· Respect - On the Eighth Week of our training for the upcoming launch, MLA (Michael López-Alegría, Head of our Task Force), has been inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. The ceremony was outstandingly impressive. Veteran and novice astronauts alike arrived to congratulate and share experiences. Altogether there were plenty of space-years in that hall, including the mustachioed trailblazers of the seventies and impressive women that led space missions. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson even mentioned us as part of the astronauts present in the hall. For me this is still a dream, even though the countdown has fallen below 100 days to liftoff!
· Paella, wine and gossip - Mike hosted us on the lawn together with his son Nico, with his own homemade Paella, prepared the classic Spanish way. We arrived on time and drank wine non-stop for 3 hours, while Mike chopped the onions and peppers, preparing this delicacy one step at a time. I failed in my attempts to extract some juicy stories from his past. Only Scott Kelly, who has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and this twin brother Senator Mike Kelly (identical twins, both astronauts) shared their stories as single men in NASA, Scott told that as opposed to his brother who was an outstanding student, sportsman and basically in everything else he did, he himself was a lousy student and to this day he doesn’t understand how he was hired by NASA.
· Tour of the Kennedy Space Center KSC - we toured NASA’s hospitality facility at the KSC, the areas from which the guests will be able to experience the launch. Here too, as everywhere else in the world, there are restrictions on gatherings due to the Coronavirus and for security reasons. This is the gateway to space, from here the Apollo missions were launched to the moon, all the space shuttles and all the manned launches to space - they were all done from here. At the Kennedy Space Center and all around it, one can see, hear and feel the power of the rocket, which within three short minutes is going to hurl us out of the atmosphere!