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Home / Science / In space, astronaut Anne McClain uses rugby, the US Army's experience of super-productivity

In space, astronaut Anne McClain uses rugby, the US Army's experience of super-productivity

While each astronaut is terribly busy, NASA astronaut Anne McClain's productivity is in a crowded field. I learned this half a year ago in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, when I sent a thank-you message to McClain and the rest of the backup crew, which was held there before the launch of Expedition 56 on June 6.

McClain not only noticed the tweet, but also took a moment to answer the day after the start. I think she had found a quiet moment the day after she helped her colleagues prepare for space and fight countless media stops in crowded places. While most of the media corps on our plane to Moscow collapsed exhausted, McClain was still working hard on public relations. "Thanks for telling the story, it's an incredible story," she told me .

I saw this productivity again as she chatted in Baikonur just before her own launch in Baikonur on December. 3. McClain, who was sitting in the suit room and protected by a glass shield by around 1

50 spectators and family members, quietly told the stages of the launch, so that their family members would know what to expect: do not worry, just a few emotions, just to be practical.


 NASA astronaut Anne McClain signed a wall on November 29 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum in Kazakhstan, a traditional task for preparing astronauts.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain signed a wall at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum in Kazakhstan on November 29, a traditional task for astronauts before take-off.

Picture credits: Victor Zelentosov / NASA

As the family members told me in Baikonur, this is just Anne: a rugby player, a helicopter pilot, and a grown-up boy He still remembers the time when her frustrated brother had her only copy of "Top Gun" destroyed because he thought she was watching the fighter pilot too often.

In a NASA video, she reported decades later on the lesson she had learned from the incident: "Maybe it's his fault I have to live that dream as a military pilot."

McClain's focus now lies on the International Space Station ISS. On Thursday (December 20), the crew of Expedition 56-7 left the orbiting complex, and the three-man crew of McClain's Expedition 58 was the only one on the station for two months.

It's been a long time for three people (McClain, Canada) David Saint-Jacques and Russia's Oleg Kononenko) for maintenance, such as fixing toilets, changing air filters, cooking … plus science. Normally a complete space station consists of six people. However, this crew was interrupted when the crew of Expedition 57, starting on October 11th, quickly returned to Earth due to a deformed missile sensor. While the Russian space agency has dealt with the problem within a few weeks, the impact on crew rotation due to the shrinking launches will continue for some time.

"I think the most important thing we can do is [make sure] when we pick up the baton, we're ready to sprint," McClain said on December 2 at a press conference in Baikonur that I attended. "We will be asking for efficiency [the Expedition 56-7 crew]our ground team is also aware of that, and we fully understand that our ability to do the work efficiently is directly correlated to science, because it changes with the maintenance of the space station not, but the hours that we can put into our science [do]. "

This could mean very long days for the space station crew if they are not careful. Of course, NASA will do its best to help the crew achieve a healthy work-life balance. But McClain – a former member of the US rugby team – has repeatedly said in interviews that she has a clear way to face fatigue. She played the sport until shortly before her election as an astronaut in 2014.

"Rugby has helped me surprisingly much as an astronaut, and when I train in spacesuits … and we work in our large pool, the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, we're underwater for 6 hours underwater, "she said in a NASA video released on November 30th.

"You're really working on physical and mental fatigue," she added. "The only other time I've reached this point of exhaustion is the 60th minute of a rugby match, when your body gets physically tired, you can not give up mentally, you actually have to deliberately consider more clarity because you're more prone to mistakes . "

McClain will also draw on her experience as an army helicopter pilot to ensure that she is performing the right procedures at the right time. She said in another NASA video about her military experience: "If something externally looks risky, what people do from the inside, they are not professional risk carriers, but they are probably professional risk takers." [19659010] Living In Orbit

While McClain is a devoted professional, she takes time for her family and for events that have a personal meaning for her. Pictures earlier this year (published in Business Insider) showed how McClain proudly posed for official NASA photos with her 4-year-old son.

The images originally posted on Twitter became viral, and McClain used her usual joke and took the time to answer some people who commented on the footage. She told a public transport driver that her son would "trade without a second thought" to a train driver. "She also honestly talked about how torn she felt when she left her son for a few months, adding that all parents would understand the feeling.

Funnily enough, McClain was even younger than her son when she was born "I wanted to be an astronaut since I was three years old," she said in the NASA video. "That's when I first told my mother I wanted to become an astronaut. When I went to preschool, I told her I would go to school to become an astronaut, and when I was in kindergarten, I wrote my first. badly written book about space – with the Soyuz vehicle. "

It was a precocious decision, since the US space program used the space shuttle and not the Soyuz in McClain's childhood, but in 40 years things have certainly changed." McClain may have thought of those memories as she took out her dinosaur toy She also tweeted some pictures about Elf on a Shelf on the space station, just in time for the holidays and the usual onslaught of toy buys here on Earth.

While McClain has claimed personal sacrifices when he has more than six Spending months away from home, his general response to space time remains ebullient, and her latest tweets include a self-contained image that focuses on a small experiment at the top of the photo-the self-described nerd-who said has, she loves to be one, because nerds go into space – seems right in her element in attitude be.

". @ ISS_Research is really phenomenal; Every day we play a role in learning about our universe, our earth and the creatures that live from it. To do science on the ceiling? Well, that's just cool! McClain said in her tweet.

Here's more Nerdy Ceiling Research.

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