- "In five months in space, I have seen unidentified
flying objects for sure. Sometimes I looked out of the window and I could
see a metallic thing like a spoon flying methodically."
- DUBAI -- A Nasa astronaut
said yesterday that his experience in outer space has changed his whole
perspective towards life.
- "I am a different person now," said astronaut
Dr. Jerry Linenger whose challenging five month journey into space created
history. "When you are out there looking at the Earth below, you see
the big picture that changes your whole outlook.
- It's kind of strange. You have the big view of the world,
but you are alone, you are cut off. You start to realise a lot about yourself
and human nature, and ultimately it changes your whole perspective towards
- Isolated, cramped and living in stark darkness for five
months in space, speaking only Russian, fighting the worst fire ever to
occur in space, tumbling out of control inside a power-dead space station
in utter blackness with oxygen running low. All this was in a day's work
- He was the first American ever to undock from a space
station in a Russian Soyuz capsule and the first American to do a spacewalk
in a Russian spacesuit.
- At mission completion, Dr Linenger held the endurance
record for the longest time in space for an American male. He told journalists
in Dubai, "What was unique in my space experience was living on my
own with two Russians for five months.
- "During that time we faced numerous life-threatening
events, including repeated failure of critical life-support systems, a
near-collision that sent the space station tumbling uncontrollably through
- In spite of these challenges, Dr Linenger and his two
Russian crewmates accomplished all mission goals - shuttle dockings, spacewalk,
Soyuz flyaround and all the U.S. science experiments.
- On completing the mission, he logged 50 million miles
- the equivalent of over 110 round trips to the moon - travelling at an
average speed of 18,000 miles per hour. "Back on earth I count my
blessings every day."
- About the value of teamwork and determination, Dr Linenger
said: "One thing that I really learnt was that everybody talks about
teamwork, teamwork and teamwork. But I found that if you are not individually
competent and if you don't prepare yourself well, you are worthless to
- In a lighter vein, when asked whether the controversy
over UFO's holds any truth, Dr. Linenger said: "I have been asked
that question so many times. In five months in space, I have seen unidentified
flying objects for sure.
- "Sometimes I looked out of the window and I could
see a metallic thing like a spoon flying methodically. The biggest problem
in space is that it is very hard to judge distance. It could have been
a spoon or a space ship thousands of miles away.
- "Let me tell you one thing, I have never heard someone
knock at the door and say - Hey Jerry let me in!"
- Dr. Linenger was in Dubai to speak at the BurJuman Retail
Conference at the Emirates Towers Hotel.