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Randolph Native Heads To International Space Station03:42Download

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Astronaut Scott Tingle, on Nov. 29 (Courtesy Elizabeth Weissinger/NASA)MoreCloseclosemore
Astronaut Scott Tingle, on Nov. 29 (Courtesy Elizabeth Weissinger/NASA)

Navy Capt. Scott Tingle has a long resume. The Randolph native graduated from UMass Dartmouth, with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, along with a master's degree in engineering, fluid and propulsion from Purdue.

He's flow 48 different aircraft over 4,000 hours, along with 54 combat missions.

In little more than two weeks, he'll add to that resume, as he, and a crew of astronauts, fly to the International Space Station.

He joined Morning Edition to talk about his upcoming mission.

Interview Highlights

On the focus of the Dec. 17 mission

The main focus of the work will be operations and science for the International Space Station. Being a national laboratory, we have to make it safe to operate and to live in, which means we need good life support systems, good water, good air, things like that. But we've got to make it worthwhile and we've got to get the research done.

On the physical effects of extended periods in zero gravity

The big thing that we all notice right off the bat is the fluid shift. So we all prepare for that and try to keep our bodies in good shape.

Another big thing that we're looking at is elongation of the spine. Because we don't have gravity from the earth pulling our bodies together, they tend to stretch out and you get a little bit taller. I'm kind of a short guy, I'm 5 feet 5 inches, so this is going to be the first time I'm going to be over 5 feet 6 inches and I'm getting pretty excited about that.

On preparing to go into space for the first time

I kind of equate it towards being on the aircraft carrier. When you're working really hard, and you're getting ready to fly off the ship and go do your mission, you're very tired when you get there. But you did all your work, you're confident. And all of a sudden you realize, 'Oh, it's time to go,' and then you're wondering if you're going to remember everything. And then the catapult fires and you head off into your mission, and everything works just like clockwork.
I think in the next day or two I'm going to start getting really excited, because it's going to be time to put on the space suit and light the candle.

This segment aired on December 1, 2017.

Jack Lepiarz Twitter Reporter and Anchor
Jack Lepiarz is a reporter and anchor at WBUR.

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