Astronaut Archive

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Astronaut Don Pettit Shares Passion for Science from Space

MEDIA ADVISORY : M12-043 Don for from HOUSTON — NASA and the American Physical Society (APS) have begun a partnership to share videos from the International with students, educators and fans around the world. NASA astronaut Don Pettit, currently on the orbiting outpost as a member of the Expedition 30 crew, will use everyday objects from Earth to demonstrate physics through “ off the Sphere” presentations.

Space fans know Pettit from his previous science demonstrations performed in space, such as the “Zero G Coffee Cup” from the space shuttle’s STS-126 mission in 2008. This time he has added a physics challenge for viewers. Some episodes of “Science off the Sphere” will end with a question. APS will review the responses and identify a winner. Pettit will announce the winner from aboard the station.

APS, the professional society for physicists, plans to ignite interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by sharing the “Science off the Sphere” videos on its outreach website, Physics Central. The website also will feature the physics challenges and educational content on topics Pettit demonstrates.

Pettit spent more than five and half months on board the station during Expedition 6 in 2002 and 2003. He returned to space during STS-126. Most recently, Pettit launched to the orbiting laboratory Dec. 23 with Russian Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers. The crew joined Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been on the station since Nov. 16.

Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers will remain on the station until May as members of the Expedition 31 crew. The crew members will support dozens of experiments during their time aboard the station.

To view Pettit’s science experiments performed during Expedition 6, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/spacechronicles

To view Pettit’s “Zero G Coffee Cup” video from STS-126, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/pettitcoffee

For more information about the International Space Station and its crew, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

To view APS’ Physics Central website, visit:

http://www.physicscentral.com/sots

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NASA Receives Second Highest Number Of Astronaut Applications

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington                                   
202-358-1100
jbuck@nasa.gov

Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters
Johnson Center, Houston
281-483-5111
Nicole-cloutier-1@nasa.gov

RELEASE : 12-041 NASA Of HOUSTON — More than 6,300 individuals applied to become a NASA between Nov. 15, 2011 and Jan. 27, the second highest of applications ever received by the agency. After a thorough selection process, which includes interviews and medical examinations, nine to 15 people will be selected to become part of the 21st astronaut class.

“This is a great time to join the NASA family,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “Our newest astronauts could launch aboard the commercial rockets to the space the next generation of scientists and engineers who will help us reach higher and create an American economy that is built to last.”

The Astronaut Selection Office staff will review the applications to identify those meeting the minimum requirements. Next, an expanded team, comprised mostly of active astronauts, will review those applications to determine which ones are highly qualified. Those individuals will be invited to Johnson Space Center for in-person interviews and medical evaluations.

“We will be looking for people who really stand out,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and chair of the Astronaut Selection Board. “Our team not only will be looking at their academic background and professional accomplishments but also at other elements of their personality and character traits — what types of hobbies they have or unique life experiences. We want and need a mix of individuals and skills for this next phase of human exploration.”

NASA expects to announce a final selection of astronaut candidates in the spring of 2013.

The selected astronaut candidates will have two years of initial training. Subjects will include space station systems, Russian language and spacewalking skills training. Those who complete the training will be assigned technical duties within the Astronaut Office at Johnson and, ultimately, missions.
Typically, the agency receives between 2,500 and 3,500 applicants for astronaut vacancy announcements. The highest response occurred in 1978 with 8,000 applicants.

For more information about NASA astronauts, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/flynasa.html

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Legendary Astronaut Shannon Lucid Retires From NASA

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington                                        
202-358-1100
jbuck@nasa.gov
Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters
Johnson Center, Houston
281-483-5111
nicole.cloutier-1@nasa.gov
RELEASE : 12-038 From NASA HOUSTON — Lucid, a member of NASA’s astronaut class to include women, has retired after more than three decades of service to the agency.

A veteran of five spaceflights, Lucid logged more than 223 days in space, and from August 1991 to June 2007, held the record for the most days in orbit by any woman in the world. Lucid is the only American woman to serve aboard the Russian Mir space . She lived and worked there for more than 188 days, the longest stay of any American on that vehicle. Her time on Mir also set the single flight endurance record by a woman until Suni Williams broke it in 2006.

“Shannon is an extraordinary woman and scientist. She paved the way for so many of us,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “She was a model astronaut for long-duration missions, and whether she was flying hundreds of miles up in space or serving as Capcom [capsule communicator] during the overnight hours for our space shuttle and space station crews, she always brought a smile to our faces. Like so many others, I always will look up to her.”

Lucid, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry, was selected by NASA in 1978. She joined five other women as the agency’s first female astronauts. Her first three shuttle missions deployed satellites. STS-51G in 1985 deployed and retrieved the SPARTAN satellite; STS-34 in 1989 deployed the Galileo spacecraft to explore Jupiter; and STS-43 in 1991 deployed the fifth Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-E). Her fourth shuttle mission, STS-58 in 1993, focused on medical experiments and engineering tests.

Lucid traveled aboard Atlantis on STS-76 in March 1996 to the Russian Mir space station. She performed numerous life and physical experiments during the course of her stay. She returned from the station aboard Atlantis on STS-79 in September 1996.
In 2002, Lucid served as NASA’s chief scientist at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. She returned to Johnson in the fall of 2003 and resumed technical assignments in the Astronaut Office. She served as a Capcom in the Mission Control Center for numerous space shuttle and space station crews, representing the flight crew office and providing a friendly voice for dozens of friends and colleagues in space.

For Lucid’s complete biography, visit:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/lucid.html – end – text-only version of this release

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Astronaut Jerry Ross, First Seven-Time Flier, Retires

RELEASE : 12-033 Ross, Seven-Time , HOUSTON — Jerry Ross, the first person to launch into seven times, has retired from NASA. In a career that spanned more than three decades, Ross spent almost 1,400 hours in and conducted nine spacewalks to rank third on the list of most extravehicular activity time in .

“Jerry has been instrumental in the success of many of NASA’s human spaceflight missions and numerous spacewalks,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office. “Not only were his skills and operational excellence key in major spaceflight activities but his expertise and vigilance also helped all those who followed in his footsteps. We are the better for his years of dedication to the corps and NASA.”

Ross joined NASA in 1979 as a payload officer and flight controller. In 1980, he was selected as an astronaut. He and Franklin Chang-Diaz are the only two astronauts to have flown into space seven times. In addition to Ross’ spaceflight mission accomplishments, he went on to serve NASA in the critical role of managing the Vehicle Integration Test Office.

“Jerry was equally invaluable leading this critical team, especially through space assembly, the transition to the space shuttle retirement, and during the initial phases of our future programs,” said Janet Kavandi, director of Flight Crew Operations. “He was considered a mentor to many he worked with there. We wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Of his seven flights into orbit, Ross flew on space shuttles Endeavour and Columbia once each and a record-setting five times on shuttle Atlantis, including his first and last missions. His first flight was on the STS-61B mission in 1985. His final flight into space was on the STS-110 mission in 2002.

During his seven missions, he assisted in deploying a of satellites and other payloads. He performed experiments in life, material and Earth sciences, and physics, robotics and astronomy. Ross was a member of the STS-74 mission’s crew, the mission to dock to the Russian space station Mir. He also traveled to the then-fledgling International Space Station, where he helped connect the U.S.-built Unity node to the Russian Zarya module. On the STS-110 mission, Ross’ final trip to space, he was instrumental in delivering and installing the S0 (S-Zero) truss. Ross accumulated more than 1,393 hours in space, including 58 hours and 18 minutes on nine spacewalks.

For Ross’ complete biography, visit:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/ross.html
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Astronaut Application Deadline Approaching

RELEASE : 12-024 HOUSTON — Individuals interested in becoming America’s future explorers have until Friday to submit their . The to apply for NASA’s next astronaut class is Jan. 27.

The agency typically as many as 3,500 applicants for each astronaut class. Thus far, NASA has received more than 3,000 applications since November for this class.

“We are excited about the response we have received, and we want to encourage anyone contemplating this dynamic and exciting career to apply,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office. “We are entering a new phase in human spaceflight with amazing opportunities to live and work in space. We want the best, the brightest and the most talented mix of professionals to join our team.”

Those interested in applying for the astronaut corps can submit their applications through the federal government’s USAJobs.gov website. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in engineering, or math and three years of relevant professional experience. Educators teaching kindergarten through 12th grade also are encouraged to apply.

NASA expects to announce the final selections in 2013 with initial training to begin that summer.

For more information about the astronaut application and selection process and to follow the latest news via NASA accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/flynasa
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NASA Hosts DC Tweetup With Space Station Astronaut Ron Garan

RELEASE : 12-022 NASA DC With Ron WASHINGTON — NASA invites its Twitter followers to a special Tweetup with Ron Garan at 1:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The event will take place in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St. SW in Washington.

Garan spent 164 days in space during the Expedition 27/28 mission to the International Space Station. He and his crewmates launched April 4, 2011, and returned to Earth on Sept. 15, 2011. Aboard the station, the crew worked on a variety of microgravity experiments and hosted two space shuttle missions, including the last shuttle to visit the station. Garan also participated in the last space-shuttle-based spacewalk during the STS-135 mission.

During his time in space, Garan shared his experiences and images he took of Earth from the station via his Twitter account and Fragile Oasis blog.

A Tweetup is an informal meeting of people who use the social messaging medium Twitter. This NASA Tweetup is an opportunity to meet and speak with Garan, the people behind NASA’s Twitter account and other space-exploration-minded participants.

Registration for the event is open to @NASA followers and their guests from 12 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, until 12 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24. NASA will select 150 total participants by lottery from those who register online. For more NASA Tweetup information and to sign up, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/tweetup

Garan’s Twitter account is:

http://www.twitter.com/Astro_Ron

Garan’s biography is available at:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/garan-rj.html

To find all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/connect– end – text-only version of this release

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