Author Topic: Anousheh Ansari Space Blog  (Read 3344 times)

Offline jacqmans

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Anousheh Ansari Space Blog
« on: 09/13/2006 03:35 am »
September 12, 2006

Birthday Bouquets

So far I’ve had a very special day. First when the doctor came to my room this morning to get my rest heart rate and BP, he brought me flowers. Then when I opened the door of our room to the hallway, there was a big poster of me with happy birthday wishes on the wall.  

When I went down for breakfast there was a big arrangement of red roses, and a specially baked apple pie and some beautifully decorated food on the table. Soon after, General Korzoun walked in with the head of the training program and presented me with a big basket of white roses. I will send you some pictures.

They told me my birthday present is coming this afternoon. I was told that the tradition in Russia is that the person having a birthday throws a party. So I have invited everyone for beer after dinner.

This is a very special and memorable birthday as you can imagine. I’m only missing Hamid to make it perfect.  

Quarantine is not too bad. It is just a little like groundhog day since everything is repetitive. We have designated times for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and quite a few choices of food. We are not allowed in the kitchen and cannot cook. We cannot leave the premises and can walk around only under supervision. I think I know how Martha Stewart felt in her minimum security prison  

On the other hand, everyone is super nice and they are doing everything they can to help us and make our stay comfortable. I have made friends that I will remember forever. So all in all no complaints…

Just a few more days and I will be in orbit … Inshaallah

Offline jacqmans

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RE: Anousheh Ansari Space Blog
« Reply #1 on: 09/13/2006 06:29 pm »
Training as Backup, 13-09-2006


Not bad for a first time blogger  I’m happy to see so many people are interested in my experience. Some of you asked me for a picture of the backup crew so I decided to give you more. I decided to share what it was like to train as backup with Peggy Whitson and Yuri Malenchenko.

In the first few months of training, almost all my classes were with Dice-K and the interpreters. We took the same classes and the same tests. We performed the simulations with the instructors and only caught a glimpse of the main and backup crew as we were passing in the hallways or at social events.

The last 40 days were different. Dice-K and I started to see some scheduled crew training. Dice-k would train with Michael Lopez-Alegria and Mikhail Tyurin, and I would train with Peggy Whitson and Yuri Malenchenko. I had met Peggy at a few NASA crew events in Star City and we had talked. She is a woman of strong character, super smart, and serious about space. She offered to talk with me and answer my questions any time I wanted to talk. I was very excited to get to know her and at the same time I knew she had a very tight training schedule and I did not want to be a burden. So we talked a few short times but did not connect that much.

When we started to train as a crew, everything changed. We got to know each other better. I could tell that Peggy was observing me to see if I was there just for the ride or if I’m genuinely interested in space. I think she saw my genuine passion for space because she really made me feel welcome. In ISS simulations, she was the Commander and gave me some small tasks that made me feel part of the crew. She explained everything in detail and translated for me when necessary. She gave me small pointers that made me perform well on my tasks and look professional. She was wonderful and I learned so much from her. In a way, she became my mentor. I imagine that, had my life taken a different turn and I had ended up in the Astronaut corps, I could have been like Peggy. She is a serious scientist and deeply cares for the success of the space program.

Throughout the rest of my training program I spent many quality hours with Peggy observing her and learning from her. She shared stories about her space flight and little things that you don’t think of but make a big difference when you are in space. She told me about the best observing stations onboard ISS, about how to move around, how to wash my hair and clean myself, how to use the toilet (everyone’s favorite subject) and how to interact with the rest of the crew members.

Getting to know Yuri took longer. Yuri is a quiet and private person. He is a man of few words. He works meticulously and slowly. He does not hurry and studies and evaluates everything around him before he takes action. Watching him in the simulator, during a series of manual docking and undocking procedures, it was obvious that he knew how to drive this vehicle with his eyes closed. He was calm and composed while entering a series of very precise maneuvers to align the Soyuz manually with the docking hatch on the ISS.

He speaks very good English, which made it easier for me to start talking with him. As we spent more time training together, I got to know him better. He has a unique sense of humor that is hard see from his always serious exterior. He is a wealth of knowledge and when he talks about different things you know he is speaking from experience and not textbooks. He is very easygoing and has a very calm voice. One time he started talking to me about all the different stages of Ascent and Descent and explained to me, in detail, what to expect as far as feelings, sounds, vibrations, lights flashing, etc. He gave me a sort of pictorial view of these important stages of my space flight and helped me visualize things that I had not studied in any of my classes. The information he gave has helped me prepare mentally not to panic on the day of the flight. At the end of our talk he said, with a SMILE, “Anousheh, don’t worry, everything will be very good and you will enjoy your flight.”

As I was training with Peggy and Yuri, I realized that I really wanted to fly to ISS with them. It would have made it a very special flight, with two women flying in Soyuz together and with Peggy being the first woman ISS Commander. Unfortunately the third seat on their scheduled flight was taken so I quickly started to lobby for switching place with the Malaysian candidate who was supposed to fly with them. They were both supportive of the idea and I was excitedly pushing on different people to negotiate with the Russian Space program to move me to their flight. And then… suddenly… I got the news that I was moved up to primary crew… and the rest of the story you know.

Offline Suzy

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RE: Anousheh Ansari Space Blog
« Reply #2 on: 09/14/2006 02:25 am »

Interesting tidbit:


Swinburne space ace
  September 14, 2006 12:00am
  Article from: Herald-Sun
  THE world's first woman space tourist has been learning her craft at a Victorian university.
  Iranian-born Anousheh Ansari, who has spent the past 18 months studying for Swinburne University's online Masters of Astronomy, will join the Russian space crew on September 14.
  "She will be the first woman to go into space as an amateur astronaut," said a Swinburne spokeswoman.

Course description

Online MKremer

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Re: Anousheh Ansari Space Blog
« Reply #3 on: 09/14/2006 03:29 am »
It sort of galls me that the press keeps emphasizing the monikor of "amateur astronaut". That implies that, no matter your occupation, or employer, or past studies/work for space-related activities, if you aren't employed by someone with the specific title of "astronaut" you're automatically considered an "amateur".

(ok, yes, I know it applies to people involved in astronomy, too, who aren't specifically employed as such - amateur astronomer - but even that is unfair and disingenuous to the many folks who sweat blood to contribute extremely worthwhile knowledge to that discipline)

/rant off

Offline jacqmans

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RE: Anousheh Ansari Space Blog
« Reply #4 on: 09/16/2006 05:18 pm »
This is interesting (I think) about the favorrite things of Ansari...

Space Explorer — Anousheh @ 8:15 pm

Growing up, one of my favorite movies was The Sound of Music. I still remember a few of the lyrics in both Farsi and English. The song I like most is “My Favorite Things.”

So here are a few of my favorite things…

Favorite books:
How to Change the World by David Bornstein (I’m trying to have this book translated to Farsi)
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The Little Prince ~ Le Petit Prince ~ Shazdeh Khouchoulu (My favorite childhood book)

Favorite Movies:
Of course Star Trek
Last of the Mohicans
Pay it Forward

Favorite Artists:
Googoosh J
Sting (especially Fragile)
Dianne Krall
Oysten Sevag (specially Norwegian Mountains)
Rod Stewart
Michael Buble
Ziba Shirazi
Andrea Bocelli
Shahin & Sepehr
Deep Dish

Favorite Songs:
Faith of the Heart by Rod Stewart
Imagine by John Lennon
Fragile by Sting
Upside Down by Jack Johnson
Mass Destruction by Faithless
Rise Again by DJ Sammy
Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra
Zan by Ziba Shirazi
Title song for Last of the Mohicans soundtrack
Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
I Don’t Want to be a Stupid Girl by Pink (Great, fun video too)
Stop Your Fussin’ by Toni Childs
The Entire CD from Notre Dame de Paris musical