CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – Shuttle Atlantis astronaut Randy Bresnik awoke early on Sunday to a much-anticipated call that his new daughter had been born.
Bresnik's wife, Rebecca, gave birth to Abigail Mae Bresnik just after midnight. At the time, Bresnik was in orbit 220 miles above Earth with 11 astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station.
Bresnik blasted off Monday for an 11-day mission to stock the station with spare parts.
"I'm a little disappointed that he won't be able to be there but understanding that we don't choose the timing and excited for him that he's doing what he's doing," Rebecca Bresnik said in an interview before last week's launch.
The Bresniks had expected their baby to be born on Friday. Rebecca, who said her labor was being induced two weeks early due to medical concerns, had hoped the baby would not be born during one of Bresnik's two spacewalks. On that count, she was successful -- Sunday the crew had a half-day off.
The couple, who had been told they could not have children, last year adopted a boy from Ukraine. Three months after he came to live with them in Houston, Rebecca Bresnik learned she was pregnant.
"We've got this wonderfully happy and healthy little 3-year-old old boy whose life has changed completely," Bresnik said during a prelaunch interview. "He's gone from being in an orphanage on the other side of the planet to being in the space shuttle simulator flying with his dad a couple weeks ago.
"We're fortunate enough to witness the miracle of adoption as well as the miracle of child birth all in one year. We're just amazingly blessed," he said.
Bresnik and his crewmates -- including returning space shuttle flight engineer Nicole Stott -- are due back at the Kennedy Space Center on Friday.