Astronaut Becomes Dad While in Space

Rebecca Bresnik, the wife of STS-129 Mission Specialist Randy Bresnik, gave birth to their new daughter on Saturday night, making Randy the second astronaut ever to become a father while out in space. Bresnik reported this morning that his wife and new daughter, Abigail, are doing fine, and thanked the flight control team for their assistance.

Abigail was born in Houston on Saturday at 11:04 p.m. CST. The STS and ISS crews were awoken by the song “Butterfly Kisses” this morning, which was chosen by Rebecca for Randy, and contains the lyrics “There’s two things I know for sure/She was sent here from heaven and she’s daddy’s little girl.”

Becoming a new father is just a series of first for Bresnik on this mission: STS-129 is the first mission for Bresnik, and this was his first spacewalk. Bresnik installed antennas and other equipment on the ISS Saturday while awaiting the birth of his daughter. He will do another spacewalk Monday, before returning to Earth with the rest of the STS crew on Friday.

Bresnik and his wife adopted a Ukrainian orphan last year, who is now three years old, but this is the first child born to the couple. Mrs. Bresnik, who is an attorney that specializes in international law at Johnson Space Center, said in a pre-flight interview with NASA:

I’m a little disappointed that he won’t be able to be there but understanding that we don’t choose the timing and excited for him that he’s doing what he’s doing. He’s trained one year for this mission but really he’s been here five, almost six years, and I’m just real excited for him and excited for us and just to be gone basically a week beyond her being born. So, I’m excited for him to come home safely.

Bresnik is the second astronaut to become a father while in space. The first was astronaut Mike Fincke, whose wife gave birth while he was working at the International Space Station in 2004. If you would like to view the entire pre-flight interview with Rebecca and Randy, it’s available from NASA here.

Source: NPR, NASA

STS-129 Behind the Scenes: How to Put on the “Pumpkin Suit”

NASA has been creating some behind-the-scenes videos as the STS-129 crew prepares for their upcoming mission to the International Space Station. Astronaut Mike Massimino, of the HST servicing mission fame, hosts and records the videos, and this one is pretty interesting: what it takes to put on the orange launch and entry suits, also known as the Pumpkin Suits. It’s not just the suit itself, but several layers of necessary garments underneath that make suiting up a chore, especially in the microgravity environment of space. Here, commander of STS-129, Charlie Hobaugh (a.k.a. “Scorch”) practices putting on the Pumpkin Suit. You’ll also get to see how the astronauts make their drinks on the space shuttle. Check out the other “behind-the-scenes” videos on the NASATelevision You Tube site; they’ll be adding more as preparations for the flight continues. Launch is currently scheduled for Nov. 16 at 2:28 p.m. EST.