Nampa Resident Reflects on Brother's Time in Space

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Steve Swanson was the first astronaut to take a selfie and post it on social media. Here it is. - COURTESY SANDY NICHOLSON
  • Courtesy Sandy Nicholson
  • Steve Swanson was the first astronaut to take a selfie and post it on social media. Here it is.
When Sandy Nicholson talked to her youngest brother, Steve Swanson, on the phone, they talked about the sort of stuff most families talk about: each other's health, what his kids are doing, what's happening in each other's lives. 

They also talked about the experiments Swanson was running from the International Space Station, some 200 miles directly above Nicholson. 

The Idaho Press-Tribune recently had a conversation with Nicholson, finding out what it's like to have a brother in space, at a time of unprecedented communication between the International Space Station and family members on the ground. Turns out, it's pretty cool.

"We'd just talk about the normal stuff ... just like you would talk with anybody about what's happening in your life," Nicholson told the Press-Tribune. "His is just kind of separated."

Swanson was the first astronaut to post a selfie to Instagram from the space station. He was even able to connect with his parents, Eagle residents Stan and June Swanson, on their 60th anniversary. He set up a video chat through NASA and gave a tour of the ISS. 

Swanson returned safely from space in September after almost 170 days. He lives in Steamboat Springs, Colo., with his wife and three children. Now that he's back on earth, he spends his time mountain biking, skiing, trail running and woodworking.