidly it accelerating away from the planet.
What does weightlessness feel like, and what did you think about during  the flight ?
Weightlessness is delightful.

It’s a lot like scuba diving when your buoyancy is balanced very precisely.

I thought a lot about my jobs, of course, but also about how amazing it was to be there, and to feel to completely comfortable in such an extraordinary environment.

And, of course, I marveled at how the Earth looked below me.
What were some of the problems you encountered and how did you fixed them and what were your feelings during your EVA ?
We had no problems with our spacesuits, but did have a problem with an antenna on the Shuttle (SIR-B) that delayed our spacewalk until very late in the flight.

We spent four anxious days wondering if the spacewalk would be cancelled.

Happyly, it was not, and fixing the antenna got added to the list of things we needed to do.

All time during a spacewalk is scheduled very precisely, so we did not have very much time to think about anything other than our work.

The few moments we were able to look at the Earth and really absorb the experience were very precious.
(l'antenne de SIR-B)
(Kathryn Sullivan et David Leetsma)
What did you eat, and did it taste real ?
We ate the kind of foods that mountaineers eat on climbing expeditions. 

It tasted pretty good. We were not very worried about having great meals, because we were spending our days in orbit.
(Kathryn Sullivan, première américaine à marcher dans l'espace,
et la première américaine dans l'espace, Sally Ride)
What was re-entry like ?  
Re-entry is partly like sitting in a white-hot blast furnace and partly like a very smooth and quiet glider flight.

You travel halfway around the planet during re-entry.

As the atmosphere slows you down, Zero-gravity slowly gives way to normal Earth’s gravity, which makes your body feel much heavier than it seemed before launch.
Were you glad to be back on Earth, or did you feel you could have spent the rest of your life up there ?  
I could have spent more time in space, but I also quickly found earthly things that made me glad to be home, from family and friends to feeling of wind and water flowing over my skin and the sounds of birds.

(Timbres holographiques avec hommage à Kathryn Sullivan
et la mission STS-41G sur les enveloppes)

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire