Wed, September 24, 2008
Sci-Tech > Science

Exclusive: Dr. Buckey says spacewalk is a big challenge for astronauts

2008-09-24 09:18:06 GMT2008-09-24 17:18:06 (Beijing Time)

A combo picture of Dr. Jay Clark Buckey (File photo)

As China will launch its third manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 on Thursday, interviewed Dr. Jay Clark Buckey, who is an American astronaut having flown aboard one space shuttle mission (STS-90) as a NASA Payload Specialist.

Q1. Do you have any comment on China's Aeronautics and Astronautics development? Would you like to make some suggestion on and wishes to China's upcoming spacewalk mission?

A. I always think its good when there is more space activity. I wish ther crew, and all the people who brought them to this point, best wishes in this mission.

Q2. What is the biggest challenge an astronaut will be facing when carrying out spacewalk for the first time? If you ever did spacewalk, how long have you been trained for your first spacewalk? Did you feel more tired in the space than on the ground or inside the spacecraft?

A. I did not do a spacewalk on my mission. But I do study the physical and mental challenges of spaceflight (there’s a chapter about eva in my book “space physiology” from Oxford University press). The first spacewalks in both the Russian and American programs were almost disasters, and both countries took several lessons away from them. If the current crew has studied those lessons they should be fine.

Q3. Do you think that a person's personality and temperament will change after becoming an astronaut? If so, in what aspect? Where does astronauts' mental pressure come from? How to make self-adjustment?

A. Being part of a successful, well functioning team that achieves great things is one of the most satisfying experiences an individual can have. So I think the crews can come away with the satisfaction of doing something remarkable.

Q4. Did you conduct any scientific experiments in the space? Can you recall some of the most interesting ones?

A. Yes, our mission was devoted to biomedical research on the brain and nervous system, you can find information about the mission and its results at ( I thought the experiments on the developments of the nervous system in weightlessness were some of the most interesting experiments.

Q5. What do you think of your experience as being an astronaut and carrying out spacewalking mission? Could this kind of experience bring you any change in your own life?

A. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to fly in space and to work with such a great group of people.

Q6. What was the most frequent thoughts occurred to you while you were in the space? What did you want to say to your country and family at that time?

A. During the mission we were very focused on getting the job done right.

About Dr. Jay Clark Buckey

  Dr. Jay Clark Buckey, Jr. (born June 6, 1956 in New York City) is an American astronaut, having flown aboard one space shuttle mission (STS-90) as a NASA Payload Specialist. Buckey briefly ran for the Democratic nomination to challenge New Hampshire Senator John E. Sununu, a Republican, when he is up for re-election in 2008. Buckey has since withdrawn from the race.

  Buckey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University (1977) and an M.D. from Cornell in 1981, interning at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and completing his residence at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Currently, Buckey is a Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. He was also a flight surgeon with the U.S. Air Force Reserve for 8 years.

  In 1998 he was a Payload Specialist aboard NASA Space Shuttle flight STS-90 as part of the Neurolab mission from April 17 to May 3, 1998. Aboard the Neurolab Mission, Buckey was the Payload Specialist for the experiment "Cardiovascular Adaptation to Zero-Gravity" and assisted with other Spacelab Life Sciences experiments. During the 16-day Spacelab flight, the seven person crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia served as both experiment subjects and operators for 26 individual life science experiments focusing on the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system. The STS-90 flight orbited the Earth 256 times, covered 6.3 million miles, and logged him over 381 hours in space

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