A Space Odyssey helped students excel in life skills such as teamwork and problem solving, while at the same time supplying a fun environment for all involved. Students learned to fly the orbiter, check x and y codes, check radiation emission measurement reads (REM reads) and how to decode and encode satellites in order to complete the mission. Lots of energy, time, caffeine and adrenaline went into this mission, but students emerged with newfound friendships and knowledge.
The beginning of the mission on February 26, 2001 saw several small SOBEs (simulated on-board emergencies). The SOBEs included a power outage caused by a short circuit and a minor solar flare. An O2 deficiency caused all but three of the astronauts on the station to faint from hypoxia. Two medical officers tended to the ailing crew while the remaining astronaut located the CO2 filters that malfunctioned, and caused the CO2 build up. Two of the astronauts who fainted were sent back to Earth on the orbiter to receive treatment.
A major solar flare caused a PCU (Plasma Contractor Unit) to malfunction. This malfunction caused an explosion in the orbiter due to an electrical surge on the station. The pilots in the orbiter at the time of the explosion were seriously injured. The resourceful medical officers on the station stabilized the injured orbiter pilots and sent them back to Earth for follow-up treatment. At the end of the first day three pilots were dead, one orbiter was destroyed and the number of astronauts on the station had significantly decreased.
On the second day a new crew arrived on the station. A meteor shower damaged the orbiter resulting in a forced landing. During the meteor shower a small meteor impacted the orbiter and penetrated a pilot’s hand. This injury was stabilized on the station.
On March 1, a tether was still extended when a major solar flare occurred. This destroyed the Main Bus Switching Unit #0 (MBSU0). In an attempt to save the station from catastrophe, astronaut Nick Heggar was electrocuted. He received burns on his back, face and hands. He also suffered from loss of breathing and the detachment of one ear. The logistics of this SOBE were helped by the fact that Nick has a twin brother who was moulaged to simulate the electrical burns and they traded places when the lights were out!
A Russian cosmonaut known as George played a key role in ending Mission 1301. George sent a message to the station in Russian stating: “There is C4 hidden in the zeolite beads which just arrived on the station.” After a translator deciphered the message, the cosmonaut was allowed to board the station to help the astronauts find the C4 before it exploded. In a final heroic act, George found the C4, took it with him and exited the station thereby saving the entire station and crew from certain death. We will never forget him!