FROM 1-21. Equator to Left Turn

Sep 19, 2005 - 2315hrs UTC

2315hrs 19 Sep 2005 UTC 00’22”N 026’12”W Ref 376

Some idle rumination – nothing whatever to do with the price of fish, but interesting.

Think Hippopotami – lumbering ungainly beasts with ill fitting folded skin (perhaps someone can find Kipling’s story – better still, Jack Nicholson reading it?) and prone to sunburn. I once saw a short film clip of hippos swimming underwater – cloudy, muddy water and they were shapes rather that detailed images – probably Attenborough rather than Cousteau – and was utterly mesmerised. These huge lumbering beasts were gliding in slow motion and astonishing beauty on dainty toes in graceful arcs like Nureyev and Fonteyn on downers. Wonderful.

I was moved by the similarity between them and the Apollo astronauts moonwalking in one-sixth gravity and more recently remembered them when I watched Eileen Collins’ breathtaking Shuttle flip a few weeks ago when she looped the big lumbering beast and held it for 93 seconds while Krikalev and Phillips in the ISS filmed its belly and checked it for damage, before she brought it back to stable orbit. Wonderful stuff – that clip is on the NASA website at www.nasa.govif anyone is interested.

Here is the clip:

And I get goosebumps all over when I think that our satphone number is up there somewhere. ISS 11 must be due to land soon – they will have been flying for six months in October. Leroy Chiao is in Russia supporting ISS 12 as I write.

Who is this fool burbling on? Bring on Pelagia’s goat immediately – we desperately need ruminant digestive censorship on this website.

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