"We're really excited about Monday coming up," said Dr. Satcher. "Another group that I think I'd like to specifically thank is the E.V.A. training team. As you know, we're going to be doing three spacewalks, and they've spent hours and hours and hours with us getting us ready to make us as prepared as we can be."
This is Dr. Satcher's first spaceflight. He was selected for the mission in 2004 and has been training since.
The Atlantis crew will make three spacewalks during the 11-day mission. Satcher wil be involved in two of them.
The doctor will rely on his surgical training for intricate joint replacements to help repair two robotic arms on the exterior of the space station.
"Very, very bright, wise beyond his years, but very humble and very unassuming. He's a brilliant scientist and surgeon. He's an accomplished orthopedic oncologist, so he brings a very unique kind of combined medical science skill set," said Dr. James Chandler, Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Chandler said Satcher's dreamt of going to into space most of his adult life.
"He had thought about this back in his M.I.T. Days and it was a career path that he had pursued early in his life," said Dr. Chandler.p> He said Satcher is also interested in politics.
"Maybe in the capacity as a surgeon general, which I think he would be a fantastic candidate for. But certainly with his background and now adding a space mission to his resume, he would be a spectacular contribution to the medical community and we'd love to have him back here at Northwestern," said Dr. Chandler.
Dr. Satcher is the third Northwestern-connected astronaut. He will tweet his experience and information about medical issued for space exploration to friends and medical colleagues.