On 19th March 2016, new crew boarded the International Space Station in a Soyuz space capsule. The crew consists of 2 Russians Oleg Skripochka, Alexey Ovchinin and NASA’s Jeff Williams.
But this change of crew won’t be routine for Jeff Williams, following their six month expedition, Jeff will hold the American record for the most space time- 534 days, in over 3 months of expedition. Quite a feat.
Born in 1958, Jeffery Nels Williams, retired from the United States Army as a Colonel after serving for 27 years of active service. He has his Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science and Engineering, Masters in Aeronautical Engineering and even a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He also has an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration.
What does he do?
He joined NASA astronaut class in 1996. Being an engineer, Jeff performs various technical duties in both the space shuttle and International Space Station (ISS). He has also led the development of space shuttle cockpit upgrade at Marshall Space Flight Centre.
For all the Alices, International Space station is a habitable artificial satellite, orbiting the earth. The station has zero gravity and due to exposure to space, it is a perfect place for scientific research. It is a relatively safe location to test space crafts for longer mission to mars and moon.
ISS can be reached through Soyuz rockets which can only accommodate 3 people at a time and Dragon is used for the return to the Earth as Soyuz’s down mass capability is very low.
How is Jeff different from the astronauts of Mars and Moon Mission?
Mars never had the opportunity to be visited by the superior Homo sapiens. We have been sending landers, rovers and orbiters since 1960. There are technicians and astronauts that are specially assigned for the building of space crafts that intend to study and observe Mars.
Moon has been lucky enough to be graced by our visits in 1968. Astronauts are specially trained for this. The space crafts made for this purpose are designed to accommodate more people than the Soyuz rocket.
On the other hand Jeff is sent for the maintenance of the ISS. An aeronautical engineer, Jeff is responsible for the proper working of the space crafts and other space equipments.
One can only wish him the best of luck as he embarks on this journey, for six months, away from family and mother earth and when he returns, to be welcomed by the title “The American Man with the most space time.”