MDRS – MAU Commander Report Sol 5 24-01-2020
Title: The Gift of An EVA Abort
Author: Commander John Hanacek
When things don’t go to plan, sometimes it can serve as a powerful gift. Today’s EVA was meant to serve as a medical training scenario using previously gathered coordinates. Instead it turned into a deeply useful learning and coordination opportunity for both stations’ EVA crews. Our post EVA debrief led to a productive session of solidifying EVA abort criteria, and tangible lessons and improvements in intra-team communications, both over the radio and as a group. The debrief went into the time allotted for the second EVA, which the commanders cancelled. We spent the rest of the day catching up on science and connecting as a crew. As commander of MAU station, I am deeply grateful that we were able to achieve a positive outcome despite needing to abort an EVA. The crew performed admirably with adverse comms conditions We revealed that we had some structural issues with our communications technology, and techniques, and we were unclear about abort protocols. After this morning’s EVA, this is no longer the case. These kinds of lessons are powerful gifts, they show the cracks without breaking the vase. I am deeply grateful to the crew for problem solving as best they could in adverse conditions, and for each bringing their unique background, knowledge and experience to the post EVA briefing. Together we were able to achieve a new level of understanding with each other, and solidify protocols for the unique station to station situation. As pioneers of the station to station paradigm, we are pushing the envelope with coordination between teams. As astronauts we are committed to safety even before our heart felt desire to explore and learn on Mars.