Tim Peake a very British astronaut

image

Yesterday the a UK was gripped by space walk fever.  Tim our ever smiling and unflappable very British astronaut was the first person ever to emerge from the hatch of the ISS wearing a Union Jack on their sleeve.  It was so great to see that Britain has finally been represented in space.  Prior to Tim British born people have had to make their journeys as commercial astronauts or under other national flags due to the lack of funding from successive British governments. Tim’s selection and training started as early as 2009.  Although the British government only started their investment in the ISS in 2011. 

Long may space fever continue in the UK and I hope that Tim’s spacewalk isn’t the last time we see that Union Jack on an astronaut floating in space.  Well done Tim watching you work while you walked was amazing.

Missing the goal.

Soyuz_TMA-19_spacecraft_departs_the_ISS

Watching Blair Walsh take his field goal and miss during the Vikings and Seahawk’s game Sunday was soul destroying.  Walsh is a kicker whom had scored all of Minnesota 9 points during the game. With 22 seconds on the clock all he had to do was put in one last field goal to see them move ahead of Seattle whom had 10 points.  The goal should have been easy one only 27 yards.  It is something that Walsh would practice over and over again.  Unfortunately he missed and the Vikings were declared out – at least for this year.

This whole event reminded me of the last manned docking of the Soyuz at the ISS.   Britain was watching live as our first affiliated astronaut Tim Peake was onboard.  We were in for a few nail biting minutes as the automatic docking had to be over ridden and manual docking took 2 attempts until the Soyuz latched itself onto the ISS.  These manoeuvres are extremely difficult and hats off to  Yuri Malenchenko the veteran Russian astronaut who undertook making these tricky moves.  This time the Kurs radar system failed and that was why they had to dock manually.

I know the astronauts have trained extensively thankfully manual docking is not a common occurrence.  Things do go wrong though and in 2014 two Russian cosmonauts and one american astronaut were stuck in the cramped Soyuz module as they missed a 24 second boost which would have enabled them to complete a 6 hour journey to the ISS. Luckily for them on-board was food that would keep them alive for a number of days!  In 2012 a unmanned supply module failed to reach dock with the ISS and took another week until it had another chance at docking.

It just goes to show however much training is involved things sometimes do not go to plan.  Hopefully Bradley Walsh will get another chance at redeeming himself in next season.