Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson, while performing a space walk Sunday, had a little fun with ground controllers. But the joke may be on them before this mission ends.
Mary Magellan, a ten-year veteran of overseeing shuttle flights in Houston, offered a few details of the day's events, "Those two had been wrestling with a stubborn bolt and a large tank of ammonia for hours. Most of the guys down here were nodding off from boredom. But as soon as they heard those words, everything changed."
It had not been forgotten that today was the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 13 launch and if there are superstitious people anywhere, it is in the space program. So when one of the space walking astronauts piped in with, 'Houston, we have a problem', everybody heard it real well.
"Those technicians down there on the control floor were all about to s**t and fall right back in it!" says Mary. "It was a good spoof though, just a little joke from those guys floating around up there at the ISS. They thought it was funny as hell."
But the devil may be in the details of the return trip as several Mission Control specialists are purportedly planning some get-even. "Oh, they've talked about red-flagging all the primary landing sites in North America, so when they are ready to come home, they'll have to route to some third-tier strip, like Mali or Afghanistan. That would be a real hoot!"
Ms. Magellan went on to say that she didn't think that any of this would actually come about but, "The boys down here really enjoy a good laugh, too. If they could plot Discovery's landing in, say, Kabul, they would also want to spike the reentry weather report for that site with something like, 'Clear and cool, with only light to moderate ground fire expected for touch down.'"
We'll have to wait a few more days to see if NASA's Mission Control gets even or not. Discovery is tentatively schedules to come home on the 19th. Stay tuned!