38 The Costco Connection NOVEMBER 2017
FOUND IN SPACE
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37
time once you get in orbit—a lot of work to do in
the course of the next four or five hours prior to
going to sleep. It’s a really long day.
CC: Space;ight is inherently risky. How do
you keep those thoughts out of your mind
when you’re in space?
SK: Well, I think that’s part of the appealing
nature of it. Because it is risky, it draws a certain
type of people. Now, I’m not a risk-taker in that
I don’t take risks for fun, but, for some reason,
taking professional risks for me is something I’ve
always enjoyed. But I’m not a skydiver or bungee
jumper; I don’t do stuff like that. I’ve always done
risky things, certainly as a kid, but mostly in the
military and at NASA, because it was part of my
job, but that’s one of the reasons I liked the job. It’s
not like I’m looking to get killed or anything, but I
think when you cheat death, it makes you appreciate life more.
CC: The concept of a year in space is mind-boggling. What did it do to you as a person,
being up there in relative isolation for that
length of time?
SK: I think it gives you more empathy for Earth
and its inhabitants, and the planet itself, when
you are detached from it for a long time. It definitely makes you appreciate everything Earth
has to offer, which is everything. As humans,
this is where we live and where we evolved, and
everything is basically here. So not having most
CC: What were you feeling at di;erent steps
along the way?
SK: A lot of vibration, some noise, in the first
two minutes. You’re riding on the solid rocket
motor. It feels like you are part of this controlled
explosion, basically. Kind of like if you were an
insect on a bottle rocket or something. It feels
like your fate is in somebody else’s hands for
that first two minutes and ;; seconds.
The G-forces get up, if I remember correctly, on ascent on the shuttle to about ; Gs in
the first stage. Then the solids come off and the
G-forces go down, and now for the next six and
a half minutes you’re being powered by the
three main engines. And as the fuel is burned,
the acceleration increases. So at about seven
and a half minutes, you’re at ; Gs; so it’s the
force of three times gravity pushing on your
chest, which I think the combination of that
force, and how you’re strapped into the seat,
and where the oxygen bottles are located in
your backpack, it’s almost like they’re kind of
pulling on your chest, which makes it hard to
breathe, until the last ;; seconds.
As you approach ;;,;;; miles an hour, eventually the engines cut off and you’re in zero [grav-ity] flying around the planet Earth. It doesn’t
really feel like you’re floating initially, because
you’re strapped into the seat so tight, but certainly when you unstrap, or if you see something
floating in the cockpit, you realize you’re in
space, floating around the Earth. A very busy
On November 6, 2015, NASA astronauts
Scott Kelly (left) and Kjell Lindgren spent
seven hours and 48 minutes working
outside the International Space Station
on the 190th spacewalk in support of
station assembly and maintenance.
Scott Kelly’s Endurance: A Year
in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery
(Item #1182206) is available at
all Costco warehouses now. An
illustrated children’s version,
My Journey to the Stars
(#1185046), is also available.