We just passed the 23rd anniversary of my flight on NASA’s “Vomit Comet”, the aircraft they use for weightlessness training. That’s a coincidence. About a month ago I was poking around my computer files, which have gotten quite disorganized with years of different work computers, home computers, crashing disks and laptops. I came upon a “contact sheet” of the photos from the flight. Since my budget was limited back then, I had only purchased a print of one of the photos I was in. Since I’d like the others, I emailed the good folks at the Johnson Space Center who are the keepers of the photo library with the photo numbers, and asking what it would cost to get new prints, or high quality digital scans, made. They were in a good mood that day, or are just nice people, because they offered to make the scans for me at no cost. A couple of weeks later, I was able to download them. Thanks! I was willing to pay for the service, but I appreciate the good will.
This is the photo that motivated me. See all the folks in the khaki flight suits? They were most of the Canadian astronauts at that time. I thought it would be fun to hang this photo in my office while I was in Ottawa. The tall guy over my left shoulder is Byron Lichtenberg, Shuttle Payload Specialist and the guy who made it possible for us to get on this flight. He was speaking at Space Camp at one of the Enterprise Team sessions (a group of adults who helped Space camp design and test advanced programs) about his company, which was renting the VC and “subletting” seats for experimenters. We went to him right after the speech and said we had several people ready to go if we could make it work. Since this was a NASA aircraft, we couldn’t just joyride, we had to pass a flight physical, go through low pressure chamber training, and devise experiments for our flights, but eventually we did.
My experiment had to do with the use of a “kneeboard” to use a laptop PC onboard the Shuttle or space station. here I am before I got sick.
Yes, I got sick. The plane lived up to its name. I blame it on the delay on the ground during which I sweated out most of the anti-airsickness drugs :).
In any case, as those of you who have seen me lately know, I look thinner in those photos, because I was! So, I started an exercise program yesterday. Nothing big to start, just some time every day on the treadmill in the apartment building, but that and cutting back on the food a bit will hopefully take me closer to my “flying weight” then I’ve been in a while. It will take time, but I have time.