Reality of space flight

After two decades of developing systems and procedures for medical monitoring during space flight, developing hardware and protocols to help crews maintain condition while in orbit, and working on ground simulations of Skylab and Spacelab missions, Bill Thornton knew pretty much what to expect from his first space flight experience. He knew that pre-planning and following the timeline was absolutely necessary in order to get the job done, especially on the short missions being flown by the Shuttle. Good housekeeping and getting things stowed was critical to a successful mission, according to Thornton, despite being the self-confessed "sloppiest person on Earth, if you saw my office desk.''

For sleep periods, Thornton found that wedging himself between two EVA suits in the mid-deck airlock was the most comfortable position, probably due to the isolation. After the thrill of space flight, the night landing and a flight back to Houston, Thornton tried to stay awake as long as he could to fulfil some of the post-flight medical requirements of the co-investigators. But there would be no immediate post-flight party for him, as he staggered into bed and slept soundly for his first night back on Earth.27

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