U.S.-Russian Crew Blasts Off for Space Station With One Empty Seat
April 20, 2017 by Editor
On the job toilet training
Fischer and Yurchikhin were scheduled to reach the $100 billion space station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, at 9:23 a.m. EDT (1323 GMT).
Fischer said he suspects the biggest challenge he faces in his first voyage into space will be learning how to use the station’s zero-gravity toilet.
“It’s all about suction, it’s really difficult,” Fischer said in a NASA interview before launch. “You just can’t train for that on the ground, so I approach my space-toilet activities with respect, preparation and a healthy dose of sheer terror.”
U.S. astronaut closing in on record
The rookie astronaut will be sharing the station with two seasoned veterans.
Soyuz crewmate Yurchikhin has made four previous spaceflights. Station commander Peggy Whitson, 57, in the midst of her third long-duration mission, is due on Monday to beat the 534-day record for cumulative time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut.
She is expected to receive a congratulatory phone call on Monday from U.S. President Donald Trump, NASA said on Wednesday.
Whitson, who flew to the station in November along with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, will remain aboard with Fischer and Yurchikhin until September.