Last night I was tweeted by NASA Astronaut TJ Creamer (whose praises I have sung on Twitter more than once ;-) ) and I have never been so excited as I was when I saw his responses! It was such a HUGE thrill to get a message from the International Space Station – absolutely amazing! As you can tell 24 hours later and I am still excited!

Its also rather unique as this is the first time that the ISS, or anyone in LEO has ever had real-time internet access – so its amazing to actually be part of history as one of the first people to hear from TJ in a live tweet!

I have finished the design for an ‘@astro_tj fanclub’ tshirt now just need to decided how to get it out to the public who want them! I am thinking Cafepress and having any money made donated to the Spacetweeps society – without them, I might not have ever had this wonderful experience of tweeting to a real astronaut on-board the ISS!

The other thing that happened this morning was getting an email saying I had been selected for a new reality TV show called ‘Starwalker’ – now admittedly when I first heard about the concept I got excited and entered both via SMS and the online entry form. I was also rather excited at the prospect of being 1 of 100 people in the running for a seat on a Soyuz TMA flight as a ‘space tourist’.

I tweeted it.

Then I thought about it.

Ever since I was about 5 years old I have said I want to be an astronaut. All I have ever talked about during my school years was being an astronaut. I used to get ridiculed at school by kids who would argue with me when I said I wanted to be the first woman on the Moon, they all argued that there had already been women on the Moon, or that some Aussie kid will never get to work for NASA. (Dr Andy Thomas has since proven that theory wrong!)

Everything I have ever done – career wise, has been aerospace, Aircraft Maintenance and engineering. I wouldn’t know what else to do either – aviation and aerospace is my entire life. (I have indeed tried my hand at IT at Uni, but alas I cannot quiet get my head into programming!) so in effect I am running my own marathon. I already have a goal I am working towards.

To me this feels like running my marathon, knowing the end is up there for me to get to, and getting there will be one heck of an achievement, but having someone offer you a ride in the back of a car to the finish line and then letting you out to stroll across the line – and that does not bode well with my moral core.

I would rather fail under my own efforts than take the easier option.

I am sorry but I really do not need to a TV media format that I actually despise (so called ‘reality television’) taking MY dreams and goals and turning them into prime time entertainment. Is that really all being an astronaut means to some people these days? Are we that blase about those people that dedicate nearly half their lives in some cases to attaining the goal of flying in space through dedication and education and a lot of effort, now that anyone can claim themselves as an ‘astronaut’ alongside the likes of Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong?

Again – I completely fail to see how a TV show winner could even come close to being an astronaut. Many people will argue that its just a term, but to someone like me who has grown up in total awe of those men and women, its not just a job title, its not just something that should be thrown around lightly. A REAL astronaut has worked hard their ENTIRE life, not just for a few months of filming for TV, and then the training they get in Russia. People have also argued with me that they have the right to call themselves astronauts if they do the same training – NO..dedication and training for professional astronauts began long before they were even selected for a flight.

I guess the analogy that we all fly in aircraft today yet we do not call ourselves pilots, aviators or aircrew but passengers should be true for these TV space travellers. The winners may fly on board a Soyuz to the ISS, but they will be passengers, they may have ‘worked hard’ when you see them on the TV, but a lifetime of dedication cannot be shown too well on a 1 hour a week episode for a few months on reality TV. Exactly HOW is it going to be ‘spiced up’ to ensure it retains ratings and its time slot and ensure that it does not fall victim halfway through the series to the might of the ‘axe’ being wielded by TV station executives? In this country unless there is sex, scandal, good looking people reality shows do not tend to far well thanks to a largely teenage audience.

Yes, I am stereotyping.

So needless to say I will not be subjugating myself to the whims of television for a crack at a ride into space. It will not sit well with my conscious. It will not gain me anything other than a ride into space (in itself and amazing thing for sure!) but I want more than just a ride. I want to live, breath eat sleep, everything space. I want to do that for a career, for a living, for more than one time! Greedy? Sure if that’s what it seems, but at the end of the day if my goals fade to dreams when I am older I will still be able to look at my grand kids and tell them honestly that I had a crack and I was proud that I did.

No regrets.