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Orbiting Aggie Talks to News 3, Answers Kids' Questions

Texas A&M graduate Mike Fossum made the longest of long distance calls Sunday. It was placed to News 3 from, literally, out of this world.

The astronaut is aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on a mission to the International Space Station. While in orbit, he will make three spacewalks to help install a school-bus sized module on the ISS.

Fossum, an Air Force reserve colonel, is on board Discovery for the second time. He made his first trip to space in 2006.

You can watch the video from News 3's interview with the 1980 Aggie grad. His quotes are also listed below.

You can also find links to more information on Fossum, Discovery's latest mission and the shuttle program by clicking on the links below this story.

Read Steve's blog about the interview by clicking this link.

Fossum on the ride into orbit:
"The trip up was awesome. It was just a flawless countdown. The vehicle was really clean coming through all the work at the Kennedy Space Center, and we just walked out and did it just like we'd practiced. Next thing you know, the Gs are building more than they do in the simulator, and we're in orbit."

Fossum on how his first trip to space helped him with this mission:
"In a lot of ways, there are differences in the mission, but the ride up was not a surprise, and getting used to working in zero gravity is always a little bit of a surprise when nothing stays put and it takes a whole lot more effort to work with things. We were just mentally prepared and knew what we were doing and getting into, and we have a great crew. Everybody's jumping in there, and we're running ahead of our timeline right now."

Fossum on Kibo, the Japanese lab he'll help install on the ISS, and how complicated the installation is:
"There's some steps. We'll start our installation steps on the fourth day of the flight with the space walk to go out and remove some covers. Then, it's a lot of robotic operations to remove the lab from the payload bay of the shuttle and move it over and install it on the station. Then, we'll go back outside a good part of the second spacewalk -- and even part of the third -- to finish up things. The Kibo module is beautiful. It's just a beautiful piece of engineering, and there's a whole lot of pride there. The Japanese people are very proud of that, and they have a right to be."

Fossum on the ISS's broken toilet, and who is going to fix it:
"I could make a joke about that, but the fact is the toilet is Russian hardware, and we're bringing parts from Russia, and we'll be handing that over to the space station crew."

Fossum on the food aboard Discovery:
"This morning for breakfast, I had some granola with blueberries and part of a bagel. For lunch, I had some tuna salad on tortillas and an apple. Sometimes, the food is kind of similar. Other times, we have dehydrated food like you might have for camping. Some of it's not exactly like you eat at home, but it's all pretty good, and the hungrier you get, the better it tastes."

Fossum on what made him want to become an astronaut:
"I've wanted to be an astronaut since I was about 12-year-old watching the early space missions, and I just would dream about that kind of crazy thing. One day, I said, 'I want to do that, too.' There were a lot of twists and turns along the way, but I never gave up on that crazy dream, and I'm pretty glad I didn't."

Fossum on his role in the entire mission:
"My main job on this mission is taking care of the space walk. Ron Garan and I will be going outside three times to do spacewalks to help out with the installation of the Japanese laboratory and fix a couple of things on the space station. Other than that, for the ride up here, for the training Commander (Mark Kelly) and the rest of the crew had, my main job is keeping an eye on the food locker."

Commander Mark Kelly on whether Fossum discusses all things Aggie on the mission:
"You have no idea. We went through Aggie-dom on STS-121 that launched a couple years ago, and it's starting already."

Fossum on what he thinks about when he sees Aggieland from space:
"To me, it looks like home. One of the main landmarks to find it is the Brazos River just outside of town. Looking at Texas and Aggieland up here, it just looks like home. It brings back a lot of memories. Actually, just a few days before we went into quarantine, I took a drive up to campus. I didn't talk to anybody when I was up there. I just kind of drove up to the campus, and I took a walk around and came back to Houston. The next day, we went into quarantine."

Fossum on his message to young people:
"There's no dream that's too crazy to reach for. If you can dream it, you can achieve it, and you're going to become a better person for the trying, so you've just got to go for it."


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