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  STS-126: Crew assignments (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   STS-126: Crew assignments
Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-09-2007 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spacefacts lists the crew of STS-126 as:
  • Chris Ferguson, CDR
  • Eric Boe, Pilot
  • Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper, MS
  • Joan Higginbotham, MS
  • Stephen Bowen, MS
  • Robert "Shane" Kimbrough, MS
  • Sandy Magnus, ISS Flight Engineer

NavySpaceFan
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posted 09-10-2007 07:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a great crew!!! It is a feather in CAPT Ferguson's cap getting command after only one flight as PLT. Great to see CAPT Stefanyshyn-Piper and Dr. Higginbotham back on a crew, and a special well done to CDR Bowen, the first submarine officer astronaut. Heck, all this crew needs is a Surface Warfare Officer (I'll volunteer gladly ) and they would have all Navy warfare areas just about covered.

lewarren
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posted 09-10-2007 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lewarren   Click Here to Email lewarren     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not to detract from Fergie's accomplishment, but the PLT-CDR Acceleration Program has been in effect since 2000. Pilots must now complete only one flight as PLT before getting a CDR assigment. Rick Husband was the first to realize this upgrade - getting assigned as CDR to STS-107 after being PLT on STS-96.

mjanovec
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posted 09-10-2007 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspect we'll be seeing more pilots getting commands with just one flight with the remaining shuttle flights. At present, the only active, flown pilots without a command assignment are:

Jim Kelly (2 flights)
Charles Hobaugh (2 flights)
Lee Archambault (1 flight)

With 8 possible remaining flights that have yet to be assigned a commander (119, 127-133), there are still 7 pilots who have not yet been assigned a pilot position on a flight. If NASA tries to ensure that most of these pilots get to fly at least one mission, I think we'll be seeing more of the one-time pilots moving up to commands...simply because there aren't enough flights to allow pilots to fly the standard two missions before getting a command. Granted, it's always possible that NASA could rely on it's pool of experienced (or soon-to-be experienced) commanders to fill some/most of the remaining seats, if NASA simply wants to make the pilot's seat available to the unflown pilot astros in order to make sureas many as possible get a flight experience. (Granted, it's also quite likely that several of these guys who don't get a shuttle assignment or command will be in line for the early Orion flights.)

Out of interest, here are the shuttle commanders who served as pilot only once before sliding over to the commander's seat:

Richard Truly
Gordon Fullerton
Hank Hartsfield
Robert Overmyer
Karol Bobko
Rick Hauck
Dan Brandenstein
Brewster Shaw
Robert Gibson
Dick Scobee
Michael Coats
David Walker
Loren Shriver
Donald Williams
Frederick Gregory
John Creighton
Steven Nagel
Bryan O'Connor
Richard Richards
James Wetherbee
John Casper
Kenneth Cameron
Frank Culbertson
Sidney Gutierrez
William Readdy
Donald McMonagle
Kenneth Cockrell
Charles Precourt
Rick Husband
Mark Polansky
Scott Kelly
Stephen Frick
Christopher Ferguson

Of the 69 assigned commanders to date, 33 flew (or are scheduled to fly) with only one previous assignment in the pilot's seat. Also, at the risk of repeating the obvious, the first 6 commands went to astronauts with no previous shuttle flight experience, one of whom (Joe Engle) had no orbital spaceflight experience at all (but did earn his wings on the X-15). To date, the number of people who sat in the command seat with two pilot assignments prior to their command is 30.

I'm not sure what this exercise proves, other than I have too much time on my hands. I guess it perhaps shows that the two-flight "rule" for pilot's is anything but a rule.

NavySpaceFan
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posted 09-10-2007 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow!!! I was not aware that about half of all CDRs only flew once as PLT. I guess with the number of remaining shuttle flights limited, they need somethng to get these folks some flight experience before Orion.

Tom
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posted 09-10-2007 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
Out of interest, here are the shuttle commanders who served as pilot only once before sliding over to the commander's seat
Forgot Robert Crippen

Also... the following also served as MS prior to flying as PLT:
Steven Nagel
William Readdy
Donald McMonagle
Kenneth Cockrell
Charles Precourt

mjanovec
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posted 09-10-2007 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom:
Forgot Robert Crippen

Oops, I guess it's in my nature to overlook the most obvious one!

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-10-2007 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would add Dave Griggs to the MS to PLT list as well. He was assigned a flight (STS-33) as PLT after flying a mission as an MS (STS-51D) before he got killed in a plane crash. He didn't fly of course, but he was assigned and a mission patch was made with his name on it.

ASCAN1984
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posted 09-11-2007 03:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lets not forget it is Shame Kimbrough's first flight which makes him the first member of the 2004 class to be selected.

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-11-2007 07:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good point about Shane and thanks for bringing it up. The Peacocks get their first flyer! Plus this guy is US Army (my dad retired a Lt Col in the Army).

It is a MAJOR coup for him to get a flight since when NASA selected the class of 2004 they pretty much told the bunch that their chances of getting a flight on shuttle were not in the cards. Training for flights to the ISS on Soyuz were a better chance in the near term.

I asked Tom Marshburn about that when he visited my area over a year ago and he mentioned they were all told that there was a good chance none of them would get to fly in space given it was less then a year after Columbia burned up. But they still wanted to join anyway since they felt it was the best job in the world.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-11-2007 08:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ASCAN1984:
Lets not forget it is Shame Kimbrough's first flight which makes him the first member of the 2004 class to be selected.
Technically, Kimbrough the first American member of Group 19 to be chosen for a flight. Akihiko Hoshide was assigned earlier to STS-124.

RMH
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posted 09-11-2007 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RMH   Click Here to Email RMH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What happened to Stephen Bowen as a member of STS-124? Did he get switched missions? In his Bio it still lists him on STS-124.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-11-2007 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STS-124 needed to free up a seat for Expedition 18 ISS Flight Engineer Gregory Chamitoff.

East-Frisian
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posted 09-11-2007 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
Good point about Shane and thanks for bringing it up. The Peacocks get their first flyer! Plus this guy is US Army (my dad retired a Lt Col in the Army).

Sorry for my ignorance, I'm from Germany, but what means "Peacocks"? Is it the nickname for the astronauts, who were selected finally?

The Eastfrisian

KSCartist
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posted 09-11-2007 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Peacocks" were named that by the Class of 2000.

As it was told to me by Chris Cassidy, when the Class of 2004 was announced they recieved an above average amount of press attention due to the inclusion of educator astronauts.

Tim

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-13-2007 12:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The way it works is each incoming astronaut class typically gets named by the previous class. Most of the names are humorous while some are less then flattering (but still funny). I can't remember exactly where the tradition started since the only humorous name I can recall from the 1960s was one of the early scientist astronaut classes. They were known as the "XS-11" (Excess 11, get it?).

By 1978, the first class of shuttle astronauts were called the TFNGs for "Thirty Five New Guys." But it also means in military slang "The &^%$ing New Guys". Class of 1984 was called the "Magots" with a bit of a drill sargent slant (I think "An Officer and a Gentleman" came out that year as Lou Gossett won an Oscar for his DI role in it). The class of 1990 is known as "The Hairballs" due to them being the 13th astronaut class at NASA. Black cats are normally associated with the number 13 (sign of bad luck), and cats usually caugh up hairballs, hence the name. The class of 1995 was called "The Snails" by the previous class (given that name because they were selected a year later then normal), but they took on the name "The Flying Escargot" probably due to a couple French ESA astronauts in their class. Within the astronaut ranks, they are still called the snails for the most part though.

Class of 1996 was called "The Sardines" since they were the biggest astronaut class to date (packed in like Sardines as they say). Since the 1996 class was so large (due to George Abbey's buildup to help get astronauts in as a source of engineering talent on the government payroll), they figured that the class after them was going to be waiting a long time before they would fly. So they were going to name the 1998 class after a flightless bird.

The 1998 class took the initiative to make sure they would become "The Penguins" by doing what amounted to an election campaign, complete with stickers, T-shirts and the like. They did this since they didn't want the earlier class to call them something less then flattering such as The Rheas, Emus, DoDos or Ostriches. It worked and they are one of the few classes that ever succeeded in naming themselves.

By the classes of 2000 and 2004, things were back to normal. So the class of 2000 named the 2004 class "The Peacocks" for the reasons mentioned above. Each class also usually designs their own class patch as well.

John Charles
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posted 09-13-2007 07:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
...the only humorous name I can recall from the 1960s was one of the early scientist astronaut classes. They were known as the "XS-11" (Excess 11, get it?).

Don't forget Group 5, named "The Original 19" by John Young.

------------------
John Charles
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Greggy_D
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posted 09-13-2007 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And once again, Anna Fisher gets overlooked. Completely ridiculous.

dcfowler1
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posted 09-13-2007 10:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dcfowler1   Click Here to Email dcfowler1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What on Earth would lead you to believe that an astronaut who hasn't flown in 23 years would even vaguely be in the mix for a flight assignment?

What's "completely ridiculous" about that?

Fisher is "active" in name only, and it's been that way for a very long time.

See also: Cagle; Caldeiro.

D

Greggy_D
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posted 09-13-2007 10:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then why title her "active"? Active means eligible for flight, does it not? Tell me WHY she does not deserve another flight.

Her NASA bio states:

"Dr. Fisher is currently assigned to the Shuttle Branch and works technical assignments in that branch while awaiting an assignment as either a Space Shuttle crewmember on a Space Station assembly mission or as a crewmember aboard the International Space Station."

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-14-2007 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whether or not Anna Fisher gets another flight is immaterial to this discussion about 126. The fact she even managed to make it back into the astronaut corps after her leave of absence is a small miracle considering. If she is patient and can still pass the flight physical, she'll make it back into orbit.

dcfowler1
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posted 09-14-2007 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dcfowler1   Click Here to Email dcfowler1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's not about passing the flight physicals, it's about the office politics, and the person (Abbey) who used to be Fisher's champion isn't there anymore, so she won't be flying. I guarantee it.

In any case, there are too many newer-vintage astronauts in the queue now.

Fisher is "active" in name only the way John Young was "active" in name only for many years. Sort of in the way that some people hang around their high school, long after graduation.

Dave

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-01-2007 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
quote:
NASA Assigns Crew for Space Station Assembly Mission

NASA has assigned the space shuttle crew for Endeavour's STS-126 mission, targeted for launch in September 2008. The flight will deliver equipment to the International Space Station that will enable larger crews to reside aboard the complex.

Veteran space flier Navy Capt. Christopher J. Ferguson will command Endeavour. Air Force Lt. Col. Eric A. Boe will serve as the pilot. The mission specialists are Navy Cmdr. Stephen G. Bowen, NASA astronaut Joan E. Higginbotham, Army Lt. Col. Robert S. Kimbrough and Navy Capt. Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper. Boe, Bowen and Kimbrough will be making their first spaceflight.

STS-126 will be the second spaceflight for Ferguson and Stefanyshyn-Piper, who flew together on STS-115 in September 2006. It also is the second flight for Higginbotham, who flew on STS-116 in December 2006.

Endeavour will carry a reusable logistics module that will hold supplies and equipment, including additional crew quarters, a second treadmill, equipment for the regenerative life support system and spare hardware.

A native of Philadelphia, Ferguson served as pilot of the shuttle Atlantis for STS-115. He has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University, Philadelphia, and a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. He was selected as an astronaut in 1998.

Boe was born in Miami and grew up in Atlanta. He has a bachelor's degree in astronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., and a master's degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. He was selected as an astronaut in 2000.

Bowen was born in Cohasset, Mass. He has a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Bowen also was selected as an astronaut in 2000. He was previously named to the STS-124 crew but has been reassigned to STS-126. The change will allow room for the STS-124 mission to rotate a space station resident, who will be named later.

A native of Chicago, Higginbotham flew on STS-116. She has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and master's degrees in both management and space systems from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne. She was selected as an astronaut in 1996.

Kimbrough was born in Killeen, Texas, and grew up in Smyrna, Ga. He has a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and a master's degree in operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was selected as an astronaut in 2004.

Stefanyshyn-Piper was born in St. Paul, Minn. She conducted two spacewalks on STS-115. She has a bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was selected as an astronaut in 1996.


Delta7
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posted 10-27-2007 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This topic may have been addressed earlier, but I'm brand-new here. With reference to Anna Fisher being "ignored" by the crew selection powers-that be, does any one know why neither Yvonne Cagle, Frank Caldeiro, or Neil Woodward have never been selected for a flight? I assumed it was a private medical issue, until reading an interview with Caldeiro from 2005 where he stated to the effect that he didn't know why! Seems like a waste of training and talent, but I'm sure there has to be a reason.

Another question mark is Kay Hire, who's had one flight in 1998, and nothing since.

I guess I'm trying to find out if Astronaut Office politics plays as big a part in the post-George Abbey era as it did during it.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-02-2007 02:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fox News is reporting that Joan Higginbotham has chosen to resign from NASA, effective Nov. 30, and has been replaced by Don Pettit aboard STS-126:
quote:
Mission specialist Joan Higgenbotham [sic] said her new position will be with Marathon as a vice president of business development and worldwide production.

Referring to her more than twenty years of government service, Higgenbotham said, "It was fine, but its time to move on."

...

She has been replaced on the September mission by astronaut Don Petit [sic], who spent months aboard Space Station Alpha last year.


KSCartist
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posted 11-02-2007 06:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
Another question mark is Kay Hire, who's had one flight in 1998, and nothing since.
Didn't Kay Hire return to active duty with the Navy for a time after 9/11. That would account for her still waiting her next flight assignment.

Tim

John Charles
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posted 11-02-2007 07:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Fox News is reporting that Joan Higginbotham has chosen to resign from NASA, effective Nov. 30, and has been replaced by Don Pettit aboard STS-126
Not very reassuring that Fox News misspelled the only two names in the article (Higginbotham and Pettit) and also mis-reported Pettit's ISS mission as "last year" (he landed in 2003, over 4 years ago).

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Jay Chladek
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posted 11-02-2007 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alrighty, "ubernerd" flies again!!! Way cool.

NavySpaceFan
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posted 11-02-2007 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
Didn't Kay Hire return to active duty with the Navy for a time after 9/11. That would account for her still waiting her next flight assignment.
From CAPT Hire's JSC Bio (as of Jan 07): "Her current Navy Reserve assignment with SPAWAR supports Integration and Interoperability Programs."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-21-2007 02:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
quote:
NASA Amends Crew Assignment for STS-126 Mission

NASA has replaced a crew member assigned to space shuttle mission STS-126. Astronaut Donald R. Pettit will take the place of astronaut Joan E. Higginbotham, who has left NASA to accept a position in the private sector. The mission is targeted to launch in September 2008 and will deliver equipment to the International Space Station enabling larger crews to reside aboard the complex.

Higginbotham flew as a mission specialist on STS-116 in December 2006. She began her career at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in 1987, contributing to 53 space shuttle launches. She was selected as an astronaut in 1996.

"Joan has done a tremendous job as an astronaut during the past 11 years," said Steve Lindsey, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. "She contributed her expertise to nearly every space shuttle and International Space Station mission. She will be missed, but we wish her the very best in her future endeavors."

The STS-126 mission will be Pettit's second spaceflight. Pettit will serve as a mission specialist aboard shuttle Endeavour. He joins previously named crew members Commander Christopher J. Ferguson, Pilot Eric A. Boe and mission specialists Stephen G. Bowen, Robert S. Kimbrough and Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper.

Pettit first flew as a crew member of Expedition 6, logging more than 161 days in space, including more than 13 hours during two spacewalks. He launched to the station aboard shuttle mission STS-113 in November 2002 and returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-1 spacecraft in May 2003. He was selected as an astronaut in 1996.


GoesTo11
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posted 11-21-2007 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Re: Higginbotham's resignation

I've got to believe it's awfully rare for an astronaut to leave NASA while assigned to an upcoming flight.

Any others?

Kevin

mjanovec
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posted 11-21-2007 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
I've got to believe it's awfully rare for an astronaut to leave NASA while assigned to an upcoming flight.

I have to wonder if there's more to the story that we're not hearing. Or did she just get an offer she couldn't refuse?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-21-2007 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
Any others?
Jon McBride left after being assigned to STS-35 (Vance Brand took his place).

Mary Cleave departed after being named to the STS-42 crew (Sonny Carter was assigned to replace her but was killed in a plane crash before he could fly).

There are others who left after the Challenger accident, having been assigned to what would become canceled flights.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-21-2007 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
I have to wonder if there's more to the story that we're not hearing. Or did she just get an offer she couldn't refuse?
According to the earlier Fox News report:
quote:
Higginbotham said her new position will be with Marathon [Oil Corporation] as a vice president of business development and worldwide production.

robsouth
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posted 11-21-2007 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
Or did she just get an offer she couldn't refuse?
I'd say that going into space to the ISS was an offer that couldn't be refused. Vice President blah blah blah, doesn't even come close to going into space.

Delta7
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posted 11-21-2007 09:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul Richards retired after being assigned to ISS Expedition 7 (Pre-Columbia);

John Herrington retired after beginning ISS expedition crew training.

Donald Thomas replaced on Expedition 6 by Don Pettit (medical issue). Subsequently went into management.

Mark Lee after being assigned to STS-98 (removed for reasons unknown).

Jean-Loup Chretien from STS-105 after injuring his hand.

Jim Halsell (STS-120) and Terrence Wilcutt (STS-116) were scheduled to command Shuttle missions at the time of the Columbia accident; both subsequently took management positions.

Carlos Noriega left Steve Lindsey's crew (originally assigned to STS-119, then re-assigned to STS-121 post-Columbia) for medical reasons.

Astronauts who were scheduled to fly at the time of Challenger, but who subsequently left without flying again:

Owen Garriott, Bob Crippen, Dale Gardner, Jon McBride, Sally Ride, Bob Stewart, James van Hoften, Roy Bridges, Bill Fisher, Anna Fisher (subsequently returned, but not likely to fly again). Mike Smith of the Challenger crew was scheduled to fly again as PLT later than year (STS 51-I I believe). John Young took a management position (was scheduled to command the HST deployment).

Delta7
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posted 11-21-2007 10:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also, Christopher Loria replaced by Paul Lockhart as STS-113 pilot, after asking to be removed due to an "injury sustained at home which impacted his training". (I'm curious as to why NASA flight surgeons apparently never weighed in on the matter. It was presented as entirely Loria's decision, and he eventually left NASA without ever flying into space).

MCroft04
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posted 11-21-2007 10:34 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:
Vice President blah blah blah, doesn't even come close to going into space.
Can you say stock options? The money has to be difficult to resist at ~$100 per barrel!

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 11-21-2007 11:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
People join the astronaut corps for many reasons and they decide to move on for just as many different reasons. In Joan's case, I don't see her as being assigned to perform an EVA, so she would essentially have been going up to work with the resupply efforts inside the station. Granted maybe she would have been assigned some RMS work, but who knows. Maybe she felt that after working on the hardware at KSC all those years, then finally getting to fly with only a few years left in the program that the chances of getting to do something new in orbit were not so good compared to what she had already done. That is what I suspect anyway.

An astronaut has so many other things pulling at them from different sides. First you have the relatively low civil servant employee pay compared to what one could be making in the private sector. Second there is the stress from family, something that really tends to get sent upwards near the time of a launch, be it the family member flying or a close friend of the family (there are lots of friends among astronauts). Third there is the pressure to perform in the day to day duties as one doesn't entirely know what it takes to get a flight or to not get one. Not everyone performs exactly the same way in such an environment year after year as it does take years of experiencing this on average before the big spaceflight assignment.

In Pettit's case, considering he has a young family and already did spend several months isolated from them on Expedition 6, I can see why he might have opted for a shuttle mission specialist assignment as opposed to another Expedition flight engineer assignment. As such, he is very lucky to get this shot. I would have to say though that I think a guy like Pettit would be perfectly suited for a mission to the Moon or Mars since he thinks so outside of the box that he could do things that nobody else had considered once he got to the Moon and increase our scientific understanding by so much more.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 11-22-2007 12:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
Vice President blah blah blah, doesn't even come close to going into space.
Well, we haven't been into space so we can hardly have an informed opinion.

Maybe space is boring. And if astronauts themselves feel that way, the space program is in real trouble.

Astronauts don't make "much" as astronauts and risk their lives when launched. Going to work for an oil company may not be such a bad idea.

Although I find it strange to quit when your flight is 10 months away. If you had to wait 2-3 years like the post Challenger/Columbia accidents, I could understand.

Chris.


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