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  STS-126: Crew assignments (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   STS-126: Crew assignments
ASCAN1984
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From: County Down, Nothern Ireland
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posted 11-22-2007 05:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well what ever Joan Higginbotham's reasons for leaving I would like to wish her the best of luck for her future career. What stories whe could tell at the company Christmas party LOL

Gareth

PS: Does the astronaut office have christmas partys?

Apollo14LMP
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posted 11-22-2007 05:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo14LMP   Click Here to Email Apollo14LMP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know what to make of this astronauts don't make 'much'.

I attended an Alan Bean presentation where he openly stated he would have undergone all his training and flights for NO payment at all... he considered himself privileged...

I did hear a comment that Buzz Aldrin once stated that they were never ever paid what they were worth. They I take to mean Apollo Astronauts.

Anyone else read/hear Buzz's comments?

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
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posted 11-22-2007 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess with Higgenbotham is that it was a case of "been there; done that; and boy, that's a HECK of a lucrative offer that might not come my way again!"

Steve Lindsey was effusive in his praise of her when making her retirement announcement, while some astronauts simply and suddenly wind up on NASA's Former Astronaut page on it's website, without announcement or fanfare. I doubt there's any cloud involved with her departure.

Philip
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posted 11-22-2007 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, she flew on STS-116, so "Been there, done that"...

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
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posted 11-22-2007 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Well, she flew on STS-116, so "Been there, done that"...
Well, that's probably an attitude those of us who would give up their left arm to fly in space cannot understand. However, many factors go in to making such a decision, I'm sure. For every "lifer" in the Astronaut Office (John Young, Story Musgrave, Jerry Ross etc.), there are those who are really just passing through as another step in a varied and illustrious career path. I can completely understand why someone would give up the chance to fly a second, third, fourth etc. flight to take advantage of an opportunity, which would give them a new challenge and secure their financial situation for the rest of their lives. Keep in mind the road to launch is long, demanding and difficult for an astronaut, and requires compromises in other facets of their lives.

Jeff Hoffman, when asked after his 5th mission if he was going to hold out for #6, said something to the effect of "I'd love to fly in space again, but I'm not too sure I'm willing to go through the preparation it requires one more time."

I'd be willing to bet the decision wasn't an easy one for Higginbotham.

Delta7
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posted 11-22-2007 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another way to look at it is where she might have pictured herself a few years down the road. As a veteran of one space flight, having taken on a new challenge with the opportunity and resources to do some of the other things in life that she wouldn't have been able to do otherwise? Or as a graying veteran of 2 missions manning the Orion capcom console? (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Sometimes you need to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. In her case, let's be realistic. Racial and gender barriers still exist in significant proportions in this country, and she appears to have hurdled both of them in one giant leap. How many more opportunities like that were likely to come her way? She deserves congratulations, and admiration for arriving in a position in her life where she does have that opportunity. Impressive.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 11-22-2007 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The one thing that is different between the majority of current astronauts vs the MGA veterans has to do with the majority of the current astronaut corps coming from the private sector. A military astronaut already is on a somewhat small pay scale as an employee of the government. When they join NASA, they get a little more, but the total annaul pay is around $80,000 if I recall correctly (probably closer to $75,000).

An astronaut that joins from the private sector may potentially have already made more then that annually, depending on their jobs and how much of their college loans they are still paying off. By and large, many of these guys are big time over achievers already. You've got guys with Medical AND Engineering degrees. You've also got chemists, scientists in different fields and others who have invented their own products (I can recall one astronaut who patented his own shoe design). One does not join NASA to make money at it while they work there, it amounts to a pay cut compared to what they could be making.

It was said that the reason why the 1996 astronaut class (the Sardines) was so big is that George Abbey was trying to boister the engineering talent pool at JSC by bringing in more astronauts with engineering backgrounds. So by signing up astronauts, NASA wouldn't have to pay as much to them as they would to outside contractor engineers (working for private companies, those engineers get more frequent pay raises).

After astronauts leave, then they can potentially start earning larger income levels. But except for some private investments they can make with thier pay, they can't do any public endorsements for products, companies or people while they work for NASA. They can't profit from their spaceflights either, at least not until after they leave NASA.

cspg
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posted 11-23-2007 12:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Apollo14LMP:
I don't know what to make of this astronauts don't make 'much'.

I attended an Alan Bean presentation where he openly stated he would have undergone all his training and flights for NO payment at all... he considered himself privileged...


Astronauts don't make as "much" working for the Government compared to the private sector. That's what I meant.

Alan Bean can surely claim he would have worked for free...after he went to the Moon! Would he have done so beforehand?

Chris.

robsouth
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posted 11-23-2007 01:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe some of these astros that turn down flights do so because they don't want to face the risks anymore, now that I could understand but to turn it down for an office job, they can have mine.

MCroft04
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posted 11-23-2007 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
Maybe some of these astros that turn down flights do so because they don't wanna face the risks anymore, now that I could understand but to turn it down for an office job, please!!!!!!! They can have mine.
Flying for NASA has to be the ultimate accomplishment in my opinion, but Joan has already flown. While I don't know the details of her job, as a VP for a major energy company she almost definitely has a high 3 figure salary, and most likely a management incentive program and stock options. We're probably talking several million dollars within a 2-4 year timeframe. And she won't be sitting in an office 40 hours a week. Plus she'll have a practically unlimited expense budget for her travels and entertaining duties. I too struggle with resigning from an upcoming shuttle flight, but my guess is that dollars were most likely a big part of the decision. With the price of oil at almost $100 per barrel she will be in for a fun ride, although not as thrilling as the shuttle. Just my opinion.

Jay Chladek
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posted 11-24-2007 01:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rob, if you want a sampling of some of the stresses that a shuttle astronaut goes through, then pick up a copy of "Riding Rockets" by Mike Mullane and "Sky Walking" by Tom Jones. After you read about some of the behind the scenes stresses and politics that has gone on in the astronaut corps from 1978 until 1999, you might rethink matters a little.

Granted these don't really have any bearing on Joan's decision to leave NASA. But, they are informative in their own right. Reading both, the contrasting styles make them very different reads. But, there were certain similarities as well.

Delta7
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posted 11-24-2007 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the other hand, I've always wondered if there haven't been a few Astronauts who've retired after one flight due to a less-than-pleasant experience on that flight. Specifically, I'm talking about motion sickness, which affects many space travelers to some degree. There might have been some who, although able to adapt well enough to accomplish their assigned tasks, were miserable the whole time. Imagine taking a 10-day trip on a boat where you feel at least somewhat nauseous the entire time and can't get off; I'm sure we would have some hesitation about repeating the experience. While the allure of flying in space and contributing to the program might overcome that hesitation in some people, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few Astronauts who weren't real enthusiastic about repeating the experience. Just speculation on my part.

mjanovec
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posted 11-24-2007 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
Rob, if you want a sampling of some of the stresses that a shuttle astronaut goes through, then pick up a copy of "Riding Rockets" by Mike Mullane

But if you read Mullane's book, you'll also see that there was nothing more important than getting that assignment to a flight.

I'm still a little puzzled why someone would invest over 10 years in the program and turn down the chance to fly a second time.

Delta7
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posted 11-24-2007 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
I'm still a little puzzled why someone would invest over 10 years in the program and turn down the chance to fly a second time.
Personal goals changing; family considerations; office politics; unique new opportunities, to name a few.

Fred Gregory said, during an interview, that his entire career was driven by walking away from old challenges that had run their course (for him personally), to take on new ones. He said he left the Astronaut Office when it became "boring", and undertook new opportunities in management. One has to keep in mind that actually flying in space comprises about 1% of an astronaut's career. I'm sure many would stay longer if they could be guaranteed several flights a year (like was originally predicted for Shuttle astronauts back in the 1970s). On the other hand, some might get their "fill of spaceflight" sooner if they flew that often, and leave earlier.

Ultimately, you'd have to ask Joan Higginbotham.

robsouth
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posted 11-26-2007 07:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Being assigned to a crew and being 10 months away from going into space but turning that down to take up an office job, albeit a well paid job, just seems like walking away from such a fantastic opportunity.

MCroft04
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posted 11-26-2007 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In spite of my previous posts robsouth, I have to agree with you. But then neither of us has flown in space (yet). Given John Young's long tenure at NASA, I suppose he would also agree.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 11-27-2007 06:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are meds that can be taken in orbit for motion sickness and some can be taken on the ground just before launch as well.

Riding Rockets had a cute bit about that as one of the astronauts did have a short bout in their first day in orbit. So the MS assigned to give the shot for the discomfort pulls out the syringe and looks at it. The instructions warn "don't drive or operate heavy machinery". So he says something to the affect of "Well, it doesn't say anything about operating a space shuttle in orbit, so I guess it is safe" in a silly tone and gives the shot. I believe it still averages about 50% of the astronaut corps tending to have Space Adaptation Syndrome problems, but once they get past a certain point in time, their bodies finally seem to adapt and they do fine.

The ones that seemed to have the worst time in orbit were some of the payload specialists and Intercosmos visitors to the Salyut and Mir stations. Jake Garn and Bill Nelson I understand were upchuck machines and I hear there was one Japanese visitor to Mir who also had some long term problems as well. The professional astronaut and cosmonaut corps seems to have a better time of it though.

lewarren
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posted 11-29-2007 08:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lewarren   Click Here to Email lewarren     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Adaptation Syndrome is very serious stuff.

There are meds that can administered in flight and there are also meds that can be taken prophylactically before launch.

Space motion sickness or space adaptation syndrome actually afflicts 70-80% of astronauts (not 50%).

The symptoms range from those that cause a minor irritation to debilitating nausea.

In most cases, the symptoms clear during the first few days in orbit. As a precaution, flight rules prohibit EVAs until FD3, when most people should be symptom free.

There have been very rare cases when a crewmember feels lousy during the whole flight; never really adapting to weightlessness.

MCroft04
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posted 11-29-2007 10:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lewarren:
Space Adaptation Syndrome is very serious stuff.

Space motion sickness or space adaptation syndrome actually afflicts 70-80% of astronauts (not 50%).


What do the statistics say about astronauts on subsequent missions? If they experience SAS on their first mission, is it more likely that they will adapt quicker on the second, third etc missions, or do they typically experience the same symptoms?

RMH
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posted 11-30-2007 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RMH   Click Here to Email RMH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently heard a current shuttle astronaut give a speech and he mentioned that one of his close astronaut buddies had recently went into space and that he was so sick for the entire mission that this astronaut never wants to fly in space again. He didn't give his buddies name. That would be a huge disappointment to wait for all those years and go through all the training just to be nauseated.


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