This week’s interview is with Tess Morris-Paterson. Tess was a sports scientist with Lucozade Sport, then at the Glaxo Smith Kline Human performance laboratory. Then about 18 months ago, she began to think about a new goal, one of becoming an astronaut.
In the interview Tess talks about the deep reflection and questions about self and identity that led to the decision to understand more about what it entailed, how she traverses risk through understanding the demands with meticulous detail and planning, but critically moving to action and applying herself and finding there is more in her and the critical roles that mentors have played along the journey.
It was fascinating to hear how she faces down the incredible severity of the risks of being in outer space balanced against lofty goal of getting to the international space station, living on a lunar base or even a mission to Mars.
05:45 – Applying sports physiology, strength & conditioning and nutrition in a variety of elite high-performance sports.
07:50 – Early career experiences at Lucozade Sport and working in professional football for five years before goal posts started to shift.
11:30 – Explores the benefits and risks of taking a non-paid work opportunity with Tom Reilly at Liverpool John Moore’s University and the personal and professional qualities required to make this time successful.
16:03 – An aspiring helicopter pilot and officer in training whilst at university. Networking and getting applied experience whilst at university is vital.
18:30 – Gender, being female and working in football.
18:59 – Developing and sustaining relationships by identifying what makes each person tick is fundamental to being effective in a role whilst working in professional football.
23:43 – A journey of self-reflection resulted in the realisation of wanting to become an astronaut.
29:50 – The impact of transition on self and important others around you.
31:40 – Aerospace physiology PhD at Kings College London, supervisor working at NASA.
37:00 – Rigorous medical and psychiatric process involved in becoming an astronaut. Becoming self-aware, deep reflection of self is fundamental to discovering whether you could become an astronaut.
39:37 – The next big missions being explored by NASA are to have a lunar base and a Mars based mission by 2030.
44:24 – Technical capability and interpersonal intelligence fundamental when under high tension and high pressure – lives are on the line in space!
47:06 – ‘Becoming a guinea pig astronaut’ and starting to develop the skills and qualities required to become an astronaut – underpinned by Tess’s PhD research. 52:17 – Being the right type of person is vital – character, can it be improved? Personal qualities and skills are a matter of life and death. Identifying, understanding and developing these are essential. Fundamentally you will ask, can I trust this person? 56:56 – Space wrestling could be an apt solution for maintaining physiology!
59:30 – Space is quite literally out of this world. Volatile, complex, unbearable and disgusting at times.
1:00:10 – Next steps for Tess? Starting a scientific role with NASA in January, moving to San Francisco whilst striving to become 1 of 8 astronauts amongst 18000 applicants, skydiving regularly and potentially becoming an airline pilot.
1:05:22 – European Space Agency look for a new cohort of astronauts in 5-10 years time.
1:06:38 – Lessons learnt? Learning about self, lessons from other people finding how inspiring her journey has been to enable others to step outside of their comfort zone.
1:10:00 – Importance of the support of others and accountable failure.
Twitter @astro_perform and @Perform_Science
To hear more inspirational people come to the Supporting Champions Conference 2019 – https://www.supportingchampions.co.uk/the-conference