Saturday, March 14, 2009

6.6 million-mile trip, but you can pack only 10 items

Last year at this time, Col. Greg Johnson was realizing his dream. He was the pilot of the Endeavor Space Shuttle and in the middle of a 16-day trip in space. The trip involved 250 orbits of earth and a stop at the space station where he helped build a robot. When he came home he had travelled 6.6 million miles.

When astronauts go into space, they are allowed to take 10 personal items. Johnson chose photos of his family, photos of his parents, the usual choices. One item was not so usual, though -- the A playing card from an ACBL offical deck of cards.

As you probably guessed, Johnson is a bridge player who is participating here at the Houston North American Bridge Championship. I interviewed him yesterday, and he said he took the card to express his appreciation of bridge and his love of the game.

ADDENDUM: After the interview, he told this (that I couldn't include in the story for obvious reasons). NASA is big on abbreviations and acronyms. When he applied for NASA he was what is called an Astronaute Candidate. They call them Ass Cans. When you get accepted into the program, you're called an Astronaut Hopeful, which they call Ass Ho for short! Too funny.

You can see the photo I took of him and the story if you click here.

If you'd rather, you can see what wikipedia says about him here.

More stuff about him here or here.

[Johnson had a laptop with a slide show going. The blue reflection (or whatever) on my sweater is from the slide show.]


  1. All I can say is Wow! I've got a pot of coffe on ready in a moment, then I'll read the story.

    Fun to see your image as well. Of course not as fun as a full fledged astronaut. But you know, fun in it's own right :-D


  2. “I want to play bridge more, said Johnson, but my job gets in the way. I hoped to play the entire time here, but there is another launch scheduled some time this week, and if it goes as scheduled, I’ll have to be on duty.”

    Say what? Space flight got in the way of cards? How can ANYTHING get in the way of space flight?! I'd even give up poker for an orbit or two. At least during take off (chips might fall over the place).

    Definately Quote of the Day!


  3. pretty cool. sounds like you're enjoying your time there.

  4. 16.6 million miles encompasses a lot of bathroom breaks, imo.

    Waiting to hear how you do against what is probably great competition ...