Soaring to space in same seat husband sat in adds ‘something special’ to mission for astronaut mom

It was May 30 last year when Megan McArthur watched her astronaut husband climb into SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule and hurtle into space headed toward the International Space Station.

Now almost a year later, from the same Cape Canaveral launch site, McArthur will climb into the same spaceship, sitting in the same seat her husband occupied during his historic flight.

“It’s amazing to think that I will be sitting in the same seat that Bob was sitting in when he certified that vehicle the very first time that it launched. I don’t think I realized that when I found out that I was going to be assigned to the Crew 2 mission. I didn’t realize it was going to be the same vehicle. But that certainly adds a little something special to the mission.”

McArthur will be joined by three others onboard Endeavor: NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, Akihiko Hoshide from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency.

McArthur is no stranger to space flight, having spent 13 days in space aboard the shuttle on the STS-125 Hubble Space Telescope mission.

McArthur and her astronaut husband have one son. And even though she’ll be away from him for six months, she’ll be able to chat with him via video conference.

But she learned from her astronaut husband, Bob’s, experience -- if he doesn’t want to chat, not to take it personally.

“One of the things I learned when Bob was in space was it can be very difficult for a young child to participate for a long time in a video chat. So I think as the parent that’s in space, you kind of have to temper your expectations. As much as I think, ‘Oh I have these 30 minutes, I really want to talk with my husband and my son,’ it just might not be a great time for them. I think that was really my takeaway from Bob’s experience was that you kind of just have to go with the flow and when your child is ready to talk to you, you just soak it up, and when he’s not, you just have to not take it personally, and look forward to the next time.”

The family has a new puppy, too, that they recently adopted from a local shelter. McArthur said her son named him Shadow because his coat is a dark color.

McArthur said she’s going to be a bit too far away to help with training and walking the pup. Her husband and son will have to deal with that.


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