John Herrington Talks About His First Spaceflight
Every astronaut gets asked the same question thousands of times before their first spaceflight. The question gets asked by reporters, by school kids when they give presentations, and VIPs they take on tours of NASA installations. That question is "What's it like to fly in space?" Which is a bit like asking a teenager about to get a learners permit how they like driving a car, or asking an engaged person how they like married life. The standard answer is either "I don't know - ask me after I've flown in space" or "All of my friends tell me it's a fantastic experience and I'm looking forward to it." And many astronauts get extremely frustrated when they've been asked the same question that they can't possibly answer for the thousandth time.
So now that John Herrington can answer the question "Indian Country Today" asked him during an inflight interview. He said "It's fabulous. It's more than I dreamed about. It takes a bit of adaptation initially. You really have to control your body. If you're not careful you can go flying into things. The sensation of actually just floating through one module and to the next is fantastic. Way more than I dreamed about."
And the second most asked question? "How to you go to the bathroom?" The answer to that question is the shuttle has a sophisticated toilet called the "Waste Containment System". It uses a strong airflow to separate the solid waste from the body where it's dehydrated, compacted, and returned to Earth. The liquid waste is dumped overboard where it quickly evaporates in the vacuum. But for launch and landing and during spacewalks astronauts use a far less sophisticated system - an adult-size diaper.
The shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station on Monday at 3:05 pm EST. If the weather permits Endeavour will land at the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday at 3:49 pm.