In the Age of Spaceplanes

Stories from the shuttle astronauts, in their own words.


Pam Melroy: Somebody Else's House


When I flew on STS-92, there was no crew living onboard the station yet. We opened the hatch, kind of threw our stuff in, and hung out like it was a hotel room we were visiting. It was our space. We could do whatever we wanted, because nobody lived there. But then on STS-112 and –120, I was visiting somebody else’s house. So all those little subtle details about where you put stuff, it’s a big deal. And there are some real challenges. One thing I was very happy about is that Peggy Whitson and I had flown together before, when I was on STS-112 and she was living on the space station. I got a pretty good sense of who she was and how she liked to do things. So having her as the commander of the station, and me as the commander of the shuttle, was a big plus for both of us. We’d actually flown together, and you just don’t know people until you fly with them.

Pictured: Left to right: Peggy Whitson, Sandra Magnus, and Pam Melroy onboard the International Space Station, October 2002.

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