St. Louis Public Radio News
2:41 pm
Mon October 14, 2002

Area Astronaut Giddy About First Space Flight

St. Louis, MO – Astronauts on NASA's current mission to the International Space Station will perform their final spacewalk today.

Belleville, Illinois, native Sandra Magnus is one of three astronauts on her first trip to space. She'll be running a robotic arm during today's spacewalk, which will be used to carry cargo or astronauts around during the mission.

But Magnus told reporters on Earth yesterday she spent her first couple hours in weightless space just giggling. "At first I kind of felt this constant feeling of being pulled up and I think it's because my muscles were still trying to keep me [down] and I was fighting it," said Magnus.

"And then after a day or two you relax and you get used to being at very unusual attitudes. For example, I tend to like to hang out on the ceiling."

Magnus is also spending her time transferring cargo between the space station and the space shuttle Atlantis, making sure whatever has to come back to Earth will be aboard the shuttle before it undocks from the space station.

"Unfortunately we can't take enough stuff down because of the weight constraints and the body constraints we have in the shuttle we can't get everything down," Magnus said. "But it's going smoothly; we're on time with all of our transfers and hopefully we'll try to squeeze a few more things in. I'm going to bug the ground about that later."

Atlantis is scheduled to land on Friday.