Only one thing was missing from the packing list of the first European space station commander: a thrift store suit.
Samantha Cristoforetti was bound for the International Space Station last April, with a special mission in her spare time: disguise (opens in a new tab) as the famous stewardess of “2001: A Space Odyssey”. (In the 1968 film, the unnamed character played by Edwina Carroll thumbs around a space station hatch until it is completely inverted (opens in a new tab) in the field of the camera.)
To replicate the attendant’s Pan-Am-style costume, Cristoforetti needed a full-length white costume topped with a snow-colored cap. “It’s not something I would buy for myself, normally,” Cristoforetti told Space.com during a post-flight press conference with fellow SpaceX Crew-4 members Thursday, October 20. . “But it seemed to fit that need perfectly.”
The movie’s perfect line was a demonstration of the teamwork Cristoforetti instilled during his brief command of space station activities, as well as his six-month Expedition 67/68 orbital mission, which ended on October 14.
“You have to make good use of the time you have with these guys to set them up for success,” the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut said of his two-week time in charge of no less. of 10 people, which included lunar science supervision for the Artemis program and two spacecraft with crew arriving or departing.
Related: Stunning photos from SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission
To set the “2001” vibe, a SpaceX-trained technician helped Cristoforetti figure out how to hang himself upside down with Velcro, and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov found a Velcro-infused hatch on the side of the space station from his country where Cristoforetti could take him for a walk.
After filming in orbit, ESA’s video experts on the ground cut the raw footage into a rhythmic march synchronized with the fanfare overture to “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, which is the 1896 orchestral composition by composer Richard Strauss which any space fan instantly associates with “2001.”
The cosplay Cristoforetti did in orbit this year (she also played characters from the 2013 movie “Gravity” and the 2005 TV series “Battlestar Galactica”) pushed her out of her comfort zone, as she says he has seen “about 15 movies” in his life. The movie “2001”, however, is an exception.
In picture : Making of “2001: A Space Odyssey”
“I actually looked [that] many times, and I really appreciate it and deeply appreciate it as a work of art, and something that has really influenced our visual imagination in regards to space,” she said. “He’s decades old now, but he doesn’t look old. It’s very, very current and priceless.”
Cristoforetti pointed out that, in space, the mission of staying safe, doing science and maintaining a 20-year-old space station comes first. But the first person to make a TikTok space added that any time she can spare to make a new connection is great for audience engagement — and team building.
Related: Europe’s 1st female space station commander says ‘space ninja’ crew ready to go home
Indeed, crew engagement is critical to orbital productivity. To boost the two, NASA astronauts flying with Cristoforetti on the Crew-4 mission bonded over foodie moments. Cristoforetti, an Italian, provided a “plethora of olive oil” to enhance the preparation of orbital meals, according to Crew-4 pilot Bob Farmer, who admitted to loving the cuisine his country is famous for: “I think I was kind of a lasagna guy, for the most part,” he said.
Mission Specialist and first-time flyer Jessica Watkins found that putting anything in a tortilla “made it at least 10% more delicious,” including a burger patty combo she invented that included macaroni, cheese and “just a little barbecue sauce”. The “Watty burger”, as his Crew-4 members called it, “kinda became a thing”.
Crew-4 spacecraft commander Kjell Lindgren had so many cravings for the Watty burger that “I became famous for putting more food in a tortilla than was probably wise or possible,” recalls- he. “One night Bob witnessed a triple-decker – I put an extra side in there – and he claimed I deflated my jaw so I could eat.”
The food culture also brought the astronauts together, with the crew leaving tomatoes behind for the newly arrived SpaceX Crew-5 to enjoy. But Lindgren said there was one mystery he hoped to solve before leaving: the wavelength of Pepto Bismol-colored light in which the crew’s peas, tomatoes and onions caught the sun. .
“It was pink. Very pink. I definitely knew when the light was on, because the whole Columbus module was glowing pink,” Lindgren joked. But regardless of wavelength, the ultra-dew light did the right thing: “The smell of the plants was absolutely amazing.”
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