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May 14th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

Counting Down Cady: Touring KSC with family and friends

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.

Astronaut Cady Coleman poses with her husband Josh and son Jamey at Kennedy Space Center.

Astronaut Cady Coleman poses with her husband Josh and son Jamey at Kennedy Space Center.

By Cady Coleman, Special to CNN

How does the time go so fast? Just a few weeks ago, Jamey, Josh and I were watching the Space Shuttle Discovery blast off from the Kennedy Space Center for the STS-131 mission to the International Space Station. Now it is May, and the STS-132 crew is already poised for their trip to the station to deliver our newest Russian module.

I’ve worked many of the launches over the years, but I’ve never been able to see one with my family. Because we launch from there, many folks think that astronauts live at KSC, but most of us are based in Houston. That’s why it is a treat to visit the space center, especially at launch time.

In just two days, Josh, Jamey and I watched a space shuttle launch, cringed as an alligator snatched a muskrat, strapped ourselves into a shuttle launch simulation at the visitors’ center and checked out the KSC SWAT team. For a 9 year old, vacation doesn’t get any better than that, and his Mom and Dad were pretty thrilled as well.

I marvel every time I fly into KSC for training. The center covers something like 140,000 acres, many of which are part of a wildlife preserve. Alligators, wild boars, snakes and manatees are everywhere, right next to active launch pads and massive machines like the crawlers that carry the shuttle stack to the launch pad. I know that the KSC workers probably get used to seeing these things every day, but driving by the launch pads is a huge inspiration for me.

I always try to make time to visit the old launch pads from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs when I come to KSC, and I felt lucky to be able to show these special places to Jamey and Josh. Those early missions were built one upon the other, flown by real people with the same passion for exploration that surrounds me in the NASA family. Even though it makes me sad, I often visit Launch Complex 34, where we lost the crew of Apollo 1. It is important to me to respect the memory of the astronauts that paved the road that I now travel. I am humbled to think about the moments in history connected to these places that have made it possible for astronauts like me to think of six months on a space station as almost routine!

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Filed under: Counting Down Cady • NASA
April 23rd, 2010
12:30 PM ET

Counting Down Cady: Astronaut vs. volcano

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.

Astronaut Cady Coleman stranded at an empty airport terminal in Frankfurt, Germany.

Astronaut Cady Coleman stranded at an empty airport terminal in Frankfurt, Germany.

By Cady Coleman, Special to CNN

Planes, Trains and Automobiles vs. The Space Shuttle

It turned out to be easier for the crew of Discovery to undock from the International Space Station and land the space shuttle than for me to fly home to the United States after my training trip to Europe this past week! Just when you think you have it all figured out, Mother Nature throws a curve ball that forces us to reevaluate our place here on the planet.

Volcanic ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland caused most European airspace to be closed because of the potential for ingesting volcanic ash into aircraft engines. The space shuttle landed smoothly at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, but getting home from Frankfurt was a completely different story!

We had just finished a week of training at the European Space Agency, when Flight Director Bob Dempsey and I found ourselves stranded along with thousands of other passengers in Frankfurt. As more news about the nature of the cloud and our inability to predict or control it became clear, I realized that I needed to make more drastic backup plans if I wanted to salvage precious school vacation time with Jamey and Josh.

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Filed under: Counting Down Cady • NASA
April 2nd, 2010
02:30 PM ET

Counting Down Cady: Boiling water at room temperature

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.

Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson waves while getting into her space on April 2, 2010 for launch to the International Space Station.

Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson waves while getting into her space on April 2, 2010 for launch to the International Space Station.

By Cady Coleman, Special to CNN

Woo hoo! My friend Tracy Caldwell Dyson is in space! Tracy blasted off last night in a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan along with Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov and fellow flight engineer Mikhail Kornienko.

That is just the beginning of an exciting month at NASA. Two days from now they’ll dock with the International Space Station (ISS) and begin their six month expedition. Meanwhile, the Space Shuttle Discovery is poised on the pad for an early morning launch Monday and their crew of seven will dock with the ISS on Wednesday.

Those seven astronauts include three women that I’m proud to call friends: Stephanie Wilson, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger and Naoko Yamazaki. Let’s hear it for girlfriends in space!

The same preparations that got Tracy for her journey last night have kept me hopping as well. Since I last wrote in late January, I’ve traveled to Russia and Japan for training, spent weekends in Massachusetts to see my husband Josh and my son Jamey, qualified on the robotic arm to "catch" our supply ships, picked out pants, shirts and workout gear to wear on the space station, helped Sandra Day O’Connor celebrate her 80th birthday and got a decent start on organizing the many piles of stuff around my house and office for next December’s launch.

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Filed under: Counting Down Cady • NASA • Tech
January 25th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Counting Down Cady: Astronaut's mission for kids

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. This is part of our year-long American Morning original series, "Counting Down Cady."

Don't miss: Read Cady's blog


Filed under: Counting Down Cady • Tech
January 8th, 2010
02:00 PM ET

Counting Down Cady: What an astronaut does over the holidays

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.

Cady and family - Mark Hopkins, Conor, Garrett and Jamey Murray-Coleman, Josh Simpson, Kieran Murray-Coleman, Jamey Simpson, Ann Doty, Cady Coleman.

Cady and family – Mark Hopkins, Conor, Garrett and Jamey Murray-Coleman, Josh Simpson, Kieran Murray-Coleman, Jamey Simpson, Ann Doty, Cady Coleman.

By Cady Coleman, Special to CNN

Every couple of weeks, Josh and I go through our calendars to understand who has to be where and when. The Christmas holiday gave us a good chance to do that, but this time it was different: Our Expedition 26 launch (E 26) is less than a year away!

Usually when I make my entries on Josh’s calendar, I write things like “Cady to Houston – Cady to Massachusetts – Cady training in Russia or Japan or Europe, but on Dec 10th 2010 – I wrote in “Launch Day: Cady to Space.”

Then I wrote “Cady in Space” on all the subsequent weeks until June of 2011. Wow! Now THAT is cool. Now that the flight is less than a year away, I find myself thinking of what life might be like this time next year.

Let’s start with the holiday. As the mom, I wonder who will wrap the presents next year, and pack the car with the one million things that I think are necessary to bring to Grandma’s house on Christmas Day. It is not something I worry about though.

I know that Josh has all those things in hand and it isn’t as if the 9-year-old is really going to say: “Hey – how come I don’t have a very wide selection of clothes to wear at Grandma’s house?” I’m sure they will even figure out how to make Grasshopper Pie together – a Coleman family favorite. I’d like to think I’m indispensable, but Jamey and Josh are on their own a lot of the time while I’m training, and they seem to do just fine!

What does an astronaut in training do over Christmas vacation? The good and bad news is that we can’t do any of our formal training during those holiday weeks, so I get to spend time in Massachusetts with Jamey and Josh. I plan, of course, to get a lot of work done in addition to that family time, but, well, I’ll just say that I got some things done, and others not.

Follow Cady on Twitter @Astro_Cady

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Filed under: Counting Down Cady • NASA • Tech
December 22nd, 2009
08:44 AM ET

Counting Down Cady: Meet Cady's crew

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. This is part of our year-long American Morning original series, "Counting Down Cady."


Filed under: Counting Down Cady
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