26 November, 2022

Interview: Frank Rubio, Salvadoran origin astronaut, talks about his trip to space

The Salvadorian, who is part of the new generation of NASA, He spoke in an exclusive interview, about the trip to space, the work performed in the space base and, also, what it means to him to be Salvadoran.

By Carmen Rodriguez

In 2024 the man back to the moon and, also, aims to conquer the Red Planet. For the United States is a great achievement, it is the first time in ten years that US astronauts and rockets perform a mission itself, with funds from the NASA space program.

American achievement and pride is shared by El Salvador. One of the astronauts who are part of the “NASA new generation”, will continue that famous moonwalk, in which Neil Armstrong took the first step in 1969 on the moon, is Salvador.

Mission Artemis is the step that the United States seeks to go further in space exploration, in regular trips from other missions, in pursuit of the development of life on other planets, and commercial space travel of human beings.

The names of the latest NASA missions are based on Greek mythology. The first historical space travel were the Apollos. Apollo 11 It was the one who managed to achieve the unthinkable: that man walked on the moon surface.

Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, Both are sons of the great god Zeus. Its meaning is unique, because this is the first mission that leads women to be part of that moon walk; and take, also, men and women astronauts to Mars.

In this travel, The United States also will demonstrate the progress and development achieved since 1969 in their space projects, using technology. Artemis crew will reach the south pole of the Moon. With this mission the door to future missions that will aim to establish human life on Mars opens.

Frank Rubio is the Salvadoran part of this group. The, with the other 12 New NASA astronauts, last week completed the arduous training required to be part of this space mission.

In an exclusive interview with La Prensa Grafica, Rubio spoke about training reached, the goals, Challenges and travel. The chances of it being part of the next Mission Artemis are high, and although it is a journey that is full of uncertainty, he is ready to complete this important mission.

Although the history of mankind their work is important, Frank is a humble man, Salvadoran proud of his roots and grateful for the opportunity that life has given to complete one of his dreams: be astronaut.

As a good Salvadoran, Frank would like to bring to your trip pupusas, but this may not be possible; because all the food that crew to stay in space is prepared by NASA, and experts in space travel do not know how to make a pupusa. While NASA decides who will be the first in four years astronauts will travel to space in the Mission Artemis, Frank will continue their preparation and activities to be ready to go on this journey that is full of uncertainty, experiments and history, but it will fulfill another dream.

You are one of the 13 persons selected by NASA, possibly traveling in the Artemis mission, and is the only Latino in history that has gone so far as to space missions. How does it feel to represent the Latino community and the Salvadoran community in this mission?

It is a great pride and honor to represent Latinos and especially the Salvadoran community. It's important to be a role model. It is very important that young people have role models and I am proud to be one of them.

What is your favorite Latin food?

pupusas, -answer quickly.

Can you bring pupusas to space?

-Frank laughs loudly and makes a pause.

Good, maybe. Although they would have to do here at NASA because there are scientists doing all food, because it is made especially for us not affected in space. He would have to give them the recipe, but make pupusas is something that is learned and is a bit difficult.

Who cooks in space, Who prepares the food, How is a normal day in space?

Most of the day we are doing scientific experiments. also they have to do two hours of exercise each day, for each astronaut and that is to have the strength we need when we return for the body is not so weak.

Almost all the food is already prepared, It is only heating with boiling water and thus prepares. Each prepares its food, although we all try to eat together, because usually during the day, all they are working on their experiments and try to eat together to spend time together.

Would you like to dance salsa?

I did not learn very well, my wife likes, I make the effort.

Ah, So there will be no bailadita sauce on the Moon?

-Frank laughs out loud again and responde-.

No, I don `t believe.

Let's talk about the professional part now. In a press conference the head of NASA said his group is part of a new generation of astronauts who make history. What does it feel to be part of that group you can rewrite the history books worldwide?

It is an honor. Automatically is an honor and privilege to be one of the group. There are actually less than 600 people in history who came to space. This opportunity is very important and it is exciting to be part of this challenge. We will be in the space station for the next three or four years and that's what really requires our concentration, because we need to prepare and plan the next mission. So it is that we have to be very focused in this operation.

If we are to succeed in the next missions have to be very focused on this present mission. We will continue to focus on this mission for one year, when we get to the moon, we succeed. I think that we also allow the necessary efforts to properly put on each mission at a time.

What is the difference between military training and training of NASA?

Military training focuses a little more on physical performance in missions, when you are tired, hungry and these outside, but both focus on teamwork.

Or a combat mission, or on a space exploration mission can work individually. Both organizations do a great job in emphasizing the importance of teamwork and how to contribute to complete missions correctly.

Did you learn to pilot a spaceship?

A bit.

We learned the different systems of the space station. We learned to operate the robotic arm joining parts or repair parts of the space station.

We do not know specific ships that fly possibly continue scientific experiments on this mission.

What will your assignments, from the simplest to the most complicated, on this mission?

Each day will be different. Often we do not know for sure what will you be doing next week. The technical team has done an excellent job with providing us with the procedures and tell us exactly what we should do in every step we take.

In the morning, we got up, We see the agenda of what to do and we adjust procedures. The day will be distributed to work in different experiments and / or maintenance, or whatever you need to do. For that we will implement the procedures we have learned. As well, There skilled in the art that are 'checando’ to see if these procedures are done correctly. But really it is a great teamwork, follow procedures, talk to the experts who will be monitoring from Earth.

What do they mean to you their Salvadoran roots?

As I said it is a great pride. I feel very proud that my parents are Salvadorans, America for me is my home, I consider myself American, but that does not mean I do not feel extremely proud to be Salvadoran- American. Mostly they represent, that anyone in this country if you work hard and strive you can do anything.

The eyes of El Salvador and the Salvadoran community around the world are on you, what you have done and are doing. What message would you send them to all those people who are aware of their achievements?

Really, it is an honor and pride to represent our community. There are many Hispanic people who are doing amazing things around the world and it is important that the youth see I'm not alone. there are scientists, doctors ... there are people who are doing common work, whether mechanical, cooking, just the fact raise their families is something that should fill us with pride and should be an example for others.

What was it that motivated him to achieve his dreams and what he would say to young people who do not have a guide to achieve your dreams?

My mom was very important. He always pushed me to get ahead, I let myself never complain or say that something could not. When you're young you think that the future is difficult, and as an adult I now realize that if she had not been there, I could not have done all these things she told me he could do.

How the fear and uncertainty that leads this trip and this preparation faces?

It is important to know that fear, when you do a dangerous thing, it's natural. The important thing is to act and to make the mission even if you have that fear. In the military career I have done many things that have prepared me to face the fear. Among skydiving, fly helicopters at night, fly in combat, medical training when you are in an emergency or when a patient is dying ... all that one prepares one when stress is extremely high. It does not mean that you are not afraid, or that one is not nervous; but, You learn to work even afraid. Like anything else, It is practical and I have had the opportunity to practice it throughout my life.

Frank Rubio

Cargo: Member of the team of American astronauts Artemis Mission.

Trajectory: He is a doctor by profession, He born in the United States and Salvadoran descent.

LPG article in El Salvador.

“(pupusas) the have to do here at NASA because there are scientists doing all food, because it is made especially for us not affected in space. He would have to give them the recipe, but make pupusas is something that is learned and is a bit difficult. "