Douglas H. Wheelock

@Astro_Wheels

Test Pilot; NASA Astronaut: STS-120 & ISS-25; Space Station Commander; Aspiring Poet; Inspired by quiet moments, kindness and the power of the spoken word.

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.

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers

Views 6,958

1370 days ago

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’, . 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.

#STS120Tweetup #NASATweetup #Wheelers

16 Comments

Realtime comments disabled

sweetgazer1 1362 days ago

Sensational pic, I support the idea of a book too.

modern_dragon 1368 days ago

Great picture, great story. And truly a hack from outer space.

Kikucchi 1368 days ago

One of the best pix from #space telling a story of journey into space. Your words recorded here will be long appreciated by many generation. Outstanding achievement to be celebrated:-) sounds like a "book" is on high demand, but like the currentness of t

Diannesyz2 1369 days ago

Thanks for the photo and the awesome poem.

2525gorilla 1369 days ago

wow.....

canarchaudry 1369 days ago

Amazing sight!..hard to believe human spacewalking will happen in my lifetime..awesome job,Astro Wheels:)

ko2ri 1369 days ago

This dynamic shot and the real story... this is amazing!! :-))

SophalMiracle 1370 days ago

Space walk in the 0-gravity, you're beyond lucky! A trip to space is a special memories! #Wheelers

lindaleigh 1370 days ago

lindaleigh less than a minute ago
What an amazing shot CDR. You have made incredible repairs on tour in space.
Thanks for the poem of encouragement, I know it's not for me but it comes at the perfect time :-) #lindawheeler

Geshiela 1370 days ago

hmmm it can be entitled as.. The adventures of Tike and Spike! #wheelers

Geshiela 1370 days ago

wow!! Those are the kind of bedtime stories u can read and tell your kids. Hope we will see a book of that soon...

JPMajor 1370 days ago

Wow...a real-life space adventure!!

Magica_D 1370 days ago

The photo is really amazing, as much as the work you made that day.

a_cup_of_sea 1370 days ago

Looks like a skyscraper & a fireman! ...Oops! Sorry... They were a SPACEscraper & an astronaut! :-P

DKLR4 1370 days ago

You inspire me so very much! Could you possibly put all your pictures and thoughts into a book?

PC0101 1370 days ago

One of the most amazing pix ever taken. It makes you see the enormous size of the solar arrays #fromspace.