One day after first spacewalk, astronaut welcomes daughter into the world
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Astronaut Randolph Bresnik jubilantly welcomed his new daughter into the world yesterday as he floated 220 miles above it.
Abigail Mae Bresnik was born as her father circled Earth on his first space shuttle mission, just hours after his first spacewalk. It was only the second time in history that a NASA astronaut was in orbit instead of the delivery room.
“At 11:04 last night, Abigail Mae Bresnik joined the NASA family,’’ Bresnik announced yesterday morning from the linked space shuttle Atlantis and International Space Station. “Mama and baby are doing very well.’’
It was the second child for Randolph and Rebecca Bresnik, who adopted a boy from Ukraine a year ago.
Bresnik, 42, a lieutenant colonel in the Marines and former fighter pilot, thanked everyone at Mission Control and elsewhere for their support, especially during the past few days.
Rebecca Bresnik was due to give birth Friday in Houston. But Saturday morning came without any news as Bresnik ventured out on a six-hour spacewalk, installing antennas and other equipment at the space station.
He specifically asked that he receive no baby updates during the spacewalk, so he could focus on the inherently risky job. When he was safely inside, he learned his wife had yet to give birth. Abigail Mae finally made her appearance, long after the astronauts had gone to bed.
Mission Control awakened the shuttle crew with the song “Butterfly Kisses,’’ chosen by Rebecca Bresnik for her husband. Among the lyrics: “There’s two things I know for sure/She was sent here from heaven and she’s daddy’s little girl.’’
Rebecca Bresnik, a lawyer who specializes in international law at Johnson Space Center, said before Atlantis’s 11-day flight that she was “a little disappointed’’ her husband would not be present for the birth. But she said she understood that he had trained a year for the mission.