As the countdown gets underway for the fifth and final space shuttle mission to save the Hubble space telescope, the seven astronauts getting ready for the flight of a lifetime shared their thoughts with ABC News.
What's it like to be this close to launching into space?
Scott Altman dreams about landing the space shuttle. Meghan McArthur mentally rehearses grabbing Hubble with the space shuttle's robotic arm. Greg Johnson hopes he throws all the switches in the right order during launch. Drew Feustel was scrambling to get NASA TV installed at home so his family can watch his spacewalks.
John Grunsfeld is planning a surprise for his 20th wedding anniversary – even though he will be in orbit. Mike Good is trying to get college professors to change finals for his sons so they won't miss their dad's first launch into space. Mike Massimino made sure all his paperwork was finished.
Commander Scott Altman -- his Navy call sign is Scooter -- is a veteran of three space shuttle missions, and this is his second trip to Hubble. His last-minute to do list includes making sure all his family members coming to the launch have what they need.
His one regret is missing his son's graduation from Rice University on Saturday. Scooter will be in Florida getting ready for the flight.
Shuttle Commander Practices for Hubble Mission
What does a space shuttle commander practice over and over in his mind before he launches? Landings. He says he dreams about landing the orbiter.
"After my first landing, I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic. I can't remember putting the landing gear down, wait we landed, it's all okay, I guess we did it, never mind, I guess we can go back to sleep," he said.
Pilot Greg Johnson would like Altman to sleep through a landing. He joked to us, "I am working on how I can make sure Scooter is incapacitated so I can take the landings."
Scooter replied, "A mutiny!"
Johnson checked his menu for the mission and noticed something missing: Pudding. He likes to have pudding for dessert every night and completely forgot to add it to the spaceflight menu.
Astronauts Make Sure Families Can Get NASA TV
Megan McArthur, when she isn't training for Hubble, is trying to rebuild her home, which was flooded during Hurricane Ike. Her most important task on this mission comes after Atlantis rendezvous' with Hubble.
She will use the shuttles robotic arm to gently capture the telescope. She wants her colleagues on the flight to remind her to write in her journal.
"I have always been really terrible at keeping a journal and different things I have done in my life, and I was thinking about that last night - I really would like to try to grab my crew notebook, just to remember how I am feeling right then because to remember later is probably going to be hard," she said.
Spacewalker Drew Feustel was getting NASA TV installed so his wife Indi and their two sons could watch him on his three spacewalks. He is spending his time before the mission signing photos, and folding little paper models of Hubble to take along on the mission.
He plays guitar in the astronaut band Max Q, and is bringing his iPod with him.
iPods in Space?
"I am wondering how I can listen to all my music in space. I have 500 songs, I am just wondering, can I listen to my iPod enough to hear all my songs?" he said, quipping, "Can they pipe it into my suit during spacewalks?"
John Grunsfeld, on his fifth mission, will be missing his 20th wedding anniversary – but he has a surprise for his wife Carol.
He also wants to make sure his the four first-time fliers on this mission take time to savor the moment.
"I am looking forward to those first moments when you guys get to experience the magic of space and then seeing Hubble, which has become an old friend. I am really excited about watching Megan grab Hubble and then the chance to go out and see how Hubble has changed," he said. "And the most exciting part is that when we are all done, Hubble will be in the best shape that it has ever been in. I think a lot of people had written the telescope off, as just being an old telescope and not worth going back to, we are going to prove them all wrong."
Hubble Mission Scheduled to Last 12 Days
Spacewalker Mike Good – call sign Bueno – has been watching Hubble streak across the night sky at 17,900 mph and wondering what it will be like when he is hanging on to it during a spacewalk. He joked that he has asked his family to go outside when Hubble flies over Houston
"I told my wife to wear a really big hat so I could see her – it will have to be a really big hat," he said.
New Yorker Mike Massimino, on his second trip to Hubble, managed to figure out how to pack home plate from Shea Stadium along on the flight. He wants to make sure he remembers more about this trip than the last one.
"I think about it all the time, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about that experience," he said. "Seeing what the Earth looks like from up there is just amazing."
The crew will miss the parties thrown by their families the night before launch because they are in quarantine. NASA spends years and millions of dollars training a space shuttle crew, and no one wants an unexpected case of the sniffles to affect a mission.
The last space shuttle mission to save the Hubble Space Telescope is scheduled to last 12 days, and includes five grueling back-to-back spacewalks, which are expected to keep Hubble going for another five years.