Adjusting to gravity isn't as easy as it sounds after spending six months in space, but Cockeysville native Reid Wiseman said a week after his return from the International Space Station, he is feeling strong.
"I feel really good," the NASA astronaut said in a brief interview from Houston. "I was in pretty good shape."
Wiseman and crewmates landed in Kazakhstan on Nov. 10, after launching in May.
While they exercised daily on the space station to limit muscle atrophy, living in zero gravity for so long makes the return to Earth difficult on the body. After landing on Earth, Wiseman could be heard saying on a NASA TV broadcast that he felt OK, but "everything is amazingly heavy."
The rehabilitation process includes two hours a day of strengthening exercises, including one in which Wiseman said he had to balance on a "wiggle board" while throwing a five-pound ball at a trampoline and catching it -- one-handed.
"There’s no rest for the weary," Wiseman said.
But he said he has been able to reflect on the impact he had from space, gaining more than 300,000 Twitter followers tuned to photos he shared of Earth from above. A photography aficionado, he often shared images using different cameras and lenses, including glimpses of churning hurricanes, the glimmering aurora borealis, sunrises bending through the atmosphere, and "Earth art" of various landscapes and urban areas.
Wiseman, who grew up in Cockeysville and attended Dulaney High School, also shared frequent glimpses of the Chesapeake Bay and of a bird’s eye view of Baltimore.
He said he had only expected to gain about 50,000 Twitter followers, estimating that was about how many people were passionate enough about space science to pay attention. But he called the larger response "rather amazing."
He said doesn’t know when he will next return to his hometown -- teachers at his alma mater have been "pushing hard" for a visit from their star alumnus, he said. He said he might make it for the Dulaney class of 2015’s graduation ceremonies in the spring.
"I can’t imagine I wouldn't have a little time to come back and say hi to my friends at Dulaney," he said.
The space station isn’t expected to go long without a Marylander on board. Columbia native Terry Virts is slated to launch there later this month.
As for Wiseman, he said he his happy to be back on Earth, with his wife and two children. Next for him: "Being a dad."