Houston, we have a problem with someone hogging the best view.
LANNERS OF the space shuttle program at NASA are loathe to admit it, but it turns out that most of the delays in launching shuttle missions have nothing to do with weather conditions or inspections of O rings.
"Although the captain has to sit where the controls are, the fact is that everyone else can just grab a seat, and that's where the problems begin," admitted a NASA spokeswoman, who wished to remain anonymous, "because this is really embarrassing. Everyone wants a window seat, but we don't have enough to go around."
Whereas T.V. viewers see a chipper and comradely shuttle crew striding confidently to the launch pad, once the shuttle doors close "it gets pretty ugly," said the NASA spokeswoman. "You might think the crew is just raring to go, and that's why they're walking so fast, but really everyone's trying to be the first one through the door. It's worse than junior high kids on the school bus."
The only other opportunity to nab preferred seating is immediately after the televised press conferences, when the crew has floated weightless out of their prized window locations and can only scramble back in slow motion.
"It might look like they're just floating aimlessly as you watch them on camera, but really they're jockeying for position throughout the whole press conference," explained the spokeswoman. "You have no idea what we put up with once the camera feed is down. Food fights are nothing compared to the aggression of an astronaut relegated to an aisle seat."
The main complaint lodged by shuttle astronauts is that aisle seats offer at best an obstructed view of such popular "spacemarks" as the moon and the earth. Said one astronaut we'll call "Major Tom":
"Seeing a partial moon just because some guy's head is blocking my view is like looking at the Eiffel Tower with a bite taken out of it. I didn't train for ten lousy years to ask some astronaut if they could move over for a sec. I can see the moon better from my damn kitchen window!
"Also," added Tom, "could someone ask our female astronauts to please pull their hair back into a bun? If you're going to hog the window seat, the least you could do is not let your stupid hair float around like a freaking poodle."
Plans for newer space shuttles "definitely include all window seats," stated the NASA spokeswoman. "Either that, or we'll have one very large window that everyone can look out of from any vantage point.
"Kind of like the Starship Enterprise," she added. "Those people really knew what they were doing."
© 3.4.10 Kate Heidel