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But like NASA here, you’re already have started your plans for the moon and eventually Mars. So it was not a surprise; but still, it was a great kind of relief actually to know finally, “Okay, now I have my flight,” and which flight it is. But really, going out, you cannot be more in space than doing a spacewalk. Okay, you have your spacesuit, which is like a mini-spaceship by itself. Image to left: Mission Specialist Christer Fuglesang participates in an underwater simulation of extravehicular activity scheduled for the STS-116 shuttle mission to the International Space Station. That was to take the solar arrays, which were supposed to come up much later, and put them there quickly in a temporary position, on the top of the space station. Now the flight before us, 115, or 12A, they brought up the next set of solar arrays and put them where they should be on this huge truss. Just to do that, you have to turn off the power to unplug these things and plug them again.
I think, hopefully, our real moment now that starts on ISS will kind of create interest for, “Okay, yeah, we need to kind of go further also.” We can have some focus, some plans, our plans, for how to contribute to the moon program. And I was very happy for it being this flight, 12A.1, 116, because it’s a very challenging flight. Tell me a little bit about your hometown and what it was like to grow up there. Image credit: NASA The primary goal is to deliver the P5 truss segment to the space station and mount it there, and do the electrical power reconfiguration for the temporary system to the final. We’re bringing up Suni Williams and we’re bringing back Thomas Reiter, who’s been up there since July. My main responsibility is actually as a EV 2, that is to say that one of the EVA crew members. Explain briefly why the ISS’s electrical power system is going to be reconfigured. And you cannot turn off the whole power to the station at once, so you do it twice, half and half. Every flight is unique in some sense, but this flight is definitely unique because it’s only once that we’re going to power down the station and reconnect the power system.
Could you give us a thumbnail sketch of the academic and professional path that you took to become an astronaut?
I went through high school which we can gymnasium in Sweden studying the kind of direction there on natural sciences.
I didn’t really have a clear picture of becoming an astronaut, but I wanted to go to space if I could.
So I made a pretty quick decision, “Ja, of course I’m going to apply.” And that was then in the summer of 1990.
It was after Euromir 95 had finished, and thought it would be some continuation on that program.Now, it will also raise the interest and the awareness in all of Europe of what’s going on in space.