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Freewheeling gets into the hot seat with NASA's Mission Control / 11 December 2013

Our next ‘pinch me’ moment was mission control. The public tour takes a look at historic Mission Control, which was used for the Gemini and Apollo missions. Following that we then had the privilege of being shown the actual, live mission control.

Similarly laid out, with several projection screens monitoring live information being beamed from the ISS, it was interesting to note that the work stations are now all on a wheelchair accessible level floor area, rather than the previous tiered system.

We watched the screens in awe as astronaut Tom Hopkins conducted a live experiment 230 miles above us. (Check out his Twitter feed @AstroIllini for some amazing photos.)

Sue and I discussed that comparing Freewheeling to NASA seems just ridiculous, but when we thought about it, with Freewheeling working at the micro level compared to NASA’s macro, there are similarities. Everyone we met, without exception conveyed the sense of family and team very strongly. Every person is extremely proud to be working towards the NASA mission.

Like Sue’s work, NASA is all about viewing the world from a different perspective. We both took a lot of inspiration from that, and the fact that this is a truly international collaboration in which old adversaries are sharing information and resources for a common goal. Also, by doing something very specific with space travel, the goal is always focussed on improving life on earth for everybody. Much like Sue’s artwork, which on first look is very specific, but also speaks about humanity on a more universal level.

We made so many connections with people there and whilst we took huge inspiration from the visit, they also took genuine inspiration from ‘Creating the Spectacle!’.

I never thought I’d be in a room with an astronaut talking to Sue about the technical challenges of flying wheelchairs! Several people were convinced this wouldn’t be our only trip to NASA and who knows what might happen with these connections that we have made. Watch this SPACE! 

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