Monday, April 4
Stephanie Finnvik cannot control her excitement. She doesn’t even try. As the team’s only student who flew last year, she knows exactly what she’s getting into.
And she cannot wait.
“I got to fly last year,” says Stephanie, ’12, of Brooklyn Park, Minn. “Today we actually had a little bit of a briefing about flying and I just couldn’t help but think, ‘Oh my gosh, this is really happening again.’ It’s just a great feeling. It’s kind of like an extreme roller coaster because you go up, you experience 2G — which is like sitting on top of yourself and trying to do a push-up at the same time — and then in a matter of five seconds, you’re floating in the middle of the air. One finger pushed against the wall shoots you across to the other.
“It’s an insane feeling but it’s something that I think everyone should experience if they can.”
Stephanie started counting down to flight day months ago. “Last night, when I went to bed, it was 58-1/2 hours until we got on the plane — just in case you were wondering,” she announces to a laughing Prof. Crosby during a morning NASA briefing.
Minutes later, she’s trying on her flight suit in Ellington Field room 993.
“I’ve been waiting for this for approximately 362 days,” she laughs, referring to the day she got her flight suit last year. “I don’t want to take it off, ever.”
She’s not the only one. Every flier is assigned a suit and receives an official NASA badge. The olive green suits are covered with Velcro and zippers: Velcro at the waist and sleeve, zippered pockets at each ankle and knee, across your chest, and on the arm. Once the students try on the suits, many wear them for the rest of the day.
“We’re wearing these to dinner,” Stephanie joked.
Unfortunately when the flight is over, the suits go back to NASA. But the badge? That’s for keeps.
“Our names are in gold, and there’s a NASA emblem on it,” Stephanie says. Then she looks down at her suit again. “Yeah, I’m going to sleep in this.”