A NASA astronaut who’s about to go away the planet for six months will blast off with none household or fanfare due to the coronavirus
MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Author
March 19, 2020, 10:29 PM
four min learn
A NASA astronaut who’s about to go away the planet for six months will blast off with none household or fanfare due to the coronavirus.
Chris Cassidy stated Thursday that he will not have any company at his April 9 launch from Kazakhstan. He expects to say goodbye in Russia to his spouse on Friday, three weeks sooner than deliberate.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, she’s going again residence to Houston. Certainly one of his three kids, in the meantime, is making an attempt to get again to the U.S. from New Zealand.
There shall be a smaller staff than ordinary on the launch pad, too.
“It actually goes to be unusual,” Cassidy instructed The Related Press from cosmonaut headquarters in Star Metropolis, Russia.
He stated he is already in quarantine forward of his launch to the Worldwide Area Station.
“The issues which might be stressing the remainder of the world and the remainder of America, are the identical issues which might be stressing me proper now,” stated Cassidy.
“It is not like some other time in our lives as a technology, actually, proper?’ stated the 50-year-old Navy captain and former Navy SEAL. “I will have my very own attention-grabbing story to inform in years to return.”
Cassidy can be coping with a uncommon late-in-the-game crew change. He’ll spend 6 half months on the house station with two Russians assigned to the flight only a month in the past, after one of many unique cosmonauts suffered an eye fixed damage.
Whereas coaching collectively to catch up, Cassidy, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner have been taking precautions to remain germ free, continuously washing their palms and conserving a secure distance from others.
The house station crew will drop from six to 3 per week after his arrival. It can stay at three folks till SpaceX launches two NASA astronauts, as early as Could, or one other crew arrives on a Russian Soyuz capsule within the fall.
With solely three folks on board, it guarantees to be terribly busy.
“That does not trouble me in any respect,” Cassidy instructed the AP. “In actual fact, I am excited. Carry it on.”
Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner depart Tuesday for the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They are going to be remoted there in a particular resort for astronauts, as is customary. However on launch day, there will not be the standard cheering, back-slapping throngs of well-wishers or journalists both.
Their households, bosses and dozens of others usually jam a particular room behind a glass wall whereas the astronauts placed on their spacesuits earlier than liftoff.
Not this time.
“We’ll be wanting by means of the glass at perhaps one video digicam or one thing like this after which we’ll get on the bus” to go to a launch pad with a minimal staff there, Cassidy stated.
As for the Feb. 19 crew change, Cassidy, from York, Maine, initially was “crushed” by the information. The previous chief of NASA’s astronaut corps and two-time house flier, Cassidy already knew the backup cosmonauts..
“So no points there,” he stated. Nonetheless, “my coronary heart harm for my two associates who thought they have been so near a rocket launch and weren’t going to get one,” he instructed the AP.
Invanishin, like Cassidy an skilled spaceman, stated earlier this week that he is stunned to be abruptly rocketing away, “however life occurs.” He stated the crew swap may have occurred even nearer to launch and so the three have had “a while for the information to settle in.”
Cassidy acknowledges his stress degree is increased than ordinary proper now from worrying about his family members.
“We’re solely human,” he stated, “and we’ll work by means of it and be high quality.”
The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Schooling. The AP is solely liable for all content material.