Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee
Committee on Science
U. S. House of Representatives June 14, 2005
Today, we are going to have a special experience. We are going from Capitol Hill "Live to Space Aboard the International Space Station." We will be talking with Dr. John Phillips, the current U. S. astronaut on the Space Station. From his current abode in Low Earth Orbit, 218 miles above the Earth, Dr. Phillips will answer some of our questions about what it is really like to live in space. This is the first hearing in Congressional history with a witness testifying from space.
Our goal today is to hear first-hand from the astronauts about what it is like to live and to work in space. We will hear directly from the astronauts on how they are dealing with the challenges of operating and maintaining the ISS, as well as hearing about the research that they are conducting. This hearing gives us a chance to learn about what is really going on in space from those most directly involved, rather than to delve into the programmatic and budgetary details of the ISS program.
Members, you will notice that you have information in your packets on special considerations in communicating with Dr. Phillips and today's hearing schedule. The other ISS crew member who is currently on board is Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, the Commander of Expedition 11, who will not be participating in the hearing. We also have two astronauts who have joined us -- each of whom has lived on the ISS previously. The first is Dr. Peggy Whitson who was on the ISS on Expedition 5 from June through December 2002. Our final witness is Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Fincke (USAF) who was a member of Expedition 9 from April through October 2004.
We are going to be very brief in today's opening statements, so that when we get the connection with the ISS, we can move right on to questions. Dr. Peggy Whitson has agreed to deliver the opening statement on behalf of the three astronauts, giving us more time for questions for each of the astronauts. Keep in mind that our connection with the ISS is a total of only 15 minutes. So, instead of the usual 5 minutes for each member, we are going to give each member only 2 minutes, which I will strictly enforce to be fair to everyone. This means that you have two minutes totally for the question and the answer.
Although we will be able to see Dr. Phillips on the ISS, he will be unable to see us, so I ask that when you ask your questions, please identify yourself. There will be a transmission delay, so please wait about a second after you turn on your microphone before beginning to speak. There is also about a 3 second transmission delay before Dr. Phillips will hear you and will respond. Be sure to speak clearly into the microphone. Again, please ask only one question to Dr. Phillips in order to accommodate everyone.
When we lose the connection to the ISS after 15 minutes, Members will have an opportunity to ask questions with the standard 5 minute rule of our two former ISS astronauts that we have here with us today.