Last week's funniest ISS console ops story: "Sucky Pants"

Written by Bob McCormick on 10/02/2006 11:00:00 PM


I managed to survive another week of ISS console ops. As I said in an earlier post, I had to work the "graveyard" shift. The major thing that occurred last week was the overlap of the next Expedition crew. Expedition 14 - Michael Lopez-Alegria and Mikhail Tyurin), and their visiting crewmember, Anousheh Ansari, arrived with the Soyuz launch and docking during the previous week. The previous Expedition crew (Expedition 13 - Pavel Vinogradov and Jeffrey Williams), along Anousheh Ansari, took the existing Soyuz back down to Earth this past Friday. Thomas Reiter, who came up on STS-121 and was with the Expediton 13 crew, will stay with the Expedition 14 crew but will return to Earth before them, and be replaced by Sunita Williams (no relation to Jeffrey Williams) on a later Shuttle flight.

The funniest thing happened before my Wednesday shift. As FCT shifts hand over from one shift to the next, each Flight Controller develops log entries during their shift and note the significant work and operations that the next shift will have to execute. As a part of that process, I asked my counterpart what were the significant events that were to occur on orbit during my shift.

As it so happened, some of the Expedition 13 crew were undergoing something called a "Lower Body Negative Pressure" protocol, for a period of time. It looks something like the picture here. The idea is for the crewmember to jump into a kind of "bag" which has some of its air pressure taken out, relative to what the upper body is experiencing. This helps draw blood down to the lower part of the body, which helps crewmembers on long-duration zero g flights, as their circulatory system hasn't had a gravitational pull on it, and helps their acclimation to the regular gravitational pull on their circulatory system when they arrive back on Earth.

Anyways, the LBNP has a legitimate technical need. Nevertheless, as I reviewed the activities on the plan, I mentally shortened the LBNP activity to "Sucky Pants".

Problem is, I said that with my outer voice.

The Ops Planner I took the handover from thought it was the. funniest. thing. ever. And come to think of it, she was right! She shared what I said with our back room support (on a private voice loop), who agreed.

After our quick individual handover, the oncoming FCT shift normally spends a quick session on one of the FCT loops reviewing, Flight Controller by Flight Controller, the significant events and items the FCT needed to do for the shift. While I was doing my part, the offgoing Ops Planner and the backroom were triple-dog daring me to call the activity "Sucky Pants". I was tempted, but I did not want to make a career-limiting move.

So, I thought it would be better to share it with you, my steadfast and loyal blog readers.

"Sucky Pants" ... :*)

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  1. 2 comments: Responses to “ Last week's funniest ISS console ops story: "Sucky Pants" ”

  2. By Anonymous on 8:38 AM

    Sucky pants!! some day you will say it!!!

  3. By Bob McCormick on 10:32 PM

    Apparently blogging it is not enough for you "Anonymous" ones???