If they hadn’t postponed the launch, today we would have been entering quarantine.
The extra time we were given brings us to D-day more mature, better prepared - it’s a bit like that pre-army service year. A few extra rehearsals on the systems and procedures, more simulations of the emergency teamwork routines, more zero gravity resuscitation drills on the medical mannequin.
Simulation with Crew 4 - as part of the preparations, we took part in a 5-hour exercise inside the Space Station simulator with a full crew of 10 astronauts. The four members of NASA Crew 4 took part in this exercise - and our two trainers played the role of the Russian crew. We also helped each other with the routine work, not practicing only the emergency situations. Anyone that completed their mission ahead of schedule was free to look around and see who else can be helped, either through reading the work routine, by photographing or by coordinating by radio with the Houston control center.
Crew 4, a crew of NASA professionals, is supposed to travel to the Space Station on 15 April 2022 - five days after we get back. They, too, will be traveling on a SpaceX spacecraft, consists of three NASA astronauts, one of the women - the Italian crew commander Samantha Cristoforetti, an astronaut and mission specialist, and there is also going to be a female representative from the European Space Agency ESA.They will be staying on board the Station for half a year.
Respect: Veteran Trainer - we had the good fortune to be the last crew trained by Shawn - NASA’s chief trainer for emergency situations. We were together with her as she wound down this lengthy chapter in her life, during which she trained dozens of space crews. Our training took place on her final day at work prior to retirement. As a token of our appreciation of the knowledge and experience of this extraordinary woman, we held a symbolic farewell ceremony, honoring her with hanging our AX1 Mission emblem on the facility wall, alongside dozens of other space mission emblems which had preceded us and returned safely after having practiced under Shawn.
A brief visit to Israel - to meet friends and family and - most important - to recharge my mom’s 96-year-old batteries. Alma is very excited about the launch and is already looking forward to my return. Of course we spent a full work day with the fabulous Rakia team, starting out with an artistic experience in the form of a visit to the space exhibition of the students at Shenkar. Such interesting, creative ideas, including design of the astronaut’s personal space with emphasis on orientation and connecting with the astronaut’s inner world. Meirav and the rest of the team laid out the workplans for the near future up until the launch and for the duration of the mission at the Station.We went over the challenges we were facing. It’s great to see how all the various pieces of the Rakia puzzle are coming together to form a complete, diverse and synergetic project.
Today I put on the Acti-Watch, a watch that measures vital functions - part of the Sleep in Space experiment to measure the duration and quality of sleep in space. I’m finally starting to get that lab-rat feeling...