Five of the six members of the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station in May, 2010 presented their experiences to a crowd of NASA Glenn workers and interns. Those present included Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli , and Mission Specialists Garrett (Big G) Reisman, Michael (Bueno) Good, and Steve (Steve-o) Bowen. Their 11 day mission included delivering an integrated cargo carrier and a Russian-built mini research module to the ISS. Their mission also included three spacewalks. During the first spacewalk, a spare antenna was installed as well as a stowage platform. On the second walk, Good and Bowen replaced batteries on the P6 Truss that store solar energy. The final walk replaced the remaining P6 Truss batteries and retrieved a power data grapple fixture for installation at a later date.
During the presentation, Commander Ken Ham was the first to talk. He shared his general thoughts on space flight, and interjected that he usually likes to present to kids, because they are the most easily inspired. Ham also showed several slides on astronaut and EVA training as well as some pictures he took from the ISS and the shuttle. Ham also showed the team photo of the shuttle crew in the Astros dugout with hundreds of support staff and engineers who had a hand in their mission, sitting in the stands behind the dugout. Another flight crew photo was shown, along with their crew motto of “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Overall, Ham showed how well he and his crew got along and how much fun they had doing their jobs.
Tony Antonelli was the second to speak. His portion of the presentation was briefing us all about what a launch is actually like. He said it was “like being strapped to the top of a rocket.” To further demonstrate, Big G used a model shuttle stack to show a shuttle launch in the form of interpretive dance. The two words Antonelli said best described a launch are ‘power’ and ‘speed.’
Garret (Big G) Reisman was the third to talk. He talked about the primary objectives of the mission, which are described earlier. He thought it was appropriate that a mini guy would be one of the ones to attach the mini research module to ISS. Reisman also commented on his favorite parts of the missions. He said his favorite part is doing space walks. He also jested that the view he got from space walks was almost as good as the view from the Cupola, for those astronauts that never leave the capsule. Reisman also added that his other favorite part of flying was laughing so hard that his eyes filled with tears, which is actually funnier when the tears didn’t run down his face and they welled up around his eyes.
Michael (Bueno) Good was next to speak. He talked more on the primary missions of the spacewalks which included installing the 400 or 500 pound batteries into their fixtures. He showed more photos of spacewalking as well as photos of the Earth. As an Ohio native, he showed a picture of Lake Erie and pointed out Cleveland. LeBron, however, was in another world.
Steve Bowen was the last to present. He expressed gratitude from the whole crew toward the team they have on the ground, from the engineers who design and test the equipment they use and fly in to the controllers who keep them safe and informed from liftoff to docking to landing.
The team showed a video of their launch, many of the mission tasks including videos and photos of the spacewalks. Also in the video were pictures and videos of the astronauts having fun in the ISS with those living aboard. They were shown playing with their food, flying around, playing games, and generally having a good time. Even though astronauts do a lot of hard work and successfully complete their missions, they also have time for some fun.
After the video, the astronauts answered questions from the audience. Some include talking about their personal backgrounds and training. Others answered questions on specific flight or equipment usage during the flight. Another person asked what the astronauts planned on doing next. Bueno answered that he was moving to South Beach. He then became known as LeBueno.
Overall the astronauts were great guys who obviously love their jobs. They were passionate about the work they are doing, which even includes traveling across the country and to other countries to inspire people, especially children, to study math and science. The crew had fun together, and their joy spread to the crowd as we listened to them talk. What a great feeling to share some of their experiences with them through the stories, videos, and photos they shared.