After four months on the Russian space station Mir, astronaut Dave Wolf is anxious for some hot times when he returns to Earth, which he hopes will be this afternoon.
Wolf said Friday from the space shuttle Endeavour that he’s eager for hot pepperoni-and-mushroom pizza, hot convenience store coffee, hot news in a newspaper, and oh yes, an extra-long hot shower. And if that’s not enough, it’ll be party time later Saturday in front of a Cocoa Beach motel.
But with no showers - just lots of sponge baths - on Mir, Wolf isn’t quite ready for a party. There’s one thing he’s got to do first.
“I can’t wait to take a nice hot shower and to just take my time doing it,” Wolf said.
Wolf said he missed “very simple things … some pizza and beverages, seeing all my friends.”
Chefs at Kennedy Space Center are readying pizza ovens because the weather forecast looks good for Endeavour’s unusual 5:35 p.m. landing. Most landings are just after sunrise, but the shuttle’s orbit dictated an afternoon landing.
Wolf has often repeated the same desires for simple pleasures.
“Every little thing I think of is something I can’t wait to go do,” Wolf said Sunday. “Earth is a wonderful place.”
On Monday, Wolf said: “Pulling in your car to a Stop-and-Go and getting a cup of coffee sounds like just a great deal of fun to me. …”
Wolf added that “the lack of news” while on Mir made him feel “like I was a million miles away. It was kind of an interesting sabbatical from Earth and Earth news.”
But the single Wolf, whose family has come from Indiana to Cocoa Beach to await his arrival, also is ready to celebrate.
“We’re having a beach party the night of landing in front of the … motel,” Wolf said. He said he’s changed his plans to walk off the shuttle because that would ruin scientists’ study of the effects of four months in space on his body.
“I’ve decided to go ahead and come off the ship in a horizontal position and then at the beach party, see what I can do,” Wolf said Friday.
Wolf is a changed person because of life on Mir.
“It’s incredible what this does psychologically to a person to be away from the Earth and then come back,” he said.
Wolf said he’s willing to return to space, for months at a time, if necessary. But not at the moment.
“Physiologically and psychologically, I could have stayed on Mir another year, or two years,” Wolf said. “The problem is there’s a lot to do on Earth.”