We finished the NASA training on a high note on Friday, with a debrief and press conference. Everyone seems happy. In future, they will probably try to arrange at least three weeks of training for people who are seeing the US segment for the first time, including the Russian cosmonauts who are assigned to backup crews. There is lots more that I'd have like to have learned, especially from a practical point of view working with the network and comms system. But we covered the basics well.
It was great to visit Houston. I think we'll be able to keep a strong line of communication open with NASA. Freddie Kahn, our man in Houston, seems to have settled in nicely. NASA has been fantastic on the education and training front. As it happened, they had a big conference on 'education and the space program' over the weekend so Freddie was able to learn a lot more in a short space of time. Debbie Brown from NASA has been extraordinarily helpful. So the Cape Town team will have plenty in the way of content to work with in the efforts.
It isn't necessarily all plain sailing. We'll have to work carefully through some of the detail. While NASA seems satisfied that I can be treated like a member of the crew in principle, there are going to be some sticky issues. Hopefully we can get those resolved. It makes things a LOT easier that this isn't a for-profit initiative. That would be very hard for NASA to handle under their current policies. But having Freddie in Houston as an ongoing liason means that we can address the issues as they arise. He's going to get some background training on the mission control procedures and processes, and during the flight he'll be in ISS Mission Control Center.