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Vlog 3: Am I scared to go to space?

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Uploaded on October 26, 2023

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Vlog 3: Am I scared to go to space?

2023-10-26 - Astronauts are often asked if they ever get scared to blast off to space. CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen talks about risks, training and shares his tricks for dealing with fear. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA, Fulwell 73 UK Limited)

Transcript

Do I get scared? 100%. Am I living in constant fear leading up to this mission? No, absolutely not.

Since I've been assigned to the Artemis II mission, a number of people have been asking me about fear and if I'm scared of the mission, and if I get scared. Well, the answer is yes and no. 

I think of fear as an indicator. Sort of like a smoke detector in your house. So, if you have a fire, a smoke detector goes off. It alerts you that there's a problem that you need to address. Well, fear is really good as an indicator, but you don't want it running your life. 

And so, in the space program, we're trained to take that fear as an indicator that something needs to be dealt with.

And then what we do is compartmentalize it, set it aside, and then work that problem with a clear and present mind. 

We have some strategies we use for risk mitigation, so we think through the risks that we're taking. We try to understand those risks. So, we use real science, you know, models, probability to try and decide which risks are most likely.

And then we talk about and come up with strategies on how to mitigate those risks and what kind of backup systems we might need in a spacecraft. 

And finally, we train. We set up for the biggest risks. We set up training for them simulator runs. 

We're working with a training team or just do what we call chair flying. So, like just sitting down and imagining what we're going to do and practicing mentally the steps that we will take.

Do I get scared? 100%. Am I living in constant fear leading up to this mission? No, absolutely not.

Now, let's talk about how this applies to everyday life, because we all sit with worries about something that might happen in the future or what someone else might do or what might happen on an Artemis II mission.

Well, I treat them the same way. I acknowledge them and then decide: is this fear indicating a problem that I need to actually do something about today?

So, if there's something that I can do to mitigate it, then I should take action. And if not, then I should just set that fear aside and try to live in the present day and not worry about what might happen in the future. 

And that is how I will approach the fears that will come up during my training flow between now and when I launch to fly around the Moon on Artemis II.

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