A Letter Home from Mir
The following is David Wolf's latest letter to those on Earth. The subject -- the Progress supply ship docking with the space station Mir.
News story originally written on October 28, 1997
It was almost eerie to see the robot ship loom in out of the darkness. Slowly close in and perfectly 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