U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke
NASA
U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke stands next to his spacesuit aboard the international space station.
updated 7/2/2004 4:38:04 PM ET 2004-07-02T20:38:04

Still weary from his spacewalk, space station astronaut Mike Fincke got a surprise call from a “specialist” with a rundown on new bedtime procedures to help ease him back into an orbital routine.

“Step one is that you may have a bedtime treat if you’ve been good and not sassed anyone. And step one-A is that you have to go to the bathroom ...

“Step three is, let me see, that’s wash your face and hands — that’s both hands. And brush your teeth and don’t spit on the floor. And number four is, oh yes, say your prayers. And number five is get into your jammies and you may have three bedtime stories but nothing too scary. Copy?”

The reply from space: “Hi, Mom.”

Alma Fincke burst into laughter at Mission Control. “You got me,” she said.

NASA broadcast the interchange on Friday, a day after it took place.

Alma Fincke was in Houston to visit her newest grandchild, Tarili Paulina. The astronaut listened in to his daughter’s birth two weeks ago via his wife’s cell phone at the hospital.

“Boy, if anybody knows all the secret dirt on me, that would be you, including washing only one hand instead of two,” the 37-year-old astronaut told his mom.

Fincke and his Russian crewmate, Gennady Padalka, spent nearly six hours outside the international space station on Wednesday, replacing a bad circuit breaker. The repair was a complete success, restoring power to a gyroscope that had shut down two months ago.

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