CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – An American astronaut said Friday that he has no qualms about driving a Russian missile next month, despite counter-current disputes.
Army Colonel Anne McClain said that space flight is never 100% safe and it is a coincidence that the last two Soyuz missions at the International Space Station have encountered problems.
Last month, the astronauts had to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan after a failed launch. A month earlier, an air leak in the space station was traced in a mysteriously perforated hole in an anchored Soyuz capsule. The Russian investigators are still working to understand how a rocket sensor is finished bent during production and how the hole ended in the Soyuz.
McClain is ready to blow up his first space flight on December 3, with a Russian and a Canadian. They will spend six months on board the orbiting laboratory.
The 39-year-old helicopter pilot, who has a young son, said his family was used to his risky job – he did military combat missions.
His teammates, both men, also have children, he noted from the training quarters in Star City, Russia.
"The hardest part of this business is staying away from children," he said in an interview. "But what I hope to teach him – and what I hope to teach all the guys who are somehow looking at this – is that to get something, it takes a lot of sacrifice."
Her dream of becoming an astronaut dates back to her nursery school days in Spokane, Washington. NASA has chosen it in 2013.
McClain said he considers the October 11 incident a "success story", since the breakdown system saved the lives of his friends. She had returned home to Houston, watching the flight and listening to the astronauts' radio communications.
"The crew was lucky, but every crew that takes them into orbit is lucky, space flight is not easy," he said.
The American on the aborted flight, Nick Hague, gave her "the inner scoop" when he returned to Houston.
All 'Aja and Russian Alexei Ovchinin has been promised another shot in space, perhaps next year. But McClain said he does not know if they will arrive before his mission ends in June.
From the accident, three Soyuz missiles were successfully launched with the satellites. Another Soyuz flight is scheduled before the launch of McClain, the one transporting supplies to the space station.
His own rocket was inspected for any deformities. She is so sure of the rocket and her ten-year success story that she said she would board the Soyuz to fly the day after the accident.
The launch disruption was the first in 35 years for Russia's human space flight program and only the third ever.
Russian officials rose a few weeks on McClain's flight, so she, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and Russian Oleg Kononenko can spend enough time with the current three residents, an American, a German and a Russian, to return to Earth December 20th.
The two Russians plan a spacewalk during their shared time to monitor the Soyuz drilled from the outside. An impromptu patch is keeping the hermetic spacecraft.
Fertility rates all over the world are falling