USSF Astronaut will discuss trauma, resiliency on Wingman Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kaitlin Castillo
  • Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs

U.S. Space Force Col. Nick Hague, NASA astronaut, will discuss resilience and recovering from stressful events on Wingman Day at the Peterson Hub and Schriever auditorium in Bldg. 300, April 29, 2022.

In 2018, Hague was chosen to participate in a mission to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Quickly into the flight, one of the strap-on boosters failed to separate forcing Hague and his crew to abort the mission.

Flying at approximately 4,000 mph and more than 30 miles above the earth’s surface, Hague’s training kicked in as he and his crew communicated in Russian to mission controllers, ensuring their safety back to earth.

“You don’t expect something like this to happen, but you are ready because you have trained for it,” said Hague. “It took a second or two to process what happened and understand the meaning of the master alarm and emergency indications. Then it was straight into the emergency procedures.”

As the mission started to degrade, Hague and his colleagues were shaken aggressively from side to side as the escape motors fired to pull them free. Separating from the spacecraft, they continued upwards towards the edge of space until gravity pulled them back to earth where their parachutes provided a safe landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Hague was the first American to experience an aborted launch to this degree. While his training did help him land safely, it did not prepare him or his family for the mental and emotional turmoil that resulted from this event.

“A situation like this challenges your resilience,” said Hague. “You have to process not only all your emotions, but also how your family and loved ones are affected.”

Hague expressed how this experience made him reevaluate his priorities, and how thankful he was for his family’s support.

“It helped to reinforce our family values and priorities.” he said. “For me, it serves as a very tangible example of how we survive crisis – together.”

Hague also emphasized how critical support systems are in traumatic situations and felt fortunate to have not only his family, but an amazing psychological support team at NASA.

“Resilience is an important topic for us all,” said Hague. “You have to continually strengthen it over time, so it’s there when you need it.”

Everyone has an opportunity to hear more of Col. Hauge’s incredible story on April 29, 2022 during the garrison’s Wingman Day. He will be speaking at the Peterson HUB from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; and at the Schriever auditorium in Bldg. 300 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Those unable to attend in person will still have an opportunity to listen to the discussion through ZoomGov.