mardi 11 mars 2014

Interview avec l'astronaute Don Thomas qui a effectué 4 vols en navette spatiale

Donald A. ‘’Don’’ Thomas est docteur en physique spécialiste des matériaux.

Il est sélectionné comme astronaute par la NASA en 1990 dans le groupe 13.
Il effectuera 4 missions spatiales en tant que Mission Specialist :
STS-65 (8 au 23 juillet 1994)
STS-70 (13 au 22 juillet 1995) / ‘’Mission Woodywoodpecker’’
STS-83 (4 au 8 avril 1997)
STS-94 (1er au 17 juillet 1997)
Il aura passé 43 jours 8 heures et 13 minutes dans l’espace.

Il quitte la NASA en 2007.
En décembre 2013, il publie un livre Orbit of Discovery – The All-Ohio Apace Shuttle Mission, une excellente autobiographie qui relate également les vols des astronautes originaires de l’Ohio, comme lui.
Vous pouvez commander le livre de Don Thomas sur son site : (cliquez sur le lien en jaune)

Interview réalisée en mars 2014

How many years were you connected to the space program prior to your 1st flight (STS-65) ?
Six years.

I worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center as a materials engineer for the Space Shuttle and Space Station programs for 2.5 years and then trained as an astronaut for 4 years before my first flight.

How did you feel prior to the flight ?
I was a little scared, a little nervous, but mainly very, very, excited.

I knew an accident like the Challenger explosion could happen on any mission.

I had dreamed of going into space since I was six years old and was excited about finally achieving my dream of flying in space.

What kinds of sensations did you experienced during take-off ?
There was a lot of shaking and vibration as the engines ignited. 

At the moment of lift-off it felt as though someone had their hand in the middle of my back and was just pushing me up to space.

The acceleration built up to three times normal Earth gravity so I was pushed back into my seat.

After SRB separation the ride got much smoother and was fairly quiet.

What does weightlessness feel like, and what did you think about during the flight ?
Weightlessness is a very comfortable sensation and feels a bit like being in a swimming pool where you are floating in the water and there is less weight on your body.

The big difference with being in water is that the water slows you down as you float where in space you can effortlessly float through the air.

Most of the time in space we are kept quite busy working. You are concentrating on what you are working on and don’t want to make any mistakes.

Only during free moments at the window could I think about other things like the beauty of the Earth, what I had accomplished getting into space, and about my family and friends back on Earth.

What were some of the problems you encountered and how did you fixed them ?
On STS-65 almost everything worked properly and we had no major problems.

We had a few experiments that were not operating properly so we coordinated ideas with Mission Control and the scientists on the ground to look for solutions to these relatively minor problems.

What did you eat, and did it taste real ?
Our space food is a combination of freeze-dried food and military rations, neither of which are particularly delicious.

I found very little of the food to be good.

What was re-entry like ?
Re-entry takes about 55 minutes and is very quiet and smooth compared to launch.

Every now and then there is a little turbulence but most of the ride home is smooth.

Slowly, however, the gravity level starts to build which causes you to feel extremely heavy.

I felt like I weighed 2,000 pounds when we landed.

Were you glad to be back on Earth, or did you feel you could have spent the rest of your life up there ?
Space is a beautiful place but there is nothing up there. It is just a void.

I was always happy to be back on Earth. 

To see my family. To see my friends. To eat good food. To eat fresh food. To enjoy the beauty of our planet. And to enjoy a quiet walk around my neighborhood. 

I never wished I could spend the rest of my life in space but I absolutely loved visiting there.


Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire