Anyone who is paying attention – but who would be – would notice that this is my fourth post in about 24 hours. Normally, I post once or twice a week. The departure is due to my attempt to “sleep shift”. Last night I was up until after midnight, tonight I’ll be up until 3-4 AM and tomorrow night I’ll report to the Mission Control Center at 11 PM for my first of seven 9-hour shifts flying the ISS!
I’m excited to be back on console. I had 5 days in the flight control room in March and some in February as well, but this week will be the first time in a few months that I’ll spend a solid week as part of the integrated ISS team in MCC. Not that I love working the graveyard shift. The sleep isn’t as good not to mention a reduced social life. But for a whole week my job will be to fly a space station. The honor of that responsibility makes it worth it.
During my week of shifts there will be a few “complex activities” leading to a flurry of dockings and undockings at the end of April. Progress 46 undocking, Progress 47 docking, Soyuz 28 undocking, and SpaceX Dragon rendezvous will all happen between April 19 and May 2. There will be a lot of plans to review!
It’s far too easy on the night shifts, even with lots of planning to do, to get bored and lose sight of where you are. My goal this week will be to spend more time watching the video screens of live cameras on the ISS and appreciating my unique vantage point. If I had Don Pettit’s view of things during space station reboosts, that would be easier!