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5 Washington astronauts try to put words into space: "Greatness beyond what I can describe"

7,700,000,000 people live on Earth. Only 562 flew into space, and five of them live in this condition.

Well, yes, it's a very, very selected group. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 157 & lang = DE They've collected more than 2,440 weightless hours, and those flying Shuttles race at 17,500 miles per hour through 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets each day. Their eyes see the earth in colors that are not comparable to any photo Apollo 11 moon landing approaching Saturday, they can try to explain how it was out there, but they admit that it is not quite enough.

"I felt very connected to God and the greatness beyond what I can describe," says Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger from Lake Forest Park, who delivered a 1

5-day shuttle trip to the supply in April 2010 as a flight engineer the International Space Station undertook. She traveled 6.2 million miles in 238 orbits.

"My brain wanted to rationalize everything, but some things just have to be absorbed and experienced."

She tried to explain to her family – "the beauty of the heavens and the earth; The vastness that can not be shown because photos have edges. "She says," I am sure my words have come too short. "

Metcalf-Lindenburger, Bill Anders, John Creighton, Gregory C. Johnson and Wendy Lawrence are not philosophy majors one should consider why we are here.

These were people with geological, aeronautical, nuclear or oceanic knowledge or as test pilot. For some, however, what they felt in space was spiritual.

  Astronauts Gregory C. Johnson, John Creighton and Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburg are familiar with the NASA Space Shuttle Trainer at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. All three used this trainer for their shuttle missions. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Astronauts Gregory C. Johnson, John Creighton and Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburg know the NASA Space Shuttle Trainer at the Seattle Museum of Flight. All three used this trainer for their shuttle missions. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Johnson from Kent, who piloted a Hubble Space Telescope maintenance mission in May 2009, said, "You can not look into the cosmos and you can not believe it has a higher force gives all this to create. "And he says there is something else. "There must be someone else out there."

Anders, 85, who splits the residences between Anacortes and San Diego, was in December 1968 the pilot of the lunar module for Apollo 8 – the first crewed spacecraft to orbit the moon successfully. [19659002] It led to Apollo 11 and started the journey with the mighty Saturn V rocket, which caused errors and instrument failures. Apollo 8 was originally intended to fly in low earth orbit, but the schedule for the program was favored over flawed CIA information that the Soviet Union prepared for its own lunar landing mission. There were no glitches on this trip.

The one who made the historic "Earthrise" photo is different – the earth that protrudes beyond the lunar surface. Time Magazine listed it as one of the 100 most influential photos of all time.

"In the history of humanity, almost all people considered us the center of the solar system. We are hardly the center of anything except in our own heads, "says Anders.

It had not occurred to the planners that Apollo 8 was an unprecedented opportunity to look back to Earth. The crew took many photos of the lunar surface.

But, says Anders, "the moon was battered and ugly, uninteresting. And here was the earth.

An audio recording of the mission makes Anders cry out as he looks at the blue and white of our planet: "Oh, my God! Look at the picture over there! Here comes the earth. Wow, that's pretty! "

Using a Hasselblad camera with a 250mm lens, Anders shot two color images and varied the exposure, including the historical one. The camera has been modified to include special large closures for the film magazines and lenses of the lens aperture and distance controls, so that astronauts can more easily operate them with press-on suits and gloves.

"I'm not a big environmentalist, but I think this image basically got the environmental movement going," says Anders.

For him, the picture means, "We should treat the earth with care, not as humans throwing bombs and missiles at each other. [19659002] On Christmas Eve 1968 Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell sent a message of peace back to Earth. They read alternately from the book of Genesis. In Anders' part: "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

He says Borman had the idea.

"At that time I was more religious, I found it a good choice, the story of creation runs through many beliefs, almost all beliefs," says Anders.

Dreams Come True

For these astronauts, a common thread is a fascination for the Space that began in childhood.

Metcalf-Lindenburger is 44 years old and now works as an environmental geologist in soil and groundwater issues.

She still wears the ring she bought as a 14-year-old with a crescent moon and star She was around 8 years old when the movie "The Right Stuff" came out in 1983. She saw it with her parents in Loveland, Colorado, and in the same year Sally Ride became the first American It was the majesty of outer space, and then there are the less than majestic aspects of a space mission.

Metcalf-Lindenburger, like 60% to 70% of the astronauts, has w passed over what is known as "space movement disease".

Without the sensation of ups and downs, the vestibular system of chambers and channels in our ears that gives us balance gets "no signal," she says. "I was the first few hours in space and sick after my return."

  Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger from Lake Forest Park flew in April 2010 with the Space Shuttle Discovery. (NASA)

Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger of Lake Forest Park flew in April 2010 with the Space Shuttle Discovery. (NASA)

Somewhat otherwise, some astronauts notice that space smells a bit metallic. Well, not really outer space.

"When we bring spacemen back to the airlock and open the hatch, it smells metallic. This is probably an interaction between our suits and tools that go outside and interact with solar radiation.

Johnson, 64, a West Seattle graduate from 1972, had never flown on an airplane until he was seventeen. Father was frugal. We drove with the car. "

But he saw planes as the family picked up someone who arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and wondered how such large items could fly. So began his interest in space.

Johnson is now Senior Vice President of the New Shepard Suborbital Missile Project for Jeff Bezos & # 39; Blue Origin.

John Creighton, 76, of Burien, was a pilot on a shuttle mission in 1985 and commander of the 1990 and 1991 shuttle missions.

The 1961 Ballard High Degree recalls three things that have sparked his interest in space ,

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the world's first satellite. It was about the size of a beach ball.

He remembers climbing the roof of his family's house in Ballard about an hour before dark to try and see Sputnik in the sunlight.

And then there was the annual visit of the blue angel aviation squadron for the water races and the headlines about Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet cosmonaut, who was the first man to fly into space in April 1961. He has covered an orbit.

Sometimes Creighton talks to students. "If you want to become an astronaut, do not let anyone stop you, I'm a living proof that dreams come true."

"Quite a ride"

What all astronauts remember is the sheer power of taking off

The energy released by the three main shuttle engines at full power is equal According to NASA of 13 dams created in Hoover.

Creighton says in a launch, "Until you first experience it, You do not appreciate the enormous raw power that holds you down with all the vibration on the seat. "

That would take 2 minutes, 11 seconds, says Creighton, then the solid rocket booster would shut down, and shortly thereafter the bolts would turn that hold down the boosters, blown off and the rockets would ignite which will accelerate the shuttle to reach orbit.

"You hear this boom, boom, boom. It only takes half a second to one s ekunde, but it seems to take longer. It surprises you, "he says.

In short, the windscreen is on fire.

"I describe it as if World War II took place right outside the windows. "

Astronauts can have a dry sense of humor. "It's quite a ride," he said, adding, "built by the lowest bidder." She works part-time at the Space Camp in Alabama and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida and is a member of the advisory board of Bothell Campus at the University of Washington.

She was 10 years old. Her family lives north of San Diego and she remembers well how Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon.

"My brother and sister and I were lying on the floor watching TV. I was absolutely fascinated. It absolutely excited my imagination. I remember thinking, "I want to be an astronaut when I grow up." My mom said I actually turned around, looked at the rest of the family and said that. "

And then there's the first time you're weightless – not for a few seconds in a simulation, but for the Reality in Space.

"They repel and somersault through the crew compartment," says Lawrence.

Lawrence also talks about this sense of wonder that only astronauts can feel the first time they touch Earth from above

"On my first start, the mission commander grabbed me and put my face to the window." Look! "remembers Lawrence, the photos she had seen were not comparable to reality.

"Our eyes see a much more dynamic color range, and there's the vibrant 3D effect," she says. "You can see the clouds over the ocean and then a thunderstorm much higher."

  The Apollo 8 crew leaves the suit room to a van to catch, which brings them in December 1968 to the launch pad. Apollo 8 was the mission where humans first circled the moon. (NASA)

The Apollo 8 crew leaves the suit room to catch a van that will take them to the launch pad in December 1968. Apollo 8 was the mission where people first circled the moon. (NASA)

One more question

All five astronauts were asked the following question: If the leaders of the world could experience space, would that change them?

Lawrence: "Yes, no doubt. You see no obvious limits. You see a place. They see the earth in an intensely black room. It looks very small and very fragile. This is our home.

Creighton: "I hope you have more understanding of what we are doing to Earth. I could see the rainforests of the Amazon with my naked eye, and you saw more and more how the land was destroyed and the roads got bigger and bigger.

Anders: "I hope so. I am so disappointed today with the behavior of the so-called world leaders that I am not sure what they would do. "

Johnson:" I do. It would all focus on working more than one team of people to care for the Earth. "

Metcalf-Lindenburger:" Maybe. If they thought like teammates and considered Earth their precious spaceship. But I'm not sure if that matters. They are who they are. I see no change in the world leaders through space. "

Those are three pretty hopeful answers from five, given the time we live in, not bad.

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