POSTED: Friday, February 25, 2011 - 5:17pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 25, 2011 - 5:18pm
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — An astronaut who was bumped from space shuttle Discovery's final flight following a bicycle crash told his orbiting friends Friday that he's with them "in spirit."
Injured just last month, Timothy Kopra hobbled on crutches into Mission Control and called Discovery's six astronauts, congratulating them on "an awesome launch" and wishing them well. It was a brief and casual chat, taking place just as the astronauts began inspecting their ship for any signs of launch damage while en route to the International Space Station.
"Can't tell you how much we wish you were here with us as well," said Discovery's commander, Steven Lindsey.
"I'm sure you know that I feel the same way, but I definitely feel like I'm there in spirit," Kopra replied.
Astronaut Michael Barratt teasingly confided that Kopra was aboard the shuttle "in a little bit more than spirit, but we'll have to explain that when we get back."