the first african in space
the crew
Captain's log

Mark Shuttleworth - May 04, 2002: Mark talks to learners in Khayalitsha - Mdonga Onke from Bulunko Secondary - Grade 9
How long did it take you to reach your destination?

Mark Shuttleworth: Onke it took me a lifetime in one sense, it took me a year in another sense, only 2 days in the third sense. Only a year ago it was a life time of dreaming to get into space, a year of training in Russia in star city and working on the project and then only 2 days to docking with the International space station.

Lindokuhle from Masiyele Secondary School - Grade 9
My name is Lindokuhle: What impressed you to go to space and what surprises did you see when you got there?

Mark Shuttleworth: I always dreamed about space, it is the ultimate frontier for technology and exploration we have pretty much explored the earth and now it is time to explore the rest of the universe. It is a great priviledge to be part of that. What has been surprising here is how normal it feels to have everything floating around. It takes a day or 2 to get adjusted and I think itís going to be strange to be adjusted to the earth again when we land on Sunday.

Dastile Thandi from Mathew Goniwe Memorial High School ?
What kind of transport do you use to get there.

Mark Shuttleworth We used the Russian Soyuz rocket which is about 50 meters tall and the actual capsule that carries us is very small, it is only 2 and a half meters across from end to end and inside of that are 3 guys. Itís very very crowded and that small capsule is all that we have to carry us back to the earth on Sunday.

Moyeni Mawethu from Uxolo High School - Grade 8
What is the space look like?

Mark Shuttleworth .......(No Comms)

Joka L from Joe Slovo High School - Grade 9
What do you eat and drink in space?

Mark Shuttleworth: We have a whole bunch of different kinds of food up here. Half of the food is provided by Russia and half the food is provided by America and so we have all kinds of food from shrimp cocktail to all kinds of bread and even diff kinds of meat cooked in different kinds of ways. All we have to do is to heat it up and add water to get it ready.

Laverne Petersen from Montagu Drive Primary - Grade 7
How does it feel to live your dream?

Mark Shuttleworth: Thatís a wonderful question Laverne. It feels exhilarating and absolutely blossoming, like something growing for a long long time. It was incredibly exciting to be sitting there on the launch pad with my friends the crew and about to experience an incredible dream and I hope that what ever your dream is you will pursue it with everything that you have got. Itís just an incredible and satisfying feeling.

Shafeefa Titus from Glendale Secondary - Grade 9
Does one get older in space? Do you get wrinkles?

Mark Shuttleworth: Yes you do in fact. Thatís one of the areas of research that they are currently looking into in space at the moment. Because we have a high level of radiation we donít have the atmosphere to protect us we/astronauts do tend to accelerate in ageing and so thatís a very good area for scientific research in space.

Damane Ncumisa from Thembelihle Senior Secondary School - Grade 8
How do you spend your day?

Mark Shuttleworth: About half of my day or more than half of my day is spent doing scientific work depending on the date. Today was a very relaxed day. And that involves working with different equipment scientific or medical equipment and then about half of the day is spent working with the rest of the crew on different aspects on life in space. Making sure that the craft that we are traveling in are in good shape and then we spend some time looking out at the beautiful earth which is just an incredible sight and it is very difficult to describe it.

Gavin George from Glendale Secondary - Grade 9
How has being in space affected your body?

Mark Shuttleworth: I found it a bit difficult to move around on the first day because the human body balance system depends on gravity and without gravity in weightlessness you feel off balance all the time and it took a day or 2 to get used to that. Once I got used to that, being in space feels incredible. Your body feels just like it does on earth except you can fly.

Makhetha Mbuluki from Thembelihle Senior Secondary School - Grade 8
Is there darkness and light days as on earth?

Mark Shuttleworth: Very much so yes, we see sunrise and sunsets. Because we are going around the earth so fast we see the sun rise and sun set every 3-4 hours. We see 16 sun rises and 16 sun sets every earth day and in between that we have very very dark nights when you can see thousands and thousands of stars very clearly or very bright day light when the sun glares down on the space craft without any atmosphere to protect us.

Nange Zodwa from Khayelitsha - Grade 9
If you cry in space, what happens to the tears, do they fall?

Mark Shuttleworth: There is a wonderful story about an American astronaut who was in space after September 11 and he wrote a very tearful email which was distributed all around NASA about what it felt like to cry in space. I am very happy to say that the only tears that I have experienced in space are tears of joy and being here and seeing the world is very special. It is a strange feeling because tears donít fall down they just build up.

Bernard Jantjies from Glendale Secondary - Grade 9
What was your familyís reactions when you told them you are going to space?

Mark Shuttleworth :........(No comms)

Landing Countdown to 05:51 05 May

Landing Complete!

The Team
Mark Shuttleworth
Dale Cupido
Karen Sharwood
Lara Keytel
Danie Barry
Freddy Khan
Vaughan Oosthuizen
Ravi Naidoo
Vuyo Dwane
Richard Mills
Nicolette Cronje
Wayne Derman
Peter Ribton
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Mark Shuttleworth
10/06/2002: Ticker-tape parade today
10/06/2002: Parade a crowd-puller
03/06/2002: The Afronaut has landed
09/05/2002: Back down to Earth
04/05/2002: Mark talks to learners in Khayalitsha
see also
all entries
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Gallery Highlights

Church of Jesus Christ

Zero-G Heart Rate Data

Next-generation Soyuz TMA Cockpit

Mig-25 Afterburners