Shannon Lucid keer terug na die aarde

Shannon Lucid keer terug na die aarde


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Amerikaanse ruimtetuig Atlantis na ses maande in 'n wentelbaan aan boord van die Russiese ruimtestasie Mir.

Op 23 Maart 1996 het Lucid oorgeplaas na Mir vanaf dieselfde ruimtetuig vir 'n beplande verblyf van vyf maande. Lucid, 'n biochemikus, het Mir gedeel met die Russiese kosmonaute Yuri Onufriyenko en Yuri Usachev en wetenskaplike eksperimente uitgevoer tydens haar verblyf. Sy was die eerste Amerikaanse vrou wat in 'n ruimtestasie gewoon het.

Begin Augustus is haar geskeduleerde terugkeer na die aarde met meer as ses weke vertraag weens die herstelwerk op die laaste minuut Atlantis en dan deur 'n orkaan. Uiteindelik, op 26 September 1996, keer sy aan boord terug na die aarde Atlantis, raak by die Edwards Air Force Base in Kalifornië. Haar verblyf van 188 dae aan boord Mir stel 'n nuwe ruimte uithouvermoë rekord vir 'n Amerikaner en 'n wêreld uithouvermoë rekord vir 'n vrou.

LEES MEER: Toe Sally Ride haar eerste ruimtevlug neem, was seksisme die norm


Shannon Wells Lucid

Ons redakteurs gaan na wat u ingedien het, en bepaal of hulle die artikel moet hersien.

Shannon Wells Lucid, née Shannon Matilda Wells, (gebore 14 Januarie 1943, Sjanghai, China), Amerikaanse ruimtevaarder wat van 1996 tot 2007 die wêreldrekord die meeste tyd in die ruimte gehou het deur 'n vrou en van 1996 tot 2002 die rekord gehou het vir die langste ruimtevaart deur enige Amerikaanse ruimtevaarder .

Lucid is in China gebore as die dogter van Baptiste -sendelinge en het saam met haar gesin gedurende die Tweede Wêreldoorlog 'n paar maande in 'n Japannese gevangeniskamp naby Sjanghai gebly. Sy het baccalaureus-, meesters- en doktorsgrade van die Universiteit van Oklahoma die Ph.D. was in biochemie. Sy werk saam met die Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City totdat sy in 1978 gekies is as een van die eerste ses vroue wat as ruimtevaarderkandidate opgelei het vir vlugte aan boord van die ruimtetuig.

Lucid vlieg die eerste keer aan boord van die ruimtetuig in 1985 op 'n missie wat drie kommunikasiesatelliete ontplooi het. Sy het in 1989, 1991 en 1993 nog drie ruimtetuigopdragte gevlieg, en daarna in 1996 met die pendeltuig na die Russiese ruimtestasie Mir, waar sy 188 dae deurgebring het, wat toe 'n rekord was vir die langste ruimtetuig deur enige VSA ruimtevaarder. In totaal het Lucid altesaam 223 dae in die ruimte deurgebring, dan 'n rekord vir die meeste tyd in die ruimte deur 'n vrou.

In 2002 is Lucid aangewys as hoofwetenskaplike van die National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), met die verantwoordelikheid om toesig te hou oor die wetenskaplike kwaliteit van alle NASA -programme en vir eksterne kommunikasie van NASA se navorsingsdoelwitte. Sy beklee die pos tot 2003, toe sy terugkeer na NASA se Johnson Space Center in Houston. Sy het in 2012 by NASA afgetree.


Belangrike datums in die geskiedenis van ruimteverkenning

In hierdie 20 Julie 1969, lêerfoto, verskaf deur NASA, Apollo 11 -ruimtevaarders Neil Armstrong en Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, die eerste mans wat op die maan geland het, die Amerikaanse vlag op die maanoppervlak geplant. Die familie van Neil Armstrong, die eerste man wat op die maan geloop het, sê dat hy op 82 -jarige ouderdom op 25 Augustus 2012 gesterf het. Armstrong het bevel gegee oor die Apollo 11 -ruimtetuig wat op die maan op 20 Julie 1969 geland het. Hy het teruggestuur na die aarde die historiese nuus van "een reuse sprong vir die mensdom." (AP Foto/NASA, lêer)

Opmerklike gebeure in die geskiedenis van menslike ruimteverkenning:

- 4 Oktober 1957: Eerste kunsmatige satelliet, Spoetnik I, word deur die Sowjetunie gelanseer.

- 12 April 1961: Sowjet -ruimtevaarder Yuri Gagarin voltooi die eerste bemande ruimtevlug en wentel om die aarde in 108 minute.

-5 Mei 1961: VSA lanseer die eerste Amerikaanse ruimtevaarder, Alan Shepard Jr., in die ruimte op 'n suborbitale vlug van 15 minute, 22 sekondes.

- 25 Mei 1961: President Kennedy verklaar die Amerikaanse ruimtedoelwit om 'n man op die maan te sit en hom teen die einde van die dekade veilig terug te bring.

- Februarie. 20, 1962: John Glenn word die eerste Amerikaner wat om die aarde wentel en voltooi drie wentelbane.

-16-19 Junie 1963: Kosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, die eerste vrou in die ruimte, voltooi 48 wentelbane.

- 18 Maart 1965: Kosmonaut Aleksei Leonov neem die mens se eerste ruimtewandeling.

- 27 Januarie 1967: Ruimtevaarders Gus Grissom, Edward White en Roger Chaffee sterf wanneer 'n brand die bevelmodule Apollo I oorval tydens 'n grondtoets in die Kennedy Space Center.

- 24 April 1967: Kosmonaut Vladimir Komarov word dood toe sy Soyuz I -ruimtetuig by terugkeer na die aarde neerstort.

- 21 Desember 1968: Die eerste bemande ruimtetuig wat om die maan wentel, Apollo 8, kom binne 70 myl van die maanoppervlak af.

- 20 Julie 1969: Die mens loop op die maan. Neil Armstrong en Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin van Apollo XI bring 21 1/2 uur op die maan deur, 2 1/2 daarvan buite die kapsule.

- 29 Junie 1971 - Drie ruimtevaarders, Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov en Viktor Patsayev, sterf tydens die herbetreding van hul Soyuz 11 -ruimtetuig. 'N Regeringskommissie het bekend gemaak dat die drie 30 minute voor die landing gesterf het omdat 'n foutiewe klep die ruimtetuig onder druk geplaas het.

-7-19 Desember 1972: Apollo 17-sending wat die langste en laaste verblyf van die mens op die maan insluit-74 uur, 59 minute-deur ruimtevaarders Eugene Cernan en Harrison Schmitt.

- 14 Mei 1973: Skylab I, eerste Amerikaanse wentelbaanlaboratorium, gelanseer.

-17-19 Julie 1975: Amerikaanse ruimtevaarders en Sowjet-kosmonaute neem deel aan die Apollo-Soyuz-toetsprojek, wat twee dae lank saam in die ruimte lê.

- 12 April 1981: Shuttle Columbia word die eerste gevleuelde ruimteskip wat om die aarde wentel en terugkeer na die lughawe.

- 18 Junie 1983: Sally Ride word die eerste Amerikaanse vrou in die ruimte.

- 7 Februarie 1984: Ruimtevaarder Bruce McCandless verrig die eerste ongebonde ruimtewandeling van die mens met 'n bemande manoeuvreereenheid van die ruimtetuig Challenger.

- 28 Januarie 1986: Challenger -pendeltuig ontplof 73 sekondes na die bekendstelling en maak sy bemanning van sewe dood.

- 15 November 1988 - Sowjette loods hul eerste ruimtetuig. Die vlieg van 3 uur en 20 minute van die pendeltuig Buran is onbemande.

- 21 Desember 1988 - Kosmonaute Vladimir Titov en Musa Manarov keer terug na die aarde vanaf die Sowjet -ruimtestasie Mir na die langste ruimtevlug van die mens - 365 dae, 22 uur, 39 minute.

- 14 Maart 1995: Norman Thagard word die eerste Amerikaner wat op 'n Russiese vuurpyl gelanseer is. Twee dae later word hy die eerste Amerikaner wat die Russiese ruimtestasie Mir besoek het.

-29 Junie 1995: Atlantis dok saam met Mir in die eerste verbinding met die pendelstasie.

-26 September 1996: Shannon Lucid keer terug na die aarde na die 188 dae lange Mir-sending, 'n Amerikaanse ruimte-uithouvermoë-rekord en 'n wêreldrekord vir vroue.

- 29 Oktober 1998: Glenn, nou 77, keer terug na die ruimte aan boord van die shuttle Discovery en word die oudste persoon wat ooit in die ruimte gevlieg het.

- 29 Mei 1999: Discovery word die eerste pendeltuig om by die internasionale ruimtestasie aan te lê, 'n multinasionale, permanente, wentelende navorsingslaboratorium.

- 2 November 2000: 'n Amerikaanse en Russiese bemanning begin aan boord van die internasionale ruimtestasie.

- 1 Februarie 2003: Shuttle Columbia breek uit oor Texas, 16 minute voordat dit veronderstel was om in Florida te land.

- 21 Julie 2011 - Die finale ruimtetuigmissie eindig wanneer Atlantis by die Kennedy Space Center aankom.

Kopiereg 2012 The Associated Press. Alle regte voorbehou. Hierdie materiaal mag nie gepubliseer, uitgesaai, herskryf of herversprei word nie.


Biografie van Shannon Lucid, Amerikaanse ruimtevaarder

Biografie van Shannon Lucid, die vrou wat vyf keer in die ruimte gevlieg het, insluitend 'n uitgebreide missie aan boord van die Sovjet Mir -ruimtestasie, in 1996.

Sy was die enigste Amerikaanse vrou wat aan boord van die Mir.

Shannon Lucid se persoonlike data

Ma van 'n gesin, getroud met Michael Lucid, hulle het twee dogters en 'n seun.

Shannon Lucid is op 14 Januarie 1943 in Sjanghai, China, gebore, waar haar ouers, Oscar en Myrtle Wells, Baptiste -sendelinge was.

Maar sy gewoonte was in die stad Bethanië (Oklahoma).

In 1960, nadat sy aan Bethany gegradueer het, het sy by die Universiteit van Oklahoma ingeskryf.

Sy behaal in 1963 haar baccalaureusgraad in chemie.

In 1969 voltooi sy 'n Master in Biochemistry. Vier jaar later, toe sy 30 jaar oud was, verwerf sy 'n Ph.D. in Biochemie aan die Universiteit van Oklahoma.

Universiteit van Oklahoma. Krediet: Michael Barera

Haar beroepservaring was intens en uiteenlopend, van die behaal van haar baccalaureusgraad in 1963 tot haar doktorsgraad in 1973.

Dit is 'n duidelike voorbeeld van haar briljante intellektuele eienskappe en haar ondernemingsgees.

Shannon Lucid se ruimtevlugte

Het 5 ruimte reise gemaak. Dit was nie ruimtetoerisme -reise nie, maar baie gespesialiseerde werksreise.

Dit is interessant om 'n paar verskille te ondersoek tussen die reis van die eerste Russiese vrou wat in die ruimte gelanseer is en die eerste Amerikaanse vrou wat na 'n ruimtestasie gereis het.

Niks doen afbreuk aan enigeen van hulle nie, maar omstandighede het baie verander in die 22 jaar tussen die twee prestasies.

Valentina Tereshkova
Sy is in 1937 gebore.
Sy studeer Bedryfsingenieurswese.
Sy het valskermspring beoefen.
Dit is in November 1962 gekies en het in Maart 1963 gevlieg.
Ek was enkellopend en 26 jaar oud
Die missie is met absolute geheimhouding voorberei.
Sy is in die ruimte gelanseer op 'n Vostok -skip met plek vir haarself.
Gedurende 3 dae het dit 48 keer om die aarde gekring.
Sy het foto's geneem van die aarde se atmosfeer vir wetenskaplike doeleindes.
Sy het 'n baie slegte tyd in haar baie smal ruimte -kapsule gehad.
Aan die einde van die missie valskerm sy so goed as wat sy kon.

Shannon Lucid
Sy is in 1943 gebore.
Groot spesialis in chemie en biochemie.
Dit is in 1978 gekies en in 1985 gevlieg.
Sy was die moeder van 2 kinders, sy was 42 jaar oud.
Die STS-51-missie was publiek en baie gepubliseer.
Sy en ander het met 'n ruimtetuig na die ruimte gereis.
Dit het sewe dae lank 112 keer om die aarde omring.
Sy het baie geprogrammeerde eksperimente gedoen.
Op die ruimtestasie het hulle sekere geriewe gehad.
By die terugkeer van die missie beland hulle by 'n lugmagbasis.

Shannon Lucid se professionele ervarings

Onderwysassistent, in die Departement Chemie, Universiteit van Oklahoma, van 1963 tot 1964
Senior laboratorium tegnikus,Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 1964-1966
Chemie by die Kerr-McGee Company, Oklahoma, 1966-1968
Assistent vir die Departement Biochemie en Molekulêre Biologie van die Universiteit van Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, van 1969 tot 1973
Navorsingsgenoot by die Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma, van 1974 tot sy gekies is vir die ruimtevaarder -opleidingsprogram.

Shannon Lucid gekies om 'n ruimtevaarder te wees

In 1978 het NASA verskeie vrouekandidate bevorder in reaksie op die nuwe wette van die tyd teen diskriminasie.

In dieselfde jaar is Lucid gekies om deel te wees van die Astronaut Corps.

Van die ses vroue in hierdie eerste groep toekomstige vroulike ruimtevaarders was Shannon Lucid die enigste een wat 'n ma was tydens haar keuse.

Shannon Lucid in 1978. Krediet: NASA

Shannon Lucid reis vir die eerste keer ruimte toe

Die eerste ruimtevaart van Lucid ’s was op 17 Junie 1985 op die Missie STS-51-G van die ruimtetuig Ontdekking.

Twee jaar tevore het 'n ander vrou, Sally Ride, ook die ruimte in gereis. Daarna het sy vier ander missies in die ruimte gevlieg. STS (Ruimtevervoerstelsel)

Die STS-51-G Discovery het 'n bemanning van 7 mense gehad: bevelvoerder, vlieënier, 3 wetenskaplike spesialiste en 2 vragspesialiste.

Dit was 'n sewe dae lange sending gedurende die tyd dat hulle 112 keer om die aarde gery het, op 'n gemiddelde hoogte van 387 km.

Die bemanning het kommunikasiesatelliete vir Mexiko, die Arabiese Liga en die Verenigde State ontplooi. Een van die bemanning was die kleinseun van die koning van Saoedi -Arabië.

Ruimtetuigbemanning op missie STS-51-G. Krediet: NASA

Hulle het 17 uur se sterrekunde en X-straal-eksperimente uitgevoer.

Boonop het die bemanning die Automated Directional Solidification Furnace en verskillende biomediese eksperimente geaktiveer.

Die landing was by die Edwards Air Force Base, Kalifornië.

Edwards Air Force Base is in Kalifornië en huisves die skool vir toetsvlieëniers. Krediet: Edwards Air Force Base

Shannon Lucid se tweede ruimte -ekspedisie

Vier jaar later is sy aangewys om die ruimte in te vlieg STS-34 Atlantis, van 18 Oktober tot 23 Oktober 1989.

Die bemanning het uit 5 mense bestaan: bevelvoerder, vlieënier en 3 spesialiste.

Shannon Lucid met haar vier metgeselle van Mission STS-34. Krediet: NASA

Dit was 'n 5-dae missie waartydens die bemanning die Galileo ruimtesonde, wat 'n reis na Jupiter onderneem het.

Die bemanning het die Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet instrument om atmosferiese osoon te karteer.

Hulle het ook sekondêre eksperimente uitgevoer wat insluit:

  • bestralingsmetings,
  • polimeer morfologie,
  • weerlignavorsing,
  • mikrogravitasie -effekte op plante,
  • 'n eksperiment wat deur studente voorgestel is oor die vorming van yskristalle in die ruimte. Dit is duidelik dat dit nie 'n ruimtetoerisme was nie, maar 'n gespesialiseerde en moontlik baie riskante werk.

Atlantis het in 119 uur en 41 minute 79 wentelbane om die aarde gemaak. Die landing is by die Edwards Air Force Base gedoen.

Shannon Lucid se derde ruimtevaart

Twee jaar later is Shannon heraangestel in die 5personeellid op 'n ander ruimtemissie, STS-43 Atlantis, van 2 Augustus tot 11 Augustus 1991.

Tydens missie STS-43 het die bemanning van die skip die ontplooiing van 'n satelliet uitgevoer. Krediet: NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center

By hierdie geleentheid het die missie 9 dae geduur, waartydens die bemanning die vyfde Data Tracking Satellite ontplooi het.

Boonop het sy 32 materiële fisika en medisyne -eksperimente uitgevoer.

Hulle beskryf 142 wentelbane om die aarde, in 213 uur en 21 minute.

STS-43 Atlantis was die agtste ruimtetuig wat by die John F. Kennedy -ruimtesentrum.

Shannon Lucid se vierde ruimtevaart

Twee jaar later sluit Shannon aan by 'n bemanning van 7 lede op 'n ander missie, STS-58 Columbia, van 18 Oktober tot 1 November 1993.

Dit was 'n missie van 14 dae, 'n rekordduur wat die suksesvolste en doeltreffendste was Spasieblad projekvlug wat ooit uitgevoer is.

Die span van 5 spesialiste het mediese eksperimente op hulself en 48 rotte uitgevoer om die begrip van die fisiologiese effekte tydens ruimtevlugte uit te brei.

Boonop het hulle 16 ingenieurstoetse aan boord van die Columbia en 20 mediese eksperimente.

Columbia het 225 wentelbane om die aarde gemaak vir 336 uur, 13 minute.

Die landing is op Edwards -lugmagbasis.

Deur hierdie vlug te voltooi, het Shannon Lucid al 'n totaal van 838 uur en 54 minute in die ruimte aangeteken.

Shannon Lucid se vyfde ruimtesending

Die laaste ruimtesending waaraan Lucid deelgeneem het, was STS-76 Columbia.

Sy het dit gedoen na 'n jaar se opleiding in Star City, Rusland. Atlantis het op 22 Maart 1996 uit die Kennedy Space Center van NASA gestyg.

Nadat u in die ruimte aan die Mir -ruimtestasie, Het Shannon daarheen gegaan om met die Russiese bemanning te integreer.

Shannon Lucid was verantwoordelik vir die kontrole van die groei van koringplante aan boord van die MIR. Krediet: NASA

Sy is aangewys as Dashboard Engineer 2 en het tydens haar verblyf aan boord talle lewenswetenskaplike en fisiese wetenskaplike eksperimente uitgevoer Mir.

Sy het aan boord teruggekeer na die Kennedy Space Center STS-79 Atlantis op 26 September 1996.

Na voltooiing van hierdie missie het Shannon Lucid 188 dae, 4 uur, 0 minute en 14 sekondes deur die ruimte gereis.

Met hierdie missie het sy al die ruimte -rekords wat 'n vrou gemaak het, gebreek.

Na hierdie prestasies het NASA haar NASA -hoofwetenskaplike genoem en sy het die beplanning en beheer van baie ander missies wat haar gevolg het, uitgevoer.


Shannon Lucid keer terug na die aarde - GESKIEDENIS

Ruimtevaarder Shannon W. Lucid het 'n Amerikaanse rekord opgestel vir die langste verblyf in die ruimte met haar 188 dae op die Russiese ruimtestasie Mir in 1996. In hierdie wetenskaplike Amerikaanse artikel reflekteer sy oor haar ervarings en oor die toekoms van die internasionale ruimteprogram. Bron: herdruk met toestemming. Kopiereg - Mei 1998 deur Scientific American, Inc. Alle regte voorbehou.

"Ses maande op Mir"
Deur Shannon W. Lucid

Vir ses maande, ten minste een keer per dag, en baie keer meer gereeld, sweef ek bo die groot waarnemingsvenster in die Kvant 2 -module van Mir en kyk na die aarde onder of in die dieptes van die heelal. Altyd word ek getref deur die majesteit van die ontvouende toneel. Maar om eerlik te wees, die wonderlikste van alles was dat ek hier was, 'n kind van die voor-Spoetnik, koue oorlog 1950's, op 'n Russiese ruimtestasie. Gedurende my vroeë kinderjare in die Texas Panhandle, het ek 'n aansienlike hoeveelheid tyd daaraan bestee om windblaasgewasse oor die prairie te jaag. Nou sit ek in 'n voertuig wat soos 'n kosmiese tuimelkruid lyk en werk en kuier saam met 'n Russiese lugmagbeampte en 'n Russiese ingenieur. Net tien jaar gelede sou so 'n plotlyn vir alles behalwe 'n wetenskapfiksieroman te onwaarskynlik geag word.

In die vroeë sewentigerjare het sowel die Amerikaanse as die Russiese ruimteagentskappe die moontlikheid van langtermynbewoning in die ruimte begin ondersoek. Na die einde van die derde Skylab-sending in 1974, het die Amerikaanse program gefokus op ruimtetuigpendelvlugte van korte duur. Maar die Russe het voortgegaan om die tyd wat hul ruimtevaarders in 'n wentelbaan deurgebring het, uit te brei, eers op die Salyut -ruimtestasies en later op Mir, wat "vrede" in Russies beteken. Aan die begin van die negentigerjare, met die einde van die koue oorlog, was dit net natuurlik dat die VSA en Rusland saamwerk aan die volgende groot stap van die verkenning van die ruimte, die bou van die Internasionale Ruimtestasie. Die Russe het in 1993 formeel by die vennootskap aangesluit-wat ook die Europese, Japannese, Kanadese en Brasiliaanse ruimteagentskappe insluit-.

Die eerste fase van hierdie vennootskap was die Shuttle-Mir-program. Die National Aeronautics and Space Administration het 'n reeks pendelmissies beplan om Amerikaanse ruimtevaarders na die Russiese ruimtestasie te stuur. Elke ruimtevaarder sou ongeveer vier maande op Mir bly en 'n wye reeks eweknie-geëvalueerde wetenskaplike eksperimente uitvoer. Die ruimtetuig sou periodiek by Mir aankom om bemanningslede uit te ruil en voorrade af te lewer. Benewens die wetenskap, was NASA se doelwitte om te leer hoe om met die Russe te werk, om ervaring op te doen in ruimtelike vlugte en om die risiko's verbonde aan die bou van die Internasionale Ruimtestasie te verminder. Ruimtevaarder Norm Thagard was die eerste Amerikaner wat op Mir gewoon het. My eie aankoms by die ruimtestasie-agt maande na die einde van Thagard se missie-was die begin van 'n voortdurende Amerikaanse teenwoordigheid in die ruimte, wat langer as twee jaar geduur het.

My betrokkenheid by die program het in 1994 begin. Op daardie stadium was ek al 15 jaar 'n NASA -ruimtevaarder en het ek op vier pendel -missies gevlieg. Laat een Vrydagmiddag het ek 'n oproep ontvang van my baas, Robert "Hoot" Gibson, destyds die hoof van NASA se ruimtevaarderkantoor. Hy het gevra of ek belangstel om voltyds Russies-onderrig te begin, met die moontlikheid om na Rusland te gaan om vir 'n Mir-sending te gaan. My onmiddellike antwoord was ja. Hoot het my entoesiasme gematig deur te sê dat ek slegs Russies moes leer. Dit beteken nie noodwendig dat ek na Rusland sou gaan nie, nog minder op Mir. Maar omdat daar 'n moontlikheid was dat ek op Mir sou vlieg en omdat Russies geleer moet word, is dit 'n groot understatement as daar ooit een was wat gedink het dat dit verstandig sou wees om aan die gang te kom.

Ek het die telefoon neergesit en 'n paar oomblikke staar die werklikheid in die gesig. Die missie waarop ek sou vlieg, was minder as anderhalf jaar weg. In daardie tyd sou ek 'n nuwe taal moes leer, nie net om met my bemanningslede in 'n wentelbaan te kommunikeer nie, maar om in Rusland vir die missie op te lei. Ek sou die stelsels en bedrywighede van Mir en Soyuz, die ruimtetuig wat Russiese bemanning van en na die ruimtestasie vervoer, moes leer. Omdat ek met die ruimtetuig van en na Mir sou reis, moes ek my vertroudheid met die Amerikaanse ruimtetuig behou. Asof dit nie genoeg is nie, sal ek ook die reeks eksperimente wat ek in 'n wentelbaan sou onderneem, onder die knie moet kry.

Dit is op hierdie punt regverdig om te vra: "Waarom?" Waarom sou ek op Mir wil woon en werk? En vanuit 'n breër perspektief, waarom sluit soveel lande saam om 'n nuwe ruimtestasie te bou? Een rede is beslis wetenskaplike navorsing. Swaartekrag beïnvloed alle eksperimente wat op die aarde gedoen is, behalwe vir ondersoeke wat in val torings of op vliegtuie tydens paraboliese vlug gedoen is. Maar op 'n ruimtestasie kan wetenskaplikes langtermynondersoeke doen in 'n omgewing waar swaartekrag amper nie bestaan ​​nie-die mikrogravitasie-omgewing. En die ervaring wat opgedoen word deur 'n volgehoue ​​menslike teenwoordigheid in die ruimte te behou, kan help om vas te stel wat nodig is om bemande vlugte na ander planete te ondersteun.

Persoonlik beskou ek die Mir -missie as 'n perfekte geleentheid om twee van my passies te kombineer: vliegtuie vlieg en werk in laboratoriums. Ek het my privaat vlieënierslisensie gekry toe ek 20 was en vlieg sedertdien. En voordat ek 'n ruimtevaarder geword het, was ek 'n biochemikus en het ek my Ph.D. van die Universiteit van Oklahoma in 1973. Wat kan vir 'n wetenskaplike wat hou van vlieg, meer opwindend wees as om in 'n laboratorium te werk wat 27 000 kilometer per uur om die aarde rondloop?

Na drie maande se intensiewe taalstudie het ek die kans gekry om met my opleiding te begin by Star City, die kosmonaut-opleidingsentrum buite Moskou. My verblyf daar begin in Januarie 1995, in die dieptes van 'n Russiese winter. Elke oggend het ek om vyfuur wakker geword om te begin studeer. Toe ek klas toe stap, was ek altyd bewus daarvan dat een misstap op die ys 'n gebreekte been kan veroorsaak en my drome van 'n vlug op Mir kan beëindig. Ek het die grootste deel van my dag in die klaskamers deurgebring om na Mir- en Soyuz-stelsellesings te luister, natuurlik alles in Russies. In die aande het ek die taal bestudeer en gesukkel met werkboeke wat in tegniese Russies geskryf is. Teen middernag val ek uiteindelik uitgeput in die bed.

Ek het gedurende daardie jaar harder gewerk as op enige ander tyd in my lewe. In vergelyking was dit om kinders te gaan studeer terwyl kleuters grootgemaak word. (Gelukkig is my drie kinders op hierdie stadium groot, en my man kon my in Rusland besoek.) Uiteindelik, in Februarie 1996, nadat ek al die vereiste mediese en tegniese eksamens geslaag het, het die Russiese ruimtevaartkommissie my as 'n Mir -bemanningslid. Ek het na Baikonur, Kazakstan, gereis om die bekendstelling van die Sojoes te sien, met my bemanningslede-bevelvoerder Yuri Onufriyenko, 'n Russiese lugmagbeampte, en vlugingenieur Yuri Usachev, 'n Russiese burger na Mir. Daarna is ek terug na die VSA vir drie weke opleiding met die bemanning van die pendeltuig STS-76. Op 22 Maart 1996 het ons van die Kennedy Space Center af op die pendel Atlantis gestyg. Drie dae later het die pendeltuig by Mir aangelê, en ek het amptelik by die bemanning van die ruimtestasie aangesluit vir 'n verblyf van vier en 'n half maande.

Lewe in mikrogravitasie

My eerste dae op Mir was om Onufriyenko en Usachev te leer ken-ons het uitsluitlik in Russies gepraat-en die uitleg van die ruimtestasie. Mir het 'n modulêre ontwerp en is in fases gebou. Die eerste deel, die basisblok, is in Februarie 1986 van stapel gestuur. Aan die een kant van die basisblok is Kvant 1, wat in 1987 gelanseer is, en aan die ander kant is Mir se oordragknooppunt, wat dieselfde funksie as 'n gang in 'n huis. In plaas daarvan om 'n lang gang met deure te wees, is die oordragknooppunt 'n bal met ses luike. Kvant 2 (1989), Kristall (1990) en Spektr (1995) word elk aan 'n luik vasgemaak. Tydens my verblyf op Mir het die Russe Priroda, die laaste module van die ruimtestasie, gelanseer en aan die oordragknooppunt vasgemaak. Priroda bevat die laboratorium waar ek die meeste van my eksperimente uitgevoer het. Ek het my persoonlike besittings in Spektr gebêre en elke aand daar geslaap. My pendel na die werk was baie kort; binne 'n paar sekondes kon ek van die een module na die ander dryf.

Die twee ruimtevaarders het in hokkies in die basisblok geslaap. Die meeste oggende het die wekalarm om agtuur afgegaan (Mir loop op Moskou-tyd, net soos die Russiese sendingbeheer in Korolev). In ongeveer 20 minute was ons aangetrek en gereed om die dag te begin. Die eerste ding wat ons gewoonlik gedoen het, was om ons koptelefoon aan te sit om met sendingbeheer te praat. Anders as die ruimtetuig, wat boodskappe stuur via 'n paar kommunikasiesatelliete, is Mir nie in konstante kontak met die grond nie. Die ruimtevaarders kan slegs met sendingbeheer praat as die ruimtestasie oor een van die kommunikasiegrondplekke in Rusland gaan. Hierdie "comm pass" het een keer in 'n wentelbaan plaasgevind-ongeveer elke 90 minute-en het gewoonlik ongeveer 10 minute geduur. Kommandant Onufriyenko wou hê dat elkeen van ons 'op kommando' moet wees elke keer as dit beskikbaar is, ingeval die grond nodig is om met ons te praat. Hierdie roetine het goed uitgewerk omdat dit ons gedurende die dag kort pouses gegee het. Ons het in die basisblok bymekaargekom en 'n bietjie gekuier voor en nadat ons met missiebeheer gesels het.

Na die eerste dagkaart, het ons ontbyt geëet. Een van die aangenaamste aspekte van die deelname aan die Mir -bemanning was dat ons al ons maaltye saam geëet het, om 'n tafel in die basisblok gesweef het. Voorvlug het ek aangeneem dat die herhalende aard van die spyskaart my eetlus sou demp, maar tot my verbasing was ek honger vir elke maaltyd. Ons het beide Russiese en Amerikaanse ontwaterde kos geëet wat ons met warm water gesit het. Ons het geëksperimenteer met die meng van die verskillende verpakkings om 'n nuwe smaak te skep, en ons het elkeen gunsteling mengsels gehad wat ons aan die ander aanbeveel het. Vir ontbyt het ek graag 'n sak Russiese sop gehad-gewoonlik borsjt of groente-en 'n sak vrugtesap. Vir middagete of aandete het ek gehou van die Russiese vleis-en-aartappel-braaivleis. Die Russe was mal oor die pakkies Amerikaanse mayonnaise, wat hulle byna alles bygevoeg het wat hulle geëet het.

Ons werkskedule is uiteengesit in 'n daaglikse tydlyn wat die Russe die Form 24 genoem het. Ons moes elke dag oefen om te voorkom dat ons spiere in die gewiglose omgewing atrofeer. Gewoonlik oefen ons almal net voor middagete. Daar is twee trapmeulens op Mir-one in die basisblok en die ander in die Kristall-module, en 'n fietsergometer word onder 'n vloerpaneel in die basisblok gestoor. Ons het drie oefenprotokolle gevolg wat deur Russiese fisioloë ontwikkel is. Ons het elke dag 'n ander een gedoen en daarna die siklus herhaal. Elke protokol het ongeveer 45 minute geneem en afwisselende periodes van trapmeul loop met oefeninge wat getrek het teen rekkies om die gravitasiekragte wat ons nie meer voel nie, na te boots. Teen die einde van my verblyf op Mir voel ek dat ek harder moet werk, en toe ek my oefeninge voltooi het, het ek ekstra kilometers op die trapmeul gehardloop.

Ek sal eerlik wees: die daaglikse oefening was wat ek die meeste gehou het van om op Mir te woon. Eerstens was dit eenvoudig moeilik. Ek moes 'n harnas aantrek en dit dan met rekkoorde aan die trapmeul koppel. Deur teen die rekkies te werk, kon ek plat op die toestel staan. Met 'n bietjie oefening het ek geleer hardloop. Tweedens, dit was vervelig. Die trapmeul was so raserig dat jy nie 'n gesprek kon voer nie. Om my gedagtes besig te hou, het ek na my Walkman geluister terwyl ek hardloop, maar gou het ek besef dat ek 'n groot voorafvlugfout gemaak het. Ek het baie min bande met 'n vinnige maat ingepak. Gelukkig was daar 'n groot versameling musiekbande op Mir. Gedurende my verblyf van ses maande het ek die meeste van hulle deurgemaak.

As ons klaar was met oefen, het ons gewoonlik 'n lang middagete geniet en daarna teruggekeer na ons werk. Laatmiddag het ons 'n kort teetyd gehad, en laatmiddag het ons aandete gesit. Teen hierdie tydstip het ons gewoonlik al die opdragte op die vorm 24 voltooi, maar daar was nog baie huishoudelike take wat gedoen moes word: die vullis afval, die voedselvoorraad organiseer, die water wat op koel oppervlaktes gekondenseer het, opruim. Rommel was 'n probleem op Mir. Nadat ons elke paar maande nuwe voorrade uit die onbemande ruimtetuig Progress wat by die ruimtestasie vasgemeer het, afgelaai het, kon ons menslike afval en asblik in die leë voertuie gooi, wat sou beland as hulle weer in die atmosfeer beland. Maar daar was gewoonlik geen ruimte meer oor Progress vir die talle stukke wetenskaplike toerusting wat nie meer gebruik is nie.

Na aandete stuur die sendingbeheer die vorm 24 vir die volgende dag vir ons op die teleprinter. As daar tyd was, het ons tee en 'n klein bederfie-koekies of lekkergoed gedrink voor die laaste verbygang van die dag, wat gewoonlik tussen 10 en 11 in die nag plaasgevind het. Toe sê ons vir mekaar goeie nag en gaan na ons aparte slaapplekke. Ek sweef in Spektr, rol my slaapsak af en maak dit vas aan 'n leuning. Ek het gewoonlik 'n rukkie daaraan gelees en briewe huis toe getik op my rekenaar (ons het 'n ham -radiostelsel gebruik om die boodskappe na die grondbeheerders te stuur, wat dit per e -pos aan my gesin gestuur het). Teen middernag het ek die lig gedoof en in my slaapsak gedryf. Ek het altyd lekker geslaap totdat die alarm die volgende oggend afgegaan het.

Kwartel eiers en dwergkoring

Ons roetine op Mir het selde verander, maar die dae was nie eentonig nie. Ek het elke wetenskaplike se droom geleef. Ek het my eie laboratorium gehad en het die grootste deel van die dag onafhanklik gewerk. Voordat een eksperiment dof raak, was dit tyd om weer te begin, met nuwe toerusting en op 'n nuwe wetenskaplike gebied. Ek het my werk minstens een keer per dag bespreek met Bill Gerstenmaier, die NASA -vlugdirekteur, of Gaylen Johnson, die NASA -vliegchirurg, beide by die Russiese sendingbeheer. Hulle het my aktiwiteite gekoördineer met die hoofondersoekers-die Amerikaanse en Kanadese wetenskaplikes wat die eksperimente voorgestel en ontwerp het. Toe ons met 'n nuwe eksperiment begin, het Gerstenmaier gereël dat die hoofondersoekers na ons radiogesprekke luister, sodat hulle gereed sou wees om enige vrae te beantwoord. En dit was in die middel van die nag in die VSA!

My rol in elke eksperiment was om die prosedures aan boord uit te voer. Daarna is die data en monsters op die ruimtetuig na die aarde teruggestuur en vir ontleding en publikasie aan die hoofondersoekers gestuur. Ek glo my ervaring op Mir toon duidelik die waarde van navorsing oor bemande ruimtestasies. Tydens sommige van die eksperimente kon ek subtiele verskynsels waarneem wat 'n video of 'n stil kamera sou misloop. Omdat ek in elke eksperiment vertroud was met die wetenskap, kon ek soms die resultate ter plaatse ondersoek en die prosedures indien nodig aanpas. Ook, as daar 'n wanfunksie in die wetenskaplike toerusting was, kon ek of een van my bemanningslede dit gewoonlik regstel. Slegs een van die 28 eksperimente wat vir my missie geskeduleer is, het nie resultate opgelewer nie weens 'n afbreek in die toerusting.

Ek het met Mir begin met 'n biologie -eksperiment wat die ontwikkeling van embrio's in bevrugte Japannese kwarteleiers ondersoek. Die eiers is na Mir gebring op dieselfde pendelvlug wat ek geneem het, en dan na 'n broeikas op die ruimtestasie oorgeplaas. In die volgende 16 dae het ek die 30 eiers een vir een uit die broeikas verwyder en dit in 'n paraformaldehiedoplossing van 4 persent geplaas om die ontwikkelende embrio's op te los vir latere analise. Daarna het ek die monsters by kamertemperatuur gestoor.

Hierdie beskrywing laat dit soos 'n eenvoudige eksperiment klink, maar dit vereis kreatiewe ingenieurswese om die prosedure in 'n mikro -swaartekragomgewing uit te voer. NASA en Russiese veiligheidsreëls het drie lae inperking vereis vir die fixerende oplossing as 'n druppel ontsnap, dit in die oog van 'n bemanningslid kan dryf en ernstige brandwonde kan veroorsaak. Ingenieurs by die NASA Ames Research Center het 'n stelsel ontwerp om deursigtige sakke in te sluit om die eiers in die fixeermiddel te plaas en oop te kraak. In addition, the entire experiment was enclosed in a larger bag with gloves attached to its surface, which allowed me to reach inside the bag without opening it.

Investigators at Ames and several universities analyzed the quail embryos at the end of my mission to see if they differed from embryos that had developed in an incubator on the ground. Remarkably, the abnormality rate among the Mir embryos was 13 percent-more than four times higher than the rate for the control embryos. The investigators believe two factors may have increased the abnormality rate: the slightly higher temperature in the Mir incubator and the much higher radiation levels on the space station. Other experiments determined that the average radiation exposure on Mir is the equivalent of getting eight chest x-rays a day. NASA scientists believe, however, that an astronaut would have to spend at least several years in orbit to raise appreciably his or her risk of developing cancer.

I was also involved in a long-running experiment to grow wheat in a greenhouse on the Kristall module. American and Russian scientists wanted to learn how wheat seeds would grow and mature in a microgravity environment. The experiment had an important potential application: growing plants could provide oxygen and food for long-term spaceflight. Scientists focused on the dwarf variety of wheat because of its short growing season. I planted the seeds in a bed of zeolite, an absorbent granular material. A computer program controlled the amount of light and moisture the plants received. Every day we photographed the wheat stalks and monitored their growth.

At selected times, we harvested a few plants and preserved them in a fixative solution for later analysis on the ground. One evening, after the plants had been growing for about 40 days, I noticed seed heads on the tips of the stalks. I shouted excitedly to my crewmates, who floated by to take a look. John Blaha, the American astronaut who succeeded me on Mir, harvested the mature plants a few months later and brought more than 300 seed heads back to the earth. But scientists at Utah State University discovered that all the seed heads were empty. The investigators speculate that low levels of ethylene in the space station's atmosphere may have interfered with the pollination of the wheat. In subsequent research on Mir, astronaut Michael Foale planted a variety of rapeseed that successfully pollinated.

The microgravity environment on the space station also provided an excellent platform for experiments in fluid physics and materials science. Scientists sought to further improve the environment by minimizing vibrations. Mir vibrates slightly as it orbits the earth, and although the shaking is imperceptible to humans, it can have an effect on sensitive experiments. The movements of the crew and airflows on the station can also cause vibrations. To protect experiments from these disturbances, we placed them on the Microgravity Isolation Mount, a device built by the Canadian Space Agency. The top half of the isolation mount floats free, held in place solely by electromagnetic fields.

After running an extensive check of the mount, I used it to isolate a metallurgical experiment. I placed metal samples in a specially designed furnace, which heated them to a molten state. Different liquid metals were allowed to diffuse in small tubes, then slowly cooled. The principal investigators wanted to determine how molten metals would diffuse without the influence of convection. (In a microgravity environment, warmer liquids and gases do not rise, and colder ones do not sink.) After analyzing the results, they learned that the diffusion rate is much slower than on the earth. During the procedure, one of the brackets in the furnace was bent out of alignment, threatening the completion of the experiment. But flight engineer Usachev simply removed the bracket, put it on a workbench and pounded it straight with a hammer. Needless to say, this kind of repair would have been impossible if the experiment had taken place on an unmanned spacecraft.

Many of the experiments provided useful data for the engineers designing the International Space Station. The results from our investigations in fluid physics are helping the space station's planners build better ventilation and life-support systems. And our research on how flames propagate in microgravity may lead to improved procedures for fighting fires on the station.

Throughout my mission I also performed a series of earth observations. Many scientists had asked NASA to photograph parts of the planet under varying seasonal and lighting conditions. Oceanographers, geologists and climatologists would incorporate the photographs into their research. I usually took the pictures from the Kvant 2 observation window with a handheld Hasselblad camera. I discovered that during a long spaceflight, as opposed to a quick space shuttle jaunt, I could see the flow of seasons across the face of the globe. When I arrived on Mir at the end of March, the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere were covered with ice and snow. Within a few weeks, though, I could see huge cracks in the lakes as the ice started to break up. Seemingly overnight, the Northern Hemisphere glowed green with spring.

We also documented some unusual events on the earth's surface. One day as we passed over Mongolia we saw giant plumes of smoke, as though the entire country were on fire. The amount of smoke so amazed us that we told the ground controllers about it. Days later they informed us that news of huge forest fires was just starting to filter out of Mongolia.

For long-duration manned spaceflight, the most important consideration is not the technology of the spacecraft but the composition of the crew. The main reason for the success of our Mir mission was the fact that Commander Onufriyenko, flight engineer Usachev and I were so compatible. It would have been very easy for language, gender or culture to divide us, but this did not happen. My Russian crewmates always made sure that I was included in their conversations. Whenever practical, we worked on projects together. We did not spend time criticizing one another-if a mistake was made, it was understood, corrected and then forgotten. Most important, we laughed together a lot.

The competence of my crewmates was one of the reasons I always felt safe on Mir. When I began my mission, the space station had been in orbit for 10 years, twice as long as it had been designed to operate. Onufriyenko and Usachev had to spend most of their time maintaining the station, replacing parts as they failed and monitoring the systems critical to life support. I soon discovered that my crewmates could fix just about anything. Many spare parts are stored on Mir, and more are brought up as needed on the Progress spacecraft. Unlike the space shuttle, Mir cannot return to the earth for repairs, so the rotating crews of cosmonauts are trained to keep the station functioning.

Furthermore, the crews on Mir have ample time to respond to most malfunctions. A hardware failure on the space shuttle demands immediate attention because the shuttle is the crew's only way to return to the earth. If a piece of vital equipment breaks down, the astronauts have to repair the damage quickly or end the mission early, which has happened on a few occasions. But Mir has a lifeboat: at least one Soyuz spacecraft is always attached to the space station. If a hardware failure occurs on Mir, it does not threaten the crew's safe return home. As long as the space station remains habitable, the crew members can analyze what happened, talk to mission control and then correct the malfunction or work around the problem.

Only two situations would force the Mir crew to take immediate action: a fire inside the space station or a rapid depressurization. Both events occurred on Mir in 1997, after I left the station. In each case, the crew members were able to contain the damage quickly.

My mission on the space station was supposed to end in August 1996, but my ride home-shuttle mission STS-79-was delayed for six weeks while NASA engineers studied abnormal burn patterns on the solid-fuel boosters from a previous shuttle flight. When I heard about the delay, my first thought was, "Oh, no, not another month and a half of treadmill running!" Because of the delay, I was still on Mir when a new Russian crew arrived on the Soyuz spacecraft to relieve Onufriyenko and Usachev. By the time I finally came back on the shuttle Atlantis on September 26, 1996, I had logged 188 days in space-an American record that still stands.

This June, astronaut Andrew Thomas-the last of the seven NASA astronauts who have lived on Mir over the past three years-is scheduled to return to the earth, ending the Shuttle-Mir program. Based on my own experience, I believe there are several lessons that should be applied to the operation of the International Space Station. First, the station crew must be chosen carefully. Even if the space station has the latest in futuristic technology, if the crew members do not enjoy working together, the flight will be a miserable experience. Second, NASA must recognize that a long-duration flight is as different from a shuttle flight as a marathon is from a 100-yard dash. On a typical two-week shuttle flight, NASA ground controllers assign every moment of the crew's time to some task. But the crew on a long-duration flight must be treated more like scientists in a laboratory on the earth. They must have some control over their daily schedules.

Similarly, when a crew trains for a science mission on the space shuttle, the members practice every procedure until it can be done without even having to think about it. Training for a mission on the International Space Station needs to be different. When a crew member starts a new experiment on a long-duration flight, it might be up to six months after he or she trained for the procedure. The astronaut will need to spend some time reviewing the experiment. Therefore, their training should be skill-based. Crew members should learn the skills they will need during their missions rather than practice every specific procedure. Also, crew members on a long-duration flight need to be active partners in the scientific investigations they perform. Experiments should be designed such that the astronaut knows the science involved and can make judgment calls on how to proceed. An intellectually engaged crew member is a happy crew member.

When I reflect on my six months on Mir, I have no shortage of memories. But there is one that captures the legacy of the Shuttle-Mir program. One evening Onufriyenko, Usachev and I were floating around the table after supper. We were drinking tea, eating cookies and talking. The cosmonauts were very curious about my childhood in Texas and Oklahoma. Onufriyenko talked about the Ukrainian village where he grew up, and Usachev reminisced about his own Russian village. After a while we realized we had all grown up with the same fear: an atomic war between our two countries.

I had spent my grade school years living in terror of the Soviet Union. We practiced bomb drills in our classes, all of us crouching under our desks, never questioning why. Similarly, Onufriyenko and Usachev had grown up with the knowledge that U.S. bombers or missiles might zero in on their villages. After talking about our childhoods some more, we marveled at what an unlikely scenario had unfolded. Here we were, from countries that were sworn enemies a few years earlier, living together on a space station in harmony and peace. And, incidentally, having a great time.

About the author: Shannon W. Lucid is an astronaut at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex. She has participated in five spaceflights, including her mission on Mir, logging a total of 223 days in orbit. She is currently the astronaut representative to the Shuttle-Mir program. She is still an active-duty astronaut and hopes to be assigned to another NASA spaceflight.

Source: Reprinted with permission. Copyright May 1998 by Scientific American, Inc. All rights reserved.


Key dates in history of space exploration

Notable events in the history of human space exploration:

_ Oct. 4, 1957: First artificial satellite, Sputnik I, is launched by Soviet Union.

_ April 12, 1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completes the first manned space flight, orbiting the Earth in 108 minutes.

_ May 5, 1961: U.S. launches first American astronaut, Alan Shepard Jr., into space, on a 15-minute, 22-second suborbital flight.

_ May 25, 1961: President Kennedy declares the American space objective to put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade.

_Feb. 20, 1962: John Glenn becomes first American to orbit Earth, completing three orbits.

_ June 16-19, 1963: Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, completes 48 orbits.

_ March 18, 1965: Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov takes man’s first space walk.

_ Jan. 27, 1967: Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee die when a fire sweeps the Apollo I command module during a ground test at Kennedy Space Center.

_ April 24, 1967: Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is killed when his Soyuz I spacecraft crashes on return to Earth.

_ Dec. 21, 1968: First manned spacecraft to orbit moon, Apollo 8, comes within 70 miles of lunar surface.

_ July 20, 1969: Man walks on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin of Apollo XI spend 21 1/2 hours on the moon, 2 1/2 of those outside the capsule.

_ June 29, 1971 - Three cosmonauts, Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev, die during re-entry of their Soyuz 11 spacecraft. A government commission disclosed that the three died 30 minutes before landing because a faulty valve depressurized the spacecraft.

_ Dec. 7-19, 1972: Apollo 17 mission that includes the longest and last stay of man on the moon _ 74 hours, 59 minutes _ by astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

_ May 14, 1973: Skylab I, first U.S. orbiting laboratory, launched.

_ July 17-19, 1975: U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts participate in Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, docking together in space for two days.

_ April 12, 1981: Shuttle Columbia becomes first winged spaceship to orbit Earth and return to airport landing.

_ June 18, 1983: Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space.

_ Feb. 7, 1984: Astronaut Bruce McCandless performs man’s first untethered spacewalk with a Manned Maneuvering Unit off the Challenger space shuttle.

_ Jan. 28, 1986: Challenger shuttle explodes 73 seconds after launch, killing its crew of seven.

_ Nov. 15, 1988 - Soviets launch their first space shuttle. The 3-hour, 20- minute flight of the shuttle Buran is unmanned.

_ Dec. 21, 1988 - Cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov return to Earth from Soviet space station Mir after man’s longest space flight - 365 days, 22 hours, 39 minutes.

_ March 14, 1995: Norman Thagard becomes first American to be launched on a Russian rocket. Two days later, he becomes first American to visit the Russian space station Mir.

_ June 29, 1995: Atlantis docks with Mir in first shuttle-station hookup.

_ Sept. 26, 1996: Shannon Lucid returns to Earth after 188-day Mir mission, a U.S. space endurance record and a world record for women.

_ Oct. 29, 1998: Glenn, now 77, returns to space aboard shuttle Discovery, becoming the oldest person ever to fly in space.

_ May 29, 1999: Discovery becomes first shuttle to dock with the international space station, a multinational, permanent, orbiting research laboratory.

_ Nov. 2, 2000: An American and Russian crew begins living aboard the international space station.

_ Feb. 1, 2003: Shuttle Columbia breaks apart over Texas, 16 minutes before it was supposed to land in Florida.

_ July 21, 2011 _ Final space shuttle mission ends when Atlantis arrives at Kennedy Space Center.


Letter from a "Cosmic Outpost"

Shannon Lucid wrote a letter from Mir on May 19, 1996. In the excerpt below she described the arrival of the resupply vehicle Vordering.

Usually about every six weeks one [a resupply vehicle] is sent to Mir with food, equipment, clothes—everything that, on Earth, you would have to go to the store and buy in order to live….

I saw it [the Progress] eerste. There were big thunderstorms out in the Atlantic, with a brilliant display of lightening [sic] like visual tom toms. The cities were strung out like Christmas tree lights along the coast—and there was the Progress like a bright morning star skimming along the top. Suddenly, its brightness increased dramatically and Yuri said, "The engine just fired." Soon, it was close enough that we could see the deployed solar arrays. To me, it looked like some alien insect headed straight toward us. All of a sudden I really did feel like I was in a "cosmic outpost" anxiously awaiting supplies—and really hoping that my family did remember to send me some books and candy. …

The first things we took out were our personal packages and, yes, I quickly peeked in to see if my family had remembered the books and candy I'd requested. Of course they had. Then we started to unpack. We found the fresh food and stopped right there for lunch. We had fresh tomatoes and onions I never have had such a good lunch. For the next week we had fresh tomatoes three times a day. It was a sad meal when we ate the last ones.

Exercise was essential to counteract the effects of weight-lessness. Lucid spent two hours every day running on a treadmill, attaching herself to the machine with a bungee cord. This prevented significant weight and muscle loss normally encountered by astronauts. When Lucid returned to Earth aboard the Atlantis on September 26, she was in such good physical shape that she was able to walk off the space shuttle without assistance. She had flown 75.2 million miles (121 kilometers) in 188 days, 4 hours, and 14 seconds, setting a new record for a woman—a total of 5,354 hours (223 days) in space. The previous female record, 170 days, had been held by Russian cosmonaut Yelena Vladimirovna Kondakova (1957–).


LUCID ANXIOUS TO SEE FAMILY

Shannon Lucid kept telling her family that after six months in space she'd like to come home to a clean house.

But Lucid's husband kept collecting news clippings and videos of her record-setting journey, piling them up on the dining room table. And compounding that disarray, the Lucid family couldn't get motivated to start cleaning because mom's trip home kept getting delayed.

Now that she really is coming home today at 8:13 a.m., weather permitting, Lucid no longer cares what the house looks like. She just wants to see her family, sit in her favorite easy chair and get back to normal, daughter Kawai Lucid said.

"We're definitely ready for her to come and have things back to a little bit more normal," Kawai Lucid said. "I don't think anybody remembers what normal is."

Returning to normal may take longer than the Lucid family expects. Physically and emotionally, Lucid will take some time to adjust following her 188 days in space.

"I don't think it's going to be really very severe," said NASA flight surgeon Dr. Gaylen Johnson, who has spoken to Lucid nearly every day for the past six months. "But there will be an adjustment."

One factor that will help Lucid and her family adjust to each other is the regular contact they had while Lucid lived on the Russian space station Mir. During that time, they tried to keep up "a sense of normalcy" by exchanging near-daily e-mail messages and through regular video chats, Johnson said.

Lucid missed Kawai's 28th birthday last week and son Michael's 21st birthday last month, but she celebrated on Mir anyway, sharing balloons and brownies with her cosmonaut colleagues.

Physically, Lucid's adjustment will be more complicated. Her body won't quite be her own for the next three years. Because she holds the American space-endurance record, NASA wants to keep track of how Lucid's body adapted while she was in space and after she returns to Earth.

So Lucid will be a human guinea pig - NASA scientist John Charles prefers the term "research subject" - even before she touches ground. As the space shuttle Atlantis glides back to Earth, Lucid will transmit her heartbeat and pulse to doctors on the ground.

She will be taken out of the shuttle on a stretcher to a building to undergo nearly five hours of testing, including a magnetic resonance imaging exam of her spine. Lucid's family can talk to her in between proddings, but researchers don't want her to stand and adapt to gravity until initial tests are completed.

And for three years, NASA will regularly check Lucid's bones to monitor calcium loss, something that happens regularly in space, Charles said.

When Lucid finally is allowed to walk, it may not be easy.

"She'll have trouble balancing," Charles said. "She'll have trouble making sense of the images her eyes give to her."

Adapting to Earth after long space flights is easier if the trip includes regular exercise, said Dr. Patricia Santy, director of aerospace medicine at the University of Texas. Lucid has been exercising two hours a day while on Mir, and that should help, Santy said. But she should continue working out after she returns to Earth.

When Lucid was asked about that at a press conference Monday, her crew mates laughed. Lucid explained why:

"Just about 10 minutes ago, I spent my very, very last time on the treadmill, and I told all the guys that I was never ever running again in my entire life."

And a more sedate, sedentary life is exactly what Lucid wants when she returns to her suburban Houston home.

"I just want to sit in the big chair in my den and read my magazines and my books and not do anything," she said recently.

The Lucid house still "could use a little bit of cleaning," Kawai confided. But that has never been much of a priority in the Lucid family doing things together like bicycling and in-line skating come first. Teasing is also a part of the family's fun.

Kawai, for instance, plans to tease her mom about her hair, like she always does. Shannon Lucid finally has enough hair to wear a ponytail - and by the way she hasn't been able to shampoo it since March.

If Lucid lands today as scheduled, she'll stay at Kennedy Space Center overnight and then return to Houston on Friday. That's perfect timing for a Lucid family tradition: Friday night pizza. Each week the Lucids gather to eat pizzas - a Canadian bacon and pepperoni combo and a plain cheese.

And for dessert, there will probably be the traditional big chocolate chip cookie, which is what the Lucid family buys for special occasions, and maybe a Twinkie because Lucid has been craving them, Kawai said.

As for adjusting to life back home, the 53-year-old biochemist expects no problems. After all, she calmly handled the desolation of space and three delays that added seven weeks to her mission.

"As soon as I say hello to my family and be part of my family again, life will be back to normal, I think," she said earlier this week.


Timeline: landmarks in space exploration

- October 4, 1957: First artificial satellite, Sputnik I, is launched by Soviet Union.

- April 12, 1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completes the first manned space flight, orbiting the Earth in 108 minutes.

- May 5, 1961: US launches first American astronaut, Alan Shepard Jr, into space, on a 15-minute, 22-second suborbital flight.

- May 25, 1961: President Kennedy declares the US space objective to put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade.

- February 20, 1962: John Glenn becomes first American to orbit Earth, completing three orbits.

- June 16-19, 1963: Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, completes 48 orbits.

- March 18, 1965: Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov takes man's first space walk.

- January 27, 1967: Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee die when a fire sweeps the Apollo I command module during a ground test at Kennedy Space Centre.

- April 24, 1967: Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is killed when his Soyuz I spacecraft crashes on return to Earth.

- December 21, 1968: First manned spacecraft to orbit moon, Apollo 8, comes within 112km of lunar surface.

- July 20, 1969: Man walks on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin of Apollo XI spend 21 1/2 hours on the moon, 2 1/2 of those outside the capsule.

- June 29, 1971 - Three cosmonauts, Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev, die during re-entry of their Soyuz 11 spacecraft. A government commission disclosed that the three died 30 minutes before landing because a faulty valve depressurised the spacecraft.

- December 7-19, 1972: Apollo 17 mission that includes the longest and last stay of man on the moon - 74 hours, 59 minutes - by astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

- May 14, 1973: Skylab I, first US orbiting laboratory, launched.

- July 17-19, 1975: US astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts participate in Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, docking together in space for two days.

- April 12, 1981: Shuttle Columbia becomes first winged spaceship to orbit Earth and return to airport landing.

- June 18, 1983: Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space.

- February 7, 1984: Astronaut Bruce McCandless performs man's first untethered spacewalk with a Manned Manoeuvreing Unit off the Challenger space shuttle.

- January 28, 1986: Challenger shuttle explodes 73 seconds after launch, killing its crew of seven.
- November 15, 1988 - Soviets launch their first space shuttle. The 3-hour, 20-minute flight of the shuttle Buran is unmanned.

- December 21, 1988 - Cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov return to Earth from Soviet space station Mir after man's longest space flight - 365 days, 22 hours, 39 minutes.

- March 14, 1995: Norman Thagard becomes first American to be launched on a Russian rocket. Two days later, he becomes first American to visit the Russian space station Mir.

- June 29, 1995: Atlantis docks with Mir in first shuttle-station hook-up.

- September 26, 1996: Shannon Lucid returns to Earth after 188-day Mir mission, a US space endurance record and a world record for women.

- October 29, 1998: Glenn, now 77, returns to space aboard shuttle Discovery, becoming the oldest person ever to fly in space.

- May 29, 1999: Discovery becomes first shuttle to dock with the international space station, a multinational, permanent, orbiting research laboratory.

- November 2, 2000: An American and Russian crew begins living aboard the international space station.

- February 1, 2003: Shuttle Columbia breaks apart over Texas, 16 minutes before it was supposed to land in Florida.

- July 21, 2011 - Final space shuttle mission ends when Atlantis arrives at Kennedy Space Centre.


Space in our time: a brief history of space travel

October 1957: USSR launches Sputnik 1, the first man-made object to orbit the earth. November 1957 A dog called Laika orbits the earth for seven days in Sputnik 2.

January 1958: Explorer 1, the first US satellite, lifts off from Cape Canaveral and discovers the earth's radiation belt.

October 1958: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) is set up in the US. The US probe Pioneer 1 reaches a height of 70,700 miles.

January 1959: The USSR launches Luna 1, the first man-made satellite to orbit the sun.

March 1959: The US Pioneer 4 passes within 37,000 miles of the moon.

September 1959: Luna 2, carrying a copy of the Soviet coat of arms, becomes the first man-made object to hit the moon.

October 1959: Luna 3 photographs some 70% of the far side of the moon.

April 1960: The US launches Tiros 1, the first successful weather satellite, and Discoverer XIV, the first camera-equipped spy satellite.

April 1961: The USSR launches Vostok 1. It carries Yuri Gagarin, who becomes the first man in space when he orbits the earth once.

May 1961: Mercury Freedom 7 carries Alan Shepard into a sub-orbital space, making him the first American in space.

August 1961: Gherman Titov, aboard Vostok 2, undertakes the first day-long space flight.

February 1962: John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth.

July 1962: US satellite Telstar 1 beams the first live transatlantic telecast.

December 1962: US Mariner 2, the first successful planetary spacecraft, flies past Venus.

June 1963: Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space. She orbits the earth 48 times.

July 1964: US Ranger 7 relays the first close-up pictures of the moon.

March 1965: Soviet cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov undertakes the first space walk. It lasts 12 minutes.

June 1965: Edward White II makes the first US space walk - duration 22 minutes.

July 1965: US Mariner 4 returns the first close-range images from Mars.

November 1965: Launch of Soviet Venus 3. Four months later, it becomes the first craft to hit Venus.

December 1965: Frank Borman and James Lovell make 206 orbits around the earth, proving that a trip to the moon is possible. American astronauts make the first space rendezvous with another craft.

February 1966: Soviet Luna 9 is the first spacecraft to soft-land on the moon.

March 1966: Soviet Luna 10 is the first spacecraft to orbit the moon.

June 1966: Surveyor 1 is the first US spacecraft to soft-land on the moon.

August 1966: US Lunar Orbiter 1 enters moon orbit, and takes the first picture of the earth from such a distance.

April 1967: Vladimir Komarov is the first person to die in space.

September 1968: Launch of Soviet Zond 5, the first spacecraft to orbit the moon and return.

October 1968: Apollo 7 is the first manned Apollo mission. It orbits the earth once.

December 1968: Apollo 8, carrying Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders, is the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon.

January 1969: Soyuz 4 and 5 perform the first Soviet spaceship docking, transferring cosmonauts between vehicles.

July 1969: Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin make the first manned soft-landing on the moon, and the first moonwalk, using Apollo 11. Mariner 6 returns to earth high-resolution images of the Martian surface.

April 1970: Apollo 13 is launched, but suffers an explosion. Its moon landing is aborted, and the crew return safely.

September 1970: Soviet Luna 16 is launched, conducting the first successful return of lunar soil samples by an automatic spacecraft.

November 1970: Luna 17 lands on the moon with the first automatic robot, Lunokhod 1, driven from controls on earth.

April 1971: The Salyut 1 space station is launched by the USSR.

June 1971: Soyuz 11 carries the first crew to occupy an orbital station. On June 29, they die on re-entry.

July 1971: David Scott and James Irwin drive the first moon rover.

March 1972: The US fires Pioneer 10 towards Jupiter with the intention of familiarising alien life with humans.

July 1972: The first probable black hole is discovered.

May 1973: Launch of US Skylab Workshop.

June 1974: USSR launches Salyut 3, its first military space station.

December 1974: USSR launches Salyut 4, its first civilian space station.

July 1975: The American Apollo 18 and Soviet Soyuz 19 dock - it is the first international spacecraft rendezvous.

September 1976: Viking 2 lands on Mars and finds ice.

December 1978: Two Pioneer spacecraft reach Venus.

September 1979: Pioneer 11 flies within 13,000 miles of Saturn.

March 1982: The USSR obtains the first Venusian soil analysis.

April 1982: The Soviet Salyut 7 space station is launched.

May 1982: Soviet cosmonauts begin a 211-day occupation of a space station, a new record.

August 1982: Voyager 2 completes its fly-by of Saturn.

November 1982: The space shuttle Columbia deploys two satellites, its first operational mission.

April 1983: The space shuttle Challenger lifts off for its first mission, which marks the first American space walk in nine years.

June 1983: Sally K Ride becomes the first American woman in space.

November 1983: The space shuttle Columbia carries the European Space Agency (ESA) Spacelab-1 into orbit. Its crew includes the German Ulf Merbold, the first ESA member in space.

January-November 1983: The Infrared Astronomical Satellite finds new comets, asteroids, galaxies and possible planets.

February 1984: Bruce McCandless takes the first untethered space walk.

December 1984: Soviet/International Vega 1 and 2 are launched, dropping probes into Venus's atmosphere before continuing to Halley's Comet.

January 1985: The Sakigake probe is launched by Japan's Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science, and makes a rendezvous with Halley's Comet.

April 1985: The space shuttle Challenger carries the ESA Spacelab-3 into orbit.

July 1985: The ESA launches the Giotto spacecraft from an Ariane rocket.

October 1985: Spacelab D1 becomes the first joint German/ESA mission.

January 1986: Voyager 2 flies past Uranus. The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after liftoff.

February 1986: The core unit of the Soviet space station Mir is launched.

May 1989: The space shuttle Atlantis is launched, deploying the spacecraft Magellan, bound for Venus.

October 1989: The US Galileo spacecraft sets off for Venus and Jupiter.

April 1990: The space shuttle Discovery deploys the Edwin P Hubble Space Telescope.

August 1990: Magellan arrives at Venus.

February 1992: The US spacecraft Ulysses flies around Jupiter on its way to the sun.

February 1994: A Russian cosmonaut flies on a US space shuttle for the first time.

February 1995: The US space shuttle Discovery prepares to dock with the Russian space station Mir. It is the first shuttle mission to be flown by a female pilot.

March 1995: Cosmonaut Valery Polyakov returns to earth after a 438-day mission aboard Mir, setting a new space endurance record.

December 1995: Galileo reaches Jupiter.

March 1996: Shannon Lucid becomes the first female astronaut to crew a space station.

November 1996: A Russian spacecraft bound for Mars ignites prematurely and crashes into the ocean off Chile carrying 270g plutonium.

July 1997: Pathfinder lands on Mars, the first landing on the red planet since the Viking missions in 1976.

January 1998: Launch of joint ESA/Nasa Cassini mission to explore Saturnian system. Lunar Prospector arrives on moon in search of information that could one day help scientists plan a lunar base.

March 1998: Lunar Prospector discovers ice on the moon.

July 1998: Japan launches a probe to reach Mars in 2003.

October 1998: John Glenn, now a 77-year-old senator, returns to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

November 1998: Assembly work begins on the International Space Station.

May 1999: A shuttle docks with the International Space Station for the first time.

July 1999: Colonel Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to command a shuttle mission.

July 2000: Russia launches a living quarters module, its contribution to the International Space Station.

October 2000: A 10-day mission to the International Space Station marks the 100th shuttle flight.

November 2000: The first permanent crew sets up home aboard the International Space Station.