Thursday, August 22, 2013

Capsule Escape!

An active day! I spent a long time in the capsule while Kristian made measurements to improve arrangement of controls and displays. In the suit, pressurized and with only a radio link to the 'outside world' it is quite clear that you are quite helpless and that if many systems built by many people do not work, you are going to have a rather terminal day. Ice water flows through hoses across my chest and arms and legs, and breathing gas hisses in my right ear ++ I turn that way for a good breath if things are getting muggy in the suit. If I make a sudden move my glove hardware makes a tremendous clang on the hollow capsule bulkhead. The idea of getting out of this thing quickly is funny. After a long while, at nearly 2psi John radios me to try to get out of the capsule, Kristian hops up and out and I am alone, I wriggle and puff mightily to make my way out and finally do it in about 40 seconds, quaffing down huge amoutns of breathing gas and spiking my suit temperature. Through the operation my mind flashes images of Ed White crawling out of his Gemini capsule for a spacewalk. When I open the visor I can barely speak from the excitement and after suitoff I take a long walk across acres of concrete burst here and there with sprouting vegetation. There are hollow knocks towards the harbor, I just sit down on a concrete block and try to slow my thoughts, watching airliner lights slide up or down in the distance. This 90-second 'capsule escape' has been one of the most intense experiences of my life!

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