Spaceflight Now: Space Station/STS-98

Space station residents give New Year's message

Posted: December 29, 2000

The Expedition One crew: Yuri Gidzenko, Sergei Kirkalev and Bill Shepherd. Photo: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now
The Alpha astronauts beamed down New Year's greetings Friday, saying "let the real space odyssey 2001 proceed."

Commander William Shepherd, flight engineer Sergei Krikalev and Soyuz pilot Yuri Gidzenko fielded questions from reporters in an early morning communications session, saying they plan to mark the arrival of the new year with at least one - and probably two - special meals.

"I think we're going to be over the states when we have midnight on our day, which is Greenwhich Mean Time," Shepherd said.

"We have these boxes of food that are called bonus containers and they have all the goodies in them. I'm sure we'll be breaking that out for New Year's Eve and also New Year's Day and going through a lot of that special food."

Asked what they missed up in space, Shepherd said "I miss just being at home with my wife. We have a new dog in the family, so I'm missing my wife and my two dogs." Gidzenko said he missed family and friends while Krikalev quipped "We are missing gravity here."

The pace of work aboard the station has leveled off and the crew members enjoyed a break over Christmas. Shepherd said his wife sent him a particularly welcome gift aboard the shuttle Endeavour.

"Actually, it was a wrench that my wife had made for me out of titanium," he said. "It's kind of her joke to me about my hobby for fixing things and it was a very special present."

Floating in the roomy Zvezda command module, the Alpha astronauts ended the communications pass by beaming down a short New Year's greeting to flight controllers, engineers and the public.

"The exploration of space is a powerful symbol of the promise of a new year and of the possibilities of a new millenium," Shepherd said.

"We are a small part of a large international team which has in the year past established this new outpost above the planet," Krikalev added. "The age where humans have a presence away from Earth has already started."

"To mark this new year," Gidzenko said, "the crew of Alpha would like to honor the many dedicated men and women who have pioneered space travel."

"And to salute now," Shepherd concluded, "the unprecedented space effort that threw together the best of human technology, science and engineering, expanding our knowledge and capabilities, defining us as a spacefaring civilization. Let the real space odyssey 2001 proceed."

Video vault
The international space station crew addresses the people of planet Earth in a New Year's message.
  PLAY (354k, 59sec QuickTime file)

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