A Letter Home from Mir
News story originally written on October 28, 1997

The following is David Wolf's latest letter to those on Earth. The subject -- the Progress supply ship docking with the space station Mir.

It was almost eerie to see the robot ship loom in out of the darkness. Slowly close in andperfectly position for rendezvous and docking. The view from Anatoly's (our commander) teleoperated pilot station was as seen by the cargo ship. Closing in on this amazing space station. Its computer mind correcting for errors in the cross-hairs on the docking target, just as Anatoly would have done himself. It behaved almost human. Anatoly's hands were lightly poised on the remote control sticks ready to manually take over at the first sign of bad decision-making by the computer pilot. He and Pavel checked approach speeds and positions from the console. In their minds they had transported themselves and were sitting in the cargo ship, closing in on MIR. As I watched their moves and words, how confidently they worked together from training and experience, my few thoughts of what happened to Mike Foale a few months ago were quenched. Thunk. It hit pretty firmly - which is normal. No pressure sensations in my ears. Docking mechanism properly engaged. The silence of tuned nerves was broken by laughter and hand shakes. Supplies had arrived.

We each got a shoe-box-sized bag of gifts. I love all of them. Thanks. It was like an early Christmas. Lots of candy and fresh food for dinner. Some real delicacies. Haven't been gone long but I know I will be, so it still felt great. Pavel and Anatoly have been here for 2 months and the stuff really meant a lot. We all shared the food. One of those nights to remember in orbit. Our favorite Russian music, good friends, and food. And, we can fly and see the whole Earth. The laboratory is really coming together but more on that later.

Keep your wings rolling, - Dave

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

Trees and plants are a very important part of this Earth. Trees and plants are nature's air conditioning because they help keep our Earth cool. On a summer day, walking bare-foot on the sidewalk burns,...more

Planetary Alignment 2002

There is something special happening in the night sky. Through mid-May, you will be able to see five planets at the same time! This doesn't happen very often, so you won't want to miss this. Use the links...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA