September 21, 2006
September 20, 2006
Subject: Hello from Peter Diamandis, Welcome to Space!
Welcome to your ISS Home! Earth watched your beautiful launch on the Internet and TV. You looked great… all smiles the entire time!
Here’s my blog entry of your launch (how it looked from NASA TV).
My Dear Peter,
You were on my mind the entire time. I remembered our first meeting with you sitting across the table and passionately talking about goals of the X Prize foundation. I was enjoying watching you make a sales pitch with such a passion.
You had me sold from the first minute but your passion was contagious and I wanted you to finish telling your story. I arrived in the station a few hours ago and it feels like home. I have been making notes all along the launch and I will be posting a blog on the trip.
The launch was very smooth. The trip to the station felt long but it was worth it. I cannot keep my eyes off the windows. Earth is magnificent and peaceful from up here. You don’t see any of those awful things you hear on the news, from up here.
The Earth is so beautiful and if we could all see it this way I’m sure we would do everything in our power to preserve it. I truly hope that more and more people get to experience this trip first hand. But more than anyone else I hope that you will experience this trip soon, because I cannot think of a more deserving person….
with my best space wishes
Just after 1am PT, the hatch between the Soyuz TMA-9 and ISS was opened and a very happy, still smiling Anousheh Ansari floated aboard wearing her Ansari X PRIZE hat! (Thanks for the show of support Anousheh!). I’m hopeful that she’ll soon be ready to log on and share some of her personal thoughts and feelings from orbit.
I just heard the following from my friend NASA Associate Administrator Rex Geveden, senior NASA Representative currently in Russia, “Greetings from Moscow! Just left TSuP for the Star City docking celebration. We spoke with the crew a little while ago, and everyone looked just great. Anousheh’s charm and intelligence are evident even from orbit.”
As Anousheh entered ISS, she brought onboard her “carry-on” allocation of 10 KG. Besides an X PRIZE flag and hat, she also is also carrying a number of artifacts which flew aboard SpaceShipOne — to my knowledge, these are the only items ever to fly both on a suborbital and orbital flight. The list of items includes:
A physical piece of composite materials taken off of SS1
Two SS1 mission patches which had previous flown about the two winning Ansari X PRIZE sub-orbital flights.
And a number of first day covers (for you stamp collectors) that were flown on SS1 and canceled in Mojave on October 4th.
Congratulations Anousheh, you made it! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
Anousheh floats in — to the outpost of space exploration — wearing her Ansari X Prize hat!
Hatch opening scheduled to take place within the next 20 minutes.
Vostok’s smooth and uneventful docking confirmed.
New residents have arrived at the International Space Station.
Vostok is now just one kilometer away from the International Space Station (ISS) and closing at a rate of 2 meters/second. Then it does a “fly around” and positions itself to dock to the Svesda Service Module on ISS. This docking port was occupied yesterday by the Progress 21 cargo craft.
It’s relatively busy in orbit around the Earth right now… with a crew on ISS, a crew on Soyuz TMA-9 and a crew on the Space Shuttle on the way home, there are 12 people on orbit. I look forward to the day when there are hundreds of human carrying spaceships in orbit, not just three.
Friends at Star City send reports that Anousheh is doing well, but recovering from an initial bout of space motion sickness. Space Motion Sickness hits about 40 percent of the astronauts who enter space. A quick injection of intramuscular phenergan can usually help. I’ve had the pleasure of flying Anousheh on two different occasions in parabolic flight with Zero-Gravity Corporation. She did amazingly well without any problems.
I bet Anousheh is looking out the window and can’t wait to open the hatch to visit her new home! The docking is being carried by NASA TV and the hatch opening ceremonies should take place at about 1:10am PDT / 4:10am EDT.
The NASA TV channel is now showing a beautiful view of the ISS with the Earth in the background. The view is coming from the Soyuz camera. In the middle of the image is a set of cross-hairs. The Soyuz is now at 10 meters and closing. Flight controllers are standing by for contact and capture of the ISS.
We have contact! Docking confirmed at 12:21 am CT, 9:21 am Moscow time! I bet Anousheh is happy!
The next step is the retraction of the docking probe, and a hard docking between the two vehicles to provide a tight seal.
Now we’ll have to wait for 3 hours of leak checks and system checks before the hatch is opened… then Anousheh will get nine days onboard the ISS to float around and share with us her adventures in orbit!
Peter H. Diamandis (at home in LA)