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Receiving a Dragon

Wow.

This weekend was...historical. ISS has received her first crew Dragon (with crew of 1 anthropomorphic test device, ie "dummy" and 1 "lil Earth" plush). As many of you know, I'm quite the hopeless nostalgic type - especially when it comes to rockets and launchpads and gahhhh, feelings!

Image credit: NASA


As I walked out of the special ISS Mission Management Team meeting Saturday evening, I couldn't help but look upon my work at NASA with fresh eyes. All my life I have dreamed of a job working with rockets and astronauts and peace - advancing human exploration with science and striving for peace through international teamwork. I can't say all of my jobs fulfilled these yearnings - a couple were quite the opposite. Which makes me even more thankful to get to work in this medium, with amazing humans, technologically rich equipment and common goals.

I took a mental picture of these moments, of these decisions, of my surroundings, of these feelings. I tried to soak in the gravity (pun intended) of the situation - in this meeting we were deciding, giving a formal "Go" to allow the teams down the hall and across the globe to attempt the first docking of a new vehicle to the ISS. In Mission Control, flight controllers were sending commands to ISS to prepare her for Dragon's arrival. In Hawthorne, SpaceX flight controllers were commanding Dragon to complete the demonstrations and fly the near field trajectory. Across the globe, flight controllers were monitoring their systems and payloads as always, but with a Dragon docking on the very near horizon. And onboard ISS, the inhabitants were setting up computers and reviewing procedures to ensure their piece of the docking event was smooth. It's sort of neat that my mental picture included so many people and places that I had never actually met or seen in real life - a testament to the truly international team that was converging on a momentous occasion, taking place some 250 miles overhead.

As I drove home and took some deep breaths, I noticed even the details of the rockets at the entrance to the Johnson Space Center seemed more crisp, draped by spotlights in the cool Houston evening air. All of this may seem dramatic, but admittedly, space IS dramatic. And being a tiny part of something bigger than yourself is such a rush, such a fulfillment. I can't wait to see the rest of the mission (don't forget, we still have undock and splashdown on Friday!), and Boeing's attempt later this year (full disclosure, my husband has been toiling away on that vehicle, so there is a special personal connection).

It's clear I wasn't the only nerd excited about this mission, below is a scrapbook of sorts, from a bunch of neat perspectives.














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