|Duane Gene “Digger” Carey|
April 30, 1957 |
Saint Paul, Minnesota
|Rank||Lieutenant colonel, USAF|
Time in space
|10d 22h 10m|
|Selection||1996 NASA Group|
You know, Scooter's going to do the first separation burn; I'm going to do the second separation burn.
I could do exploration in this particular career field, and it was a goal that, even if I didn't reach it, it was so high it seemed almost impossible, but even if I didn't reach it, I would still have a good time and a very satisfying career.
I see it as one of my jobs to make sure that, it sounds ridiculous, but to make sure the folks are eating, make sure folks are getting enough fluids, make sure folks are, you know, comfortable in the orbiter.
And, I wouldn't consider myself to be a natural pilot; I've had to work at it.
One of the jokes on our flight is that, if we have a normal entry day going, the plan is for me… to actually take the orbiter first and fly it for maybe 10 or 15 seconds and then hand it on over to Scooter.
Now, I've never flown in space; but the folks who have say that on landing day, you know, you've just spent maybe a week and a half, sometimes two weeks in orbit and you're used to the things happening slowly in space.
Being in space, I'm really looking forward to working with this team of folks that I'm with.
And, so I set my goals on astronaut because, as a military aviator, it was, I considered that to be about the peak of a flying career.
I'm looking forward to coming back, back to Earth, the landing, the views.
I had, before I went to college, I had taken a few years off after high school and really had, I guess in those days, I had no intentions of going to college.
And, one thing I definitely enjoyed personally, from a selfish point of view, was exploration and going to places that I had never been to before and learning, you know, meeting the people and getting to know, new sights and sounds, etc.
Now you're coming back to Earth, and things are getting more and more dynamic.
And, all these things need to be coordinated; so we all need to work together, have timers going and everything so we're all coordinated and get this piece of orchestration done.
And, that's what I truly believe that we're doing when we're advancing scientific knowledge is we're someday making the world better. Not only for our children, but for all people after that.
And then, when I thought about joining the Air Force, flying seemed like a natural extension of the motorcycling experience. You're going faster, higher. You're operating a machine that's a lot more powerful than you are.
So, whenever Scooter was the Pilot, he never had a chance to fly the orbiter. So, the joke is: I'm going to have a chance to fly it first and hand it over to him.
I worked for some very good people who have helped me along the way and actually enabled me to have the opportunity to be selected to join the Astronaut Corps.
And, I was really impressed with how beautiful our country was and how friendly the people were.
I consider myself to be very fortunate in my career, my timing has worked out.
And, actually it was interesting because I had done a lot of traveling in the United States and Canada and Mexico on my motorcycle; and I was really, it was the first time I had really gotten out of the Minnesota area to speak of.
So, I decided that whatever I was, wanted to do with my life, it would have to do, it would have to have something to do with the exploration and doing new things.
That's what Hubble can do for us. It can tell us whether the universe is expanding forever or if one day it's going to come back together.
And, obviously as a, as one who likes to travel around myself a lot, I think the Earth is a beautiful place. And, I'm looking forward to some new perspectives.
Because when we're in space, my job is primarily getting us there and getting us back.
You know, piloting really isn't my hobby. And, it's probably not something I'd do in my spare time if I could do whatever I wanted to do. But, I'll tell you: if you've got to make a living, it's a great way to make a living!
There's been a tremendous amount of work that's been done that you can't see in Columbia.
Rendezvous day is the third day of our mission, and that's a big day for us.