Astronaut Tim Kopra, who was replaced on Discovery's STS-133 crew in January after he was injured in a bike accident, made a call to his former crewmates Friday, telling them he was there with them "in spirit."
"We have got a special guest in the room that would like to pass on his greetings," radioed spacecraft communicator or capcom Steve Robinson from Mission Control in Houston. "Tell [commander Steven Lindsey] it's MS2 [mission specialist 2], version one."
Astronaut Tim Kopra, left on crutches, in Mission Control. Credit: NASA TV
"I just wanted to tell you guys you all had an awesome launch and we're all very proud of you down here," said Kopra.
"Great to hear your voice Tim," responded Lindsey. "Appreciate the good words. It was a great launch. Can't tell you how much we wish you were here with us as well."
"Well, I am sure you know I feel the same way but I definitely feel like I am there in spirit. I am especially looking forward to seeing Steve and Al go out the door and do great work," said Kopra.
Before being replaced by mission specialist Steve Bowen, Kopra was to have led STS-133's two spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVAs). While still on the mend — he walked into Mission Control on Friday using crutches — Kopra helped re-plan the spacewalks for Bowen and Al Drew and will be in Mission Control to assist them during both outings.
"We really appreciate you being willing to go on console and help us out during our EVAs," said Lindsey.
"My pleasure," replied Kopra. "I am enjoying watching you guys. Keep up the great work."
Kopra, left, talks with his former crewmates in space. Capcom Steve Robinson
and flight director Bryan Lunney are to his right. Credit: NASA TV
"Hey Timmy, it's Nicole. I just want to say I love you and like Steve said, we wish you were here but we're also very happy that you'll be supporting us from the ground," added Nicole Stott.
"I look forward to talking to you on EVA days," she said. Stott will guide Drew and Bowen through the spacewalks as their intravehicular officer.
"Love you back and it's going to be a great couple of EVAs," Kopra said.
"We miss your booming zero-g laughter up here," radioed Michael Barratt from Discovery. "I have to tell you that you are here in a little bit more than spirit but we'll have to explain that when we get back."
"Well, I'm looking forward to that Mike," replied Kopra. "It is great to hear your voice."
"Alright man, you keep watching us and we will try to do our best for you and make you proud with the plan you came up with," said Barratt.
"Sounds good. Take care of those helmets, moving them with the arm," said Kopra, referring to the two spacewalkers and Barratt's control of the robotic arm during the EVAs.
"Let us know if we're screwing up!" Barratt radioed.
"Will do," said Kopra.
"Alright Discovery," injected Robinson, "just goes to show that you have a seven person crew — they're just not all up there with you."