A few select quotes:
- Padalka said he was startled to find the stowaway nesting in the centrifuge accomodation module and Fincke said that the mischievous animal scurried underfoot as he was replacing a failed remote power controller module on a recent spacewalk and knocked him into a weightless spin.
- When Padalka opened his locker last week and found an orbiting thundercloud of rumpled wrappers in place of his private supply of Snickers bars, Fincke laughed so hard he spit out the pouch of water he'd been drinking. However, Fincke was not the one laughing when he spotted the playful creature running off wearing his spare Orlan-M spacesuit helmet. But both astronauts could enjoy seeing the bewildered raccoon scrambling to keep up with the zero-gravity treadmill, after having apparently triggered its "quick-start" switch.
"You have to give it to the little guy, he's persistent," said Fincke, who, while calibrating the ISS telescope last week, had a rare opportunity to view the raccoon up close, when its masked, bewhiskered face stared back at him through the telescope's other end.
- Although NASA has been unable to determine how the animal got on board, lab analysis of the beast's droppings suggests that it's the same raccoon that caused hell and tarnation on the ISS during Expedition 7 in 2003. While none of the previous crew's members would admit to feeding the raccoon—which would explain its return—many expressed affection for the animal.
"I call raccoon Kosmo-Rascal, after favorite children's book," Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko said. "If we caught him, I think we might have used him in benign experiment, maybe about training to do tricks. Is true nobody wants air filter clogged with nutshells, but nobody wants raccoon hurt, either. So?"
- But we aboard ISS Expedition 9 haven't met a problem too big for us yet, and we'll work this raccoon thing out sooner or later. Hopefully, before the clever little dickens figures out how to work the airlocks."