When NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba was out doing a spacewalk during a recent trip to the International Space Station, he held on tight. That’s because Acaba is afraid of heights.
“If you look at the pictures, I’m holding on to the railing,” he told a crowd at the Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “It does take a little bit of work while you’re doing a spacewalk to realize, okay, it’s okay. You are not going to fall.”
Acaba was making his first public appearance — on the ground — since his Feb. 28 return from the space station. He spoke to employees at the space center and with The Associated Press after his talk about his experiences in space; future trips to the moon and beyond; and working with his Russian counterparts.
Acaba, who has logged more than 300 days in space on three separate flights, said space travel for private citizens is closer than many think.
“In the next year or so, we’re going to have commercial flights flying NASA astronauts, and that’s the first big step,” he said. “And, it’s never going to become routine. Going to space is difficult, but I think here in the near future, we are going to have more opportunities for people to fly in space.”