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Astronaut applicants asked for patience as numbers exceed forecasts


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    • By NASA
      Portrait of retired NASA astronaut Joe Engle wearing flight suit in front of an X-15 fighter circa 1963. Retired NASA astronaut and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Joe Engle died July 10, surrounded by his family at home in Houston. Among his many honors, he is the only astronaut to pilot both the X-15 and space shuttle. He was 91.
      Engle became an astronaut at age 32 while flying the X-15 for the U.S. Air Force, becoming the youngest pilot ever to qualify as an astronaut. When selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 1966, he was the only person selected that was already engaged in spaceflight operations. He was the last surviving X-15 pilot.
      “A natural pilot, Gen. Joe Engle helped humanity’s dreams take flight – in the X-15 program, the Apollo Program, and as one of the first commanders in the Space Shuttle Program,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “He was one of the first astronauts I met at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. I’ll never forget his big smile, his warmth, and his courage. We all will miss him.” 
      Engle was born in Dickinson County, Kansas, and attended the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where he graduated with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1955. He received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Course, earning his pilot wings in 1958.
      As a NASA astronaut, he supported the Apollo Program, and was backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 14. In 1977, he served as commander of the space shuttle Enterprise, which used a modified Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft to release Enterprise for approach and landing tests. In November 1981, he commanded the second flight of the space shuttle Columbia. He was the first and only pilot to manually fly an aerospace vehicle from Mach 25 to landing. He accumulated the last of his 224 hours in space when he commanded the space shuttle Discovery in August 1985, one of the most challenging shuttle missions ever. On that mission the crew deployed three commercial satellites and retrieved, repaired, and redeployed another malfunctioning satellite that had been launched on a previous shuttle mission.
      “As we mourn the immense loss of Joe, we’re thankful for his notable contributions to the advancement of human spaceflight,” said Vanessa Wyche, center director, NASA Johnson. “Joe’s accomplishments and legacy of perseverance will continue to inspire and impact generations of explorers for years to come.” 
      Engle flew more than 180 different aircraft types and logged more than 14,000 flight hours. His military decorations include the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, and the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster. He has received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and Space Flight Medal, as well as the Harmon International Aviation Trophy, the Collier Trophy, the Goddard Space Trophy, the Gen.
      Thomas D. White Space Trophy, and the Kinchelow Experimental Test Pilot’s Trophy. In 1992, he was inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor.
      “Joe Henry was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Blessed with natural piloting skills, General Joe, as he was known to many, was at his happiest in any cockpit. Always with a smile, he lived a fulfilled life as a proud American, U.S. Air Force pilot, astronaut, and Kansas Jayhawk,” said his wife, Jeanie Engle. “His passing leaves a tremendous loss in our hearts. We take comfort that he has joined Tom Stafford and George Abbey, two of the best friends anyone could ask for.”
      Learn more about Engle’s life as an astronaut and pilot:
      https://www.nasa.gov/aeronautics/the-x-15-the-pilot-and-the-space-shuttle/
      -end-
      Faith McKie / Cheryl Warner
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      faith.d.mckie@nasa.gov / cheryl.m.warner@nasa.gov
      Chelsey Ballarte / Courtney Beasley
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      chelsey.n.ballarte@nasa.gov / courtney.m.beasley@nasa.gov  
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      July 3, 2024
      RELEASE: J24-011
      Former Chief Astronaut Patrick Forrester NASA NASA astronaut Patrick G. Forrester retired June 29, after a career spanning 31 years of service and three spaceflights. He went on to become chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office, and most recently served as an advisor to the associate administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
      Forrester joined the agency in 1993 as an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and was selected to become an astronaut in 1996. He dedicated his early career to the assembly of the International Space Station, spending 40 days in space and completing four spacewalks totaling 25 hours and 30 minutes.
      “Pat’s dedication and commitment to the advancement of human space exploration over the past three decades has been an inspiration, not just to the Johnson workforce, but the Artemis generation as well,” said NASA’s Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche. “I want to extend my sincere gratitude to Pat for his outstanding contributions. His legacy will continue to impact the agency and the next generation of explorers for many years to come. Many congratulations to Pat; I wish him all the best in his retirement.”
      Forrester launched to the space station for the first time in August 2001 aboard space shuttle Discovery in support of STS-105. Forrester was the mission’s prime robotics operator, helping to install the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module that would help deliver 2.7 metric tons of supplies to the station. He flew again with STS-117 in June 2007 aboard space shuttle Atlantis, delivering the orbiting laboratory’s second starboard truss and its third set of solar arrays. His final spaceflight, STS-128 aboard Discovery, launched in August 2009. As prime robotics officer, Forrester again installed Leonardo and the crew transferred 18,000 pounds of supplies.
      Forrester continued to support the astronaut corps through numerous leadership positions, serving as technical assistant to the director of Flight Crew Operations. He was a crew representative of robotics development on the space station and shuttle training and onboard crew procedures. Forrester also held the role of spacecraft communicator, or CAPCOM, for both station and shuttle missions.
      In 2017, Forrester became chief of the Astronaut Office, overseeing the first flights of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and helping develop the initial architecture for the agency’s Artemis campaign. In 2020, he stepped down from his chief position, handing over to NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman.
      “Pat’s leadership was instrumental during a time where NASA was just starting to launch our astronauts from American soil again,” said Norm Knight, director of flight operations at NASA Johnson. “I admire his courage, his tenacity, and his character during such a dynamic time in our history, and I thank him for laying a strong foundation, not just in his role as chief astronaut, but through his career in human spaceflight. To me, he is a mentor and a friend, and I wish him all the best.”
      At the time of his retirement, Forrester supported the Space Operations Mission Directorate, serving as the director of the Cross-Directorate Technical Integration Office and an adviser to the directorate’s associate administrator and fellow NASA astronaut Ken Bowersox.
      “Pat is an incredible leader who has provided invaluable service to NASA’s astronaut corps and human spaceflight during his career,” said Ken Bowersox, associate administrator for space operations at NASA. “In the Space Operations Mission Directorate, his influence will be felt long after his departure as we continue to work every day in low Earth orbit and prepare for the future near Earth, at the Moon, Mars and into the solar system.”
      An El Paso, Texas, native, Forrester earned a bachelor of science degree in applied sciences and engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, and a master of science in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. A retired colonel in the U.S. Army, Forrester logged more than 5,300 hours of flight time in over 50 different aircraft as an operational aviator and test pilot, retiring in 2005.
      “It has been an honor to serve our nation as a member of the NASA family. Many of the stories I will tell for the rest of my life will be related to my experiences here,” said Forrester. “I look forward to watching my friends and colleagues circle the Moon and eventually land on its surface – with the help of all those serving faithfully on the ground. I am forever grateful.”
      Read Forrester’s full biography at:
      https://go.nasa.gov/45NnfUA
      -end-
      Chelsey Ballarte
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      chelsey.n.ballarte@nasa.gov
      View the full article
    • By European Space Agency
      Video: 00:38:43 Australian Space Agency astronaut candidate Katherine Bennell-Pegg joined ESA’s astronaut candidates from the class of 2022 for basic training through a cooperation agreement with ESA. Tune in as she shares her experiences in astronaut training, her favourite lessons, and what keeps her inspired on her journey to the stars!
      This is episode 7 of our ESA Explores podcast series introducing the ESA astronaut class of 2022, recorded in March 2024. 
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      Access all ESA Explores podcasts.
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      Video: 00:24:06 John McFall, a member of the European astronaut reserve from the ESA astronaut class of 2022, brings a diverse background to his role. With experience as an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon and a former Paralympic sprinter, John is participating in the groundbreaking "Fly!" feasibility study. This initiative seeks to enhance our comprehension of the challenges posed by space flight for astronauts with physical disabilities, aiming to overcome these barriers. Tune in to discover more about John and the "Fly!" project.
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      Hosted by Laura Zurmühlen, with audio editing and music by Denzel Lorge, and cover art by Gaël Nadaud.
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