Image by Astro Reid Wiseman - Day 1
May 28, 2014 at 12:56 PM Pacific Time - the countdown clock on the big screen in my office read 00:00:01:01. A mere 61 seconds left until soon-to-be-real-Astronauts Reid Wiseman, Alexander Gerst and already-space-flown Cosmonaut Maxim Suraev would start their biggest and probably most fun journey of their lives...
And then their Soyuz rocket lights up, 20 engines are roaring and pushing and 27 million horsepower catapult the crew of Expedition 40/41 upwards. In just a little over 8 minutes they reach space, zero gravity, their home-environment for the next 5 1/2 months. And only 6 hours later they are approaching their actual "house" in this harsh zero-g environment; the International Space Station.
Many of you know my passion for space exploration and my interest in educating and inspiring others about the need for pushing our boundaries further out. And working on a space mission myself, I get to learn and be inspired by others in this field weekly.
And over the past two years Astronaut Reid Wiseman had been a big motivator, helping me with one of my projects, communicating with me, educating me and virtually taking me along his training for this mission. I had come to really admire and appreciate him and when he asked for a favor, I would make sure to show my appreciation for all of his help.
While Reid, Alex and Maxim were unlocking the hatch of their Soyuz to make their way into the Space Station, I was watching my friend George Krieger fly his DJI Phantom over Monterey. Live. And I was 50 miles away in San Jose. How? He broadcasted the live footage from the Phantom via Google Plus. Isn't technology awesome?!
On my laptop (see below) I had a window with George's Phantom 2 view on the left and NASA TV with the hatch opening on the right; both streaming live!
Needless to say launch day was pretty exciting, emotional and fun. And the hatch opening, seeing Reid floating in Space and seeing George fly over Monterey was just the perfect ending for that day.