The NASA Village
Today in the NASA Village… Space Station to Ground.
Working aboard the Space Station for long duration is definitely a challenge, but being connected with my family keeps me motivated. Psychological and emotional support is extremely important in space. When crew members go from the Earth’s surface to a new environment, it’s not a surprise that we still need to communicate with our loved ones. After all, we are still Earth creatures.
who takes on this huge responsibility to keep me connected to my family? Meet
Gabrielle Cole, one of the Operational Psychology Coordinators at Behavioral
Health & Performance (BHP). She is constantly in touch with my husband in Houston
and my parents in Iowa in order to arrange Private Family Conferences (PFCs) with me on the Space Station. Every week she
goes through my schedule and my family’s in order to find the best time that
suits both parties. Typically, weekends works out the best, but in some cases
we do change it around. There’s a hard scheduled video-conference once a week, and also on special occasions such as holidays, anniversaries and birthdays. Essentially,
Gabrielle always has to be prepared to take on any task necessary to help me
maintain life as normal as possible here on the Space Station.
In addition, Gabrielle also packs my care packages, which are very important for us on the Space Station. She inventories the items given by my family and friends, and submits them to the Materials and Process team. The Materials and Process team makes sure the items are not flammable and are safe for the Space Station. After the items get approved, Gabrielle packs them for transport. When I receive my care packages, usually it is filled with items such as cards, letters, photos, and snacks. Thanks to Gabrielle, I am always pleased with everything that’s in my goodie bag!
While on the Space Station, we are required to exercise 2 hours daily. What do you usually do when you are working out? Well, Gabrielle makes sure that I have a variety of good music to listen to while I am on my daily routine. Using my personal interests profile that I filled out when I was on ground, Gabrielle uploads music, TV Shows, news, movies, magazines, web articles, and even personal videos from family and friends to the ISS Crew Webpage. The ISS Crew Webpage serves as a gateway to up-to-date content that I am able to get in touch with as soon as she uploads it.
Of course, all of this is a lot of responsibility for one person, but when you ask Gabrielle, she says that, “I don’t feel like my job is always work. I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to space exploration and help the crew members feel at home even when they are so far away.”
Do you want more stories? Find our NASA Villagers here!