Editor's Note: Cady Coleman, Ph.D. is a NASA astronaut – a veteran of two space missions, who has logged over 500 hours in space. She is assigned to the Expedition 26 crew and is scheduled to fly to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz 25 in late 2010. Below is a blog written by Cady exclusively for CNN via NASA's Astronaut Office.
By Cady Coleman
Special to CNN
Was it everything he hoped for and dreamed about? Col. TJ Creamer left Earth yesterday on Soyuz 21S, bound for a six month stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Was it worth the wait, the time away from his family and the grueling pace of training around the world? Based on my two space shuttle flights, I predict that launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome was everything TJ dreamed about, and then some!
I’m betting that as we speak, TJ is floating inside the БО (pronounced bay-oh) with a huge grin covering most of his face. I don’t mean to leave out Oleg Kotov and Soichi Noguchi, also onboard the Soyuz yesterday when it launched, but TJ’s veteran crewmates have both been to the ISS before. Oleg spent 6 months as part of Exp 15 in 2007 and Soichi made 2 spacewalks to help assemble the ISS during STS-114, the first post-Columbia mission.
As a trio, the Expedition 22 crew was always great to interact with. They all bring, of course, amazing technical competence to the ISS stage, but Soichi’s quick wit, Oleg’s quiet, slow smile and TJ’s ever-present cheery nature made them a pleasure to train with as well. As Nicole Stott’s backup for Expedition 20, I spent the last 2 years training with my fellow astronauts and cosmonauts in Star City Russia, Tsukuba Japan, Cologne Germany and of course, Houston Texas.
TJ and I didn’t always overlap in those places, but he was known for his generosity in sharing the training lessons that he learned with other crew members. Many of my skills with both large and small computers came from TJ-based-advice. He was especially helpful in hooking me up with cool software to make learning Russian as easy and fun as possible.
Because he was on a mission ahead of me, he also provided helpful lists of Russian vocabulary for our Star City training. My favorites: for water survival “No really, I mean it – I can’t swim!!!!” And for winter survival: “Who has the marshmallows?” (Thanks Teej!)