Happy Birthday from Space!

I honestly never thought of what it would be like to get a birthday wish from space. My focus has always been on simply getting there! But to my surprise yesterday (June 11, 2013  and my 16th birthday) I received a birthday greeting on Twitter from my mentor Luca Parmitano, who is living on the International Space Station for six months as part of Expedition 36 and Expedition 37.

Birthday Shout out

Lucky me! I am writing this blog post not only to share my excitement with you, but also as a way to remember this moment for myself. When I met Luca several years ago I certainly never thought it would lead to my current #SoyuzAdventure and serving as his Earth Liaison or even having my own astronaut mentor. I really feel blessed to  know Luca and am so grateful for his presence in my life.

Thank you Luca for making my 16th birthday an out of this world experience! 🙂

Here are the space photos Luca shared on my birthday …I want to remember these too!

"Bolivia: anyone know what's in top left corner? Qualcuno mi sa dire cosa sono le strutture in alto a sinistra?" - Luca Parmitano

“Bolivia: anyone know what’s in top left corner? Qualcuno mi sa dire cosa sono le strutture in alto a sinistra?” – Luca Parmitano

"A bit of relax after a long day – hopefully without disturbing anyone else’s... #Volare" - Luca Parmitano

“A bit of relax after a long day – hopefully without disturbing anyone else’s… #Volare” – Luca Parmitano

"#Clouds in the Pacific off the Brazilian coast, at sunset…#Volare" - Luca Parmitano

“#Clouds in the Pacific off the Brazilian coast, at sunset…#Volare” – Luca Parmitano

Photo credit: ESA/NASA


  1. نادي فلكي الكتروني says

    this is great abby hope you celebrate your birthday on space one day with the whole world watching


  2. dr says

    Happy Birthday.
    Off topic somewhat…
    I was reading this article:
    and it states that basic astronaut training includes:

    As part of the Astronaut Candidate training program, candidates are required to complete military water survival before beginning their flying syllabus, and become SCUBA qualified to prepare them for spacewalk training. Consequently, all Astronaut Candidates are required to pass a swimming test during their first month of training. They must swim 3 lengths of a 25-meter pool without stopping, and then swim 3 lengths of the pool in a flight suit and tennis shoes with no time limit. They must also tread water continuously for 10 minutes wearing a flight suit.
    Candidates are also exposed to the problems associated with high (hyperbaric) and low (hypobaric) atmospheric pressures in the altitude chambers and learn to deal with emergencies associated with these conditions. In addition, Astronaut Candidates are given exposure to the microgravity of space flight during flights in a modified jet aircraft as it performs parabolic maneuvers that produce periods of weightlessness for about 20 seconds. The aircraft then returns to the original altitude and the sequence is repeated up to 40 times in a day.
    Final selection as an astronaut will depend upon satisfactory completion of the training and evaluation period. Graduation from the Astronaut Candidate Program will require successful completion of the following: International Space Station systems training, Extravehicular Activity skills training, Robotics skills training, Russian Language training, and aircraft flight readiness training.

    What I noticed about these items is that while many are obviously hugely specialised, some of them could be done before someone even applied to NASA. For example the swim test preparation could be done be someone simply developing their swimming skills in their local swimming pool. Likewise becomming SCUBA qualified could be done at a SCUBA diving club. Also learning Russian could be done prior to an application to NASA to become an astronaut.
    What I had wondered was, do you have any plans to learn these things prior to becomming as astronaut candidate, say over the next few years, or are you already skilled in them?
    By the way, if you wish to learn a foreign language, may I suggest that you invest in a language course using the “Michel Thomas method”. You can obtain the “total course” for about one hundred dollars from amazon.com, or if you want to try the method you can get the first fifty words, a one hour course, for ten dollars. The Michel Thomas method, is a natural way of learning a language for someone who already speaks English. You will learn up to 200 new words an hour which gives basic “get yourself understood in most circumstances” proficiency in about ten hours of study. Russian is one of the languages offered by the method. I have used the French and German courses and can state that they are excellent.
    Please have my best wishes whilst you pursue your dream.

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