If you put together all its missions, Discovery has been in orbit for an amazing total of 352 days so far. The STS-133 mission will now be 12 days, after a one-day extension. This will take the complete count to 364 days. Come on NASA, could we keep it up there for one more day? The space shuttles’ returns have been delayed many times in the past – for mission reasons or technical or weather problems – why not take the total time to a full year just for kicks?
If I were the Discovery’s crew, I would pull an Ed White* up there, and ignore mission control for a day.
On June 3, 1965, during the Gemini 4 mission, White was having so much fun during his first space walk – the first American space walk in history, in fact – that he just wouldn’t get back into the spacecraft. Since they were having problems with their new communication system – which would have simultaneously connected the two astronauts and mission control – White couldn’t receive orders from flight control. The orders had to be relayed through Gemini 4’s commander Jim McDivitt.
This is not Ed White, but Alvin Drew emerging from the Quest airlock on the International Space Station to begin his spacewalk. Drew is the 200th human to perform a spacewalk.
McDivitt to White: I’m going out to PUSH-TO-TALK and see what the Flight Director has got to say.
Flight Director Chris Kraft, to Grissom: The Flight Director says, get back in! (Kraft was not on the air-to-ground loop with the astronauts.)
McDivitt: Gus, this is Jim. Got any message for us?
Grissom: Gemini 4, get back in!
McDivitt to White: Okay… They want you to come back in now.
Yes, they definitely have to make up some bollocks excuse, like the pee machine has a dangerous leak or there has been an explosion after trying to mix some dehydrated strawberries with Tang.