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Stationed in the Stars
Working in Space:
Jim Newman

Back to Astronauts in Hard Hats

"The tasks themselves are actually rather mundane. Although the environment is rather exciting, we were hooking up power and data cables between Zarya, the Russian control module, and Unity, the American-built node. So we were hooking up data cables, power cables, we were putting out sun shades, cleaning things up, preparing for the next missions. So on some level, the tasks are the mundane tasks that go into building something—to making a laboratory, an office building, ready for people to inhabit it and do work in it.

"That's what's fascinating about it. It is the environment in the end which is the challenge and not the mundane tasks. It's being able to go outside and to have only two people at a time typically, and to work in a vacuum with temperature extremes from -200°F to +200°F, and [going] from daylight, and 45 minutes later it's dark, 45 minutes later it's day."

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