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Interview to Astronaut Doi
October 6, 1997 August 1, 1997

Time: October 6, 1997
Place: NASDA Houston Office

Q: It's now about a month away from your launch. How is your preparation going?
A: The training is now in its peak, so we are very busy now. One session of an EVA training is six hours long, and so far we have done nine sessions with four more to go. It takes this much practice to master the necessary techniques for EVA. In each training there is a new discovery, so it is very rewarding work. EVA training requires a deal of concentration and it is really exhausting, but I know I'm getting better each time, and teaming with Winston, I am learning to asses the situation around me.

Q: What other training do you need to do?
A: There's a lot. EVA training is the most tough one, but the next is the Joint Integrated Simulation (JIS). We take a time slice out of the actual mission time line, and we rehearse the mission with all of the ground staff at Mission Control Center. The JIS takes place once or twice a week. This week we are doing a twelve hour rehearsal for the retrieval of SPARTAN.

Q: What is the meaning of this mission's EVA to the International Space Station?
A: The main objective of our mission's EVA is to evaluate the performance of an EVA crane to be used for the International Space Station. This crane is about 1.8 meters high, and 5.3 meters long when the boom is extended. This crane will be used during the construction of the International Space Station to move large objects that astronauts are unable to handle.

Q: From now until launch, what is the most difficult training?
A: There are four more EVA training sessions, and a launch rehearsal called the Final Countdown in the beginning of November. In this training, we will don the orange flight suit and board the Orbiter standing on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center.

Q: How tough are these training?
A: Both physically and mentally, it's very tough. But only by completing all of these training I will be prepared for the mission. The crew members of STS-87 is a very good team, and we are supporting each other during these tough times.

Q: You still have some training to do before launch, but at this point, how prepared are you?
A: I can manage to conduct my task even now, but another month of training will give me even more confidence.

Q: The EVA done from the Russian Space Station MIR looked very slow.
A: You need to get used to the space environment, so your movement are very slow. A gentle push of the wall will make your body spin. We need to calculate these effects of space environment and move carefully in the most effective manner.

Q: What is the most difficult task during the EVA?
A: In order to move from one place to another in space, you will always have to grasp something to prevent yourself from floating away. But if your grip is too tight, your body will move in the other direction. You must softly touch the handrails and move along. This is the basic point of moving in space.

Q: Do you learn to control your body movements through your training?
A: It is impossible to make a complete simulation of the space environment during training. Even the training conducted in the pool at NBL is different, because the water will generate resistance and therefore body movements will be more stable and predictable than in space. The only way to master moving in space is to actually do this in space.

Q: How will it feel to step out of the airlock into space?
A: I'm really looking forwards to the experience. I am thinking of going out of the hatch head first. The shuttle will be facing the Earth, so this would be the first thing that I will see.

Q: You are an amateur astronomer. What would you like to see in space?
A: I would like to watch the Earth as long as possible. I've only seen the north half of the Milky Way, so I would especially like to see the southern part from space.

Q: What is your favorite constellations?
A: I like the winter Orion, the summer Harp, the Milky Way and spherical global clusters. I will not bring a telescope with me on board, but the shuttle is equipped with a binocular, so I will use this to observe the stars.

Q: Astronaut Wakata did Japanese calligraphy during his mission. Do you plan to do anything special?
A: I will draw some pictures of the stars and the shuttle with color pencils and crayons.

Q: Crayons?
A: We cannot use liquid paint in the shuttle, so I will bring a set of 24 color crayons. I am not particularly an artist, but I am fond of drawing pictures.

Q: Were there any other astronauts who drew pictures in space?
A: Maybe. But for NASDA this is the first time. In the future, the Space Station will probably accommodate studies in areas other than science, which will open the doors for artistic activities in space. This will also be an experiment to see if drawing pictures in space is possible.

Q: Have you decided what personal items you will bring to space?
A: I have already handed them over to NASA. These are all precious items, such as the lens from my first binocular, and some things from my friends.

Q: Will you use that lens in space?
A: No, I can not open these personal items in space.

Q: Are you bringing a soccer flag to space?
A: Soccer was my favorite sport since I was a child, so I will bring a flag from the Japanese soccer league. I am not sure about my plan to bring a soccer ball yet.

Q: What is space to you?
A: Our frontier, mankind's future place for activities.

Last Updated : November 12, 1997

| Profile | Interview | Astronaut Doi ready for EVA |
| Astronaut Doi's schedule until Launch | Message to Astronaut Doi |
| Today's activity of astronaut Doi | Astronaut Doi's Status Report |

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