Do you remember where you were at 11:32pm, Greenwich Mean Time, on Saturday July 31, 2010? Shannon, Tracy and I were in the Space Station, along with our Russian Cosmonaut teammates; Sasha, Misha, and Fyodor…orbiting the Earth at 5 miles / 8 kilometers per second, when the alarms sounded and the Space Station began to shutdown. There is something in the human spirit, deep down at the soul-level that is transformed when you encounter such an ‘event’. An ammonia pump on the outside of the Space Station failed. It was one of those moments in which NASA shines, against all odds, in the face of the unknown, when hope seems lost. We were called on to conduct three complex and very challenging spacewalks totaling more than 22 hours in the vacuum of space. I was covered in ammonia as I wrestled with the M3 ammonia connector. Tracy and I were outside and Shannon flew me around on the end of the robotic arm. Well…victory is sweet indeed…recently in a clean room in Houston, Shannon, Tracy, and I were reunited with the failed pump module that came back to Earth in the payload bay of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on #STS135. My nemesis, the M3 ammonia connector is uncovered in this photo. Many thanks to our NASA engineers that turned these frightening and critical moments into one of NASA’s finest hours.
“When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step into the darkness of the unknown. Faith is knowing that one of two things will happen. There will be solid ground to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”