The Work of His Hands, by astronaut Jeff Williams, was a project that I enjoyed working on in my capacity as editor at Concordia Publishing House. The book features pictures of Earth taken while aboard the International Space Station (ISS) during Expedition 13 (2006). While we at CPH were were finishing the final edits and alts for The Work of His Hands, Col. Williams was actually serving his second six-month stay aboard ISS as a Flight Engineer on Expedition 21 and then Commanded of Expedition 22. He and his crew launched from Baikonur on Soyuz TMA 16 on September 30, 2009. During this time on the ISS Col. Williams saw the arrival of two space shuttle missions; the integration of major additions to the structure of the ISS, namely the Russian Mini-Research Module, the US Tranquility Module, and the Cupola ( a boon for the astronauts’ earth observation); and went on two “space walks” outside the station. This, his third flight into space, concluded on March 18, 2010, with the Soyuz TMA 16 landing in Kazakhstan.
I grew up breathing the excitement generated by JFK’s announcement that we were going to the moon. I built model rockets, model orbital modules, and model lunar landers; I shot-off CO2-powered rockets in the ball field, and I attached notes to “weather balloons” hoping to hear from far off locations when the note finally landed (if not the balloon). Working on The Work of His Hands was the closest thing to revisiting the heady days of childhood-remembered I have experienced. Add to that getting e-mail from Col. Williams while he was aboard the ISS, well, you get the idea–I was twelve all over again.
This video features some great footage from inside the ISS, shot by Col. Williams on his last mission, Expedition 21/22, and we get to hear Col. Williams talk about his faith as he reflects on his unique perspective viewing the work of God’s hands.
Oh, and no, none of my boyhood models remain.