One of the ways in which I was able to combine my passions of crafting and space during my Rachel in Space adventures was with this little project I stitched up the night Endeavour returned to Earth at the end of the STS-130 mission. Each mission has a handful of deorbit options, depending on weather or other constraints, and you can read more about why I was compelled to stitch one of these maps over on my blog. I started stitching when the crew got the “go” for deorbit burn, and completed the project with just less than 10 minutes before they touched down at Kennedy Space Center on February 21.
Earlier this week, I was able to return to the Space Center Houston for the STS-130 crew debrief event, where awards are given for the ground team and the crew live-narrates a mission highlights video and then takes questions from the audience. After the presentation, crew members signed autographs for some of the hundreds of audience members who were hardcore enough to wait in line. I took my freshly (albeit roughly) mounted embroidered deorbit map along with the iPhoto book I made of my STS-130 adventure to be signed.
As I approached the signing table, I had a moment of panic. Would the crew members recognize the deorbit map? Would it even be something with which they are familiar, or was it just a ground crew item? Would they look at me and wonder why in the heck I would sit and embroider their deorbit path as they were landing?
Fortunately, it was none of the above. When I set the piece down in front of Commander, Geoge Zamka and asked, “Do you recognize this?” He instantly got a huge smile on his face and said, “Oh, wow! That’s our trajectory!” He and pilot, Terry Virts, proceeded to make comments about their experience coming down that very flight path. For a space geek crafter like myself, it couldn’t get much better. But it did. As the piece made its way down the line of crew members, each seemed pleasantly surprised and genuinely interested in the project. It was the perfect wrap-up to this entire space adventure. Thanks so much for following along.
Special thanks to Robert Pearlman of collectSPACE for the picture of the signed deorbit map, and to Cindy Mahler for her pictures of the crew signing the map!