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terror in the cosmos.



  • How to live and work aboard the Space Station

  • Astronomy


No, so far I have not gone to space. But instead, I have managed to do almost everything else: training in the altitude chamber and in the Houston centrifuge, several flights on the Vomit Comet, being present at dozens of shuttle takeoffs and landings, visits to the hangars where rest the new modules of the ISS, and even a couple of scent missions with George Aldrich, the Nose of NASA. Because George really exists. And his business card actually has a skunk hugging the shuttle.

In twenty years of covering NASA activities I have made many other friends there. Astronauts Danny Olivas, Michael López-Alegría, Carlos Noriega (from Peru), Fernando Caldeiro (from Argentina), Marcos César Pontes (from Brazil), Franklin Chang-Díaz (from Costa Rica), Ellen Ochoa and Eileen Collins, the first commander of a shuttle, they were endless sources of inspiration and conversation.

So has the charming Pedro Duque, from the European Space Agency (esa), who describes himself as the “second-first astronaut in Spain”, since his colleague Michael López-Alegría was also born in Spain, but instead From working for the ESA, he does it for NASA. Pedro's logbooks, during his stay on the iss, were very useful, and his pen shows in the beautiful descriptions of dusk and the southern aurora seen from space.

Michael López-Alegría, who at the end of this book was inaugurating his six months as commander of the iss, is truly a gourmet and a good cook, and one day he was allowed to cook and take his own Valencian paella to the space. "It was only necessary to accompany it with a good red wine," he told me on his return.

John Yaniec and Dominic del Rosso continue to be the wonderful directors of the zero gravity flights on the Vomit Comet. That program takes college students flying their science experiments. Only it is best referred to as the Student Reduced Gravity Flight Program. Many future astronauts and space engineers passed through this plane when they were in college.

Another thanks goes to those in charge of guiding the journalists, John Ira Petty, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Manny Virata and Bill Johnson, at the Kennedy Space Center, who opened the doors for me years ago when I did not understand yet. the incredible logistics of sending someone into space.

Finally, there is a tight hug for my four fellow astronautic fanatic writers and journalists, whom I meet every time there is a space mission. Between the four of them — Sandra Frederick, Robert Gas, Mark Kirkman, and Keith Rudroff — they know as much about going into space as the astronauts themselves, and their passion for the subject is delightfully contagious.

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