Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shuttle Discovery's Astronauts Say Mission Is Going A-OK

Discovery's astronauts say their mission to stock the International Space Station is going swimmingly and that the view of planet Earth from above is, well, out of this world.

In three wide-ranging space-to-ground interviews this morning, Discovery mission specialists Clay Anderson, Rick Mastracchio and Stephanie Wilson fielded questions from a National Public Radio Station in Nebraska, a television station in Omaha and CBS Radio News.

The big interest in the mission from Nebraska is due to the presence of Anderson, who was born in Omaha but considers Ashland, Neb., his hometown. During a five-month tour aboard the station in 2007, Anderson uttered the names of more than 500 Nebraska cities, towns and hamlets -- a few each day -- over space-to-ground communications loops.

The three astronauts fielded questions about the prospect for remain at the station an extra day, the choreography involved in spacewalking work that includes robotic arm operations and whether it's just plain scary to launch into orbit and fly in space.

"Well at NASA we train quite a bit in simulators and mock-ups that look exactly like the real space shuttle and the real space station," Mastracchio said. "So when you get in the real vehicle on launch day you feel very much at home. You don't feel nervous or scared at all. You are ready to perform your duties. So if you train and prepare well enough, then no, you're not scared."

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