Anousheh Ansari Space Blog

September 28, 2006

On leaving Orbit

Filed under: Space Explorer — by Anousheh @ 3:51 pm

Hello World,

I’m writing my last blog from orbit. It is a bittersweet feeling…

We just finished our last supper in orbit. We had a few fresh tomatoes that we brought up on the Soyuz and had been saving for a special occasion, along with some smoked fish and other usual space food. Jeff Williams, the flight engineer on my return flight, welcomed the Expedition 14 crew and wished them a successful expedition.

Misha Tyurin then gave a beautiful speech… I thought he has read my blog because his sentiment echoed what I had been writing about. He talked about how we are people from different countries, backgrounds and cultures and by being here together, working and living together we have established a special bond. He continued, “One day the space station will outlive its useful life and deorbit and burn in the atmosphere but the memories of this trip and our friendship will outlast all of these…”

Sting was playing in the background, singing “how fragile we are…” Then Misha told me he had a special surprise for me… He gave me his personal badge, the badge of Cosmonauts and his name tag plus the little Bear that was hanging inside our capsule during liftoff, called “Misha.” You probably saw it in the Liftoff video. He told me “Misha” is the zero G sensor for the trip.

His speech and his special gifts were so touching that I could not hold my tears anymore. I had tried all day to keep it all inside and to act as if everything is fine but inside I felt I was losing something special… It is true that you establish a bond up here that is hard to break. For the past 10 days I had trusted my life in the hands of Misha and LA, they had been wonderful and took care of me like their own sister… They have made this trip so incredibly special for me that I’m sure I will never forget them…

It is hard for me to write tonight. My emotions are high and there are millions of thoughts going trough my head. Every few minutes the tears that I have been holding back come to the surface and my throat starts hurting and then I swallow it all back down again and try to catch my train of thoughts… I was nowhere near this emotional on my launch day. I guess I’m good with beginnings but not with endings…

I keep going to different corners of the station and try to hold on tight, in my memory, to what I’m seeing and feeling. Several times I just let myself float freely and tumble around like a feather caught in a breeze to see where I would end up.

I looked out the window a lot and thought to myself, “I don’t know when I will see this view again.” I tried to play some of my favorite songs. This morning at breakfast I played “Only if you want to” by Enya. It energized me. Throughout the day I kept whistling “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and “My Favorite Things.”

I tried to focus on the positives… Tomorrow I will see my Husband after a long time… I miss him so much. It has been a hard six months for both of us… He is my soul mate. We had been inseparable up until this trip… He has been trying to be the strong tough guy who is the anchor of my life… but I know inside he has been burning up. He will have the first sigh of relief when he hears that they have pulled us out of the capsule.

I was also just talking to my sister and I could hear in her voice how anxious she was and how scared she was of losing me… I promised her that I will be fine and will be with her in a few days… I could tell she was crying but trying hard not to let it show in her voice.

The descent usually takes about four hours and it is a rough ride down with a big impactful landing at the end. The Soyuz will look like a little ball of fire as it enters the atmosphere. Then the parachutes will deploy and yank the capsule and swing it all over the place to slow us down a little and at the last stage the landing thruster will come on and prevent us from hitting the ground like a meteor. I am not worried about it too much… I have other things to worry about like when I will be able to feel this exhilarated and free again…

My trip is coming to an end but my dreams have just started.

You tell me in your messages that I have inspired you… Well I have to admit you all have inspired me right back… Every time I feel like I’m drowning in the sadness of my departure from the space station, I try to reach for one of your messages and pull myself out and look forward to what we can all do together.

May be this was all meant to be this way. My sudden trip to Moscow and the last minute change in crew. May be I was supposed to be the alarm clock that awakens that little voice inside of each and every one of you so you can all start changing our world to a better place to live for all of us… May be I was meant to inspire that young scientist who will become the one who comes up with the “Warp engine.” May be I was supposed to remind all of us of our infinite possibilities… May be… May be… May be…

There are many thoughts flowing through my head and I ‘m not sure I know what I’m supposed to be or do… I have never calculated my moves and planned that far ahead… I sort of usually have a destination and then I let the voice inside guide me to my destination… I always knew in my heart that I would go to space, but did not know exactly how. But I kept telling everyone how much I love space and I want to go to space, and finally found the way…

My destination tomorrow will be Earth… But the Earth is not the same Earth that I left. It is a little bit better now because there is more love in it. I can see it from your written words that are sent to me in the emails… I only hope that I can help grow this wave of positive energy that we have started and to make sure it touches more and more people.

They say smile and the world smiles with you… I can tell you from practice that is true… I was told over and over again that my smile is contagious… I hope it contaminates you as well 🙂 Because when you smile it is that much harder for someone to say “no” to you…or to hate you… or to hurt you…

So tonight, when you go to bed, go to bed with a big smile on your face and see how you feel tomorrow, when you wake up… don’t forget to keep that smile on for the rest of the day…and until you hear that I have touched down…

Live long, prosper and be happy my friends…

Coming Home from Orbit

Filed under: Orbit,Personal Spaceflight — by Peter @ 5:42 am

Anousheh’s description of life aboard the International Space Station has been amazingly vivid and alluring. She is an excellent writer. In my 25 years in the space industry I have never seen this intimate level of communication.

Safe travel home Anousheh — the World is waiting to greet you!

-Peter H. Diamandis (Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation)

Timeline for Today

Filed under: Space Explorer — by X PRIZE @ 5:39 am

kindly provided by Peter Guelzow, President AMSAT-DL, with all times converted to UTC.

Anousheh’s trip to the ISS took about two days from launch to docking, but the return to Earth takes only less than 3.5 hours.

NASA TV will cover the farewell ceremony and closing of the hatches is planned for Thursday, September 28, 18:35:00 UTC.

The Expedition 13 crew and Anousheh Ansari will then prepare to depart. Only the German astronaut Thomas Reiter will stay a few more months until December, before he is scheduled to return home.

Soyuz TMA-8 is scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 01:10 UTC on September 29.

Soyuz TMA-9 will be the return vehicle for the Expedition 14 crew.

* Undocking −00:00 / Landing −03:23:00

Separation command to begin opening hooks and latches that hold the Soyuz spacecraft to a docking port on the Space Station.

* Undocking +03:00 / Landing −03:20:00

Hooks opened. Soyuz begins physical separation from the Pirs docking compartment at 0.1 meters per second.

* Undocking +06:00 / Landing −03:17:00

A 15-second separation burn when the Soyuz is about 20 meters from the Station.

* Undocking +02:29 / Landing −00:54:00

When the Soyuz is at a distance of about 19 km from the ISS, the engines fire for a 4-minute, 21-second deorbit burn.

* Undocking +02:57 / Landing −00:26

The unoccupied Orbital Module separates from the Descent Module and burns up upon re-entry into the atmosphere.

* Undocking +03:00 / Landing −00:23

The Soyuz reaches Entry Interface – 121 920 meters in altitude – 31 minutes after the deorbit burn.

* Undocking +03:08 / Landing −00:15

Parachutes are commanded to deploy. Two Pilot Parachutes are deployed, the second of which extracts the Drogue Chute. The Drogue slows the spacecraft’s descent from a rate of 230 meters per second to 80 meters per second.

The Main Parachute is then released. It slows the Soyuz to a descent rate of 7.2 meters per second. First, its harnesses allow the Soyuz to descend at an angle of 30 degrees to expel heat, then it shifts the Soyuz to a straight vertical descent.

* Undocking +03:23 / Landing −00:02

Six Soft Landing Engines fire to slow the vehicle’s descent rate to 1.5 meters per second just 0.8 meters above the ground.

Soyuz lands.

N8MS Ham Radio Contact

Filed under: Ham Radio,Space Explorer — by X PRIZE @ 4:04 am

To: Anousheh FanMail
Subject: ham radio recording–N8MS

Good evening Anousheh!

I have attached a copy of our ham radio conversation from Thursday; I thought you might enjoy it. As you will hear, it only has your side of the contact because I did not have time to set up a radio to record both parts of the conversation.

Thanks again for making Science become so real for my kids! It was quite an inspiration! Because of our conversation, I have one young lady that proclaims she will be the second woman civilian aboard the ISS, and I have no doubt that she will make it!

Have a safe return tomorrow. You will be in my thoughts!

Matt Severin, N8MS
Coloma Junior High School
Coloma MI

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