A front-row seat to a spacewalk. I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I am so glad that although my hands were nearly frozen…my mind was still sort of semi-functioning. :-) I had thought what a hard-fought battle this was to find a solution and fix this torn solar array. Our brilliant engineers on the Earth had come up with an ‘Apollo 13 – esque’ solution and they instructed us to fashion five cufflinks from scrap materials onboard the Space Station. We turned the Node 2 ‘Harmony’ module into a metal shop…to manufacture the cufflinks to be used to sew the torn array together. It was a crazy crazy idea…but we thought that it just might work.
On that day…the day of reckoning…November 3, 2007…after 7 hours of spacewalking, pushing our suits, the Space Station, our robotics, and our Mission Control Team to the limits…the last cufflink was installed, and we declared victory.
I reached down, grabbed my camera, asked Scott to lean back and wave…and I snapped this photo. The number one thing on my mind at this point was to get back to the safety of the airlock, so I could get warm again. I was concerned about translating back such a long distance with my hands so cold. I forgot about this photo…until weeks after we returned to Earth and this photo showed up on the cover of Aviation Week and Space Technology. A magazine cover featuring my buddy ‘Spike’, @SPOTScott. You can see the five cufflinks. Not ‘pretty’…but it worked. Behold, one of NASA finest moments…right before your eyes.
What wonderful memories…one day…maybe when I’m holding my grandkids’ hands…standing in the shadow of Discovery at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum…I can pull out this photo and tell some tall tales of…
Hard Fought Victories
There is no feat worthy of glory that is not hard.
Lady luck gives the best kiss to those battle scarred.
To thoughts of loss and failure we must not fall prey.
Now it is stormy, but the clouds will not stay gray.
Salvation is closest in the darkest hours of need.
Before your body can make scar tissue it must bleed.
There are things all of us for far too long have wept.
Emotion like sand to either side can be swept.
Dig deep and find out what it is you want the most.
And what are the things you have done that few can boast.
If things get worse that means that they are still turning.
In such events look for what you should be learning.
When something bad happens you must ask why and how.
At least be glad that we are alive and well now.