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Author Topic:   NASA Information Summaries: Astronaut Fact Book
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-13-2005 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA has updated their Astronaut Fact Book to be current through January 2005. (1.8 Mb PDF)

eurospace
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Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 01-14-2005 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Browsing through the new version of the Astronaut Fact Book, there are number of things I find peculiar:
  • They do list short biographies of Russian cosmonauts, but only seem to mention their flights on the shuttle. Many of those Russians are accomplished spacefarers with far more time in space than most US astronauts - wouldn't that be a necessary part of any professional biographical listing? Also, most are listed as current and active, which is not the case.

  • When mentioning American astronauts who reached their destined locaton in space, they probably got there with the help of a magical stick. Thagard - his long term stay is to be referred as "MIR/STS-71". No word of Soyuz TM-21 that got him there. Same with Mike Foale. He "was" there, but never "got there". Leroy Chiao's current mission is not even mentioned. Then again, Lu deserves the privilege of seeing his TMA-2 spacecraft listed. I assume THIS is considered the error by NASA - the existence of foreign spacecraft is to be camouflaged.

  • Russian cosmonauts who flew on the shuttle are listed with biographies. However, spacefarers from other nations who did the same are not honored to the same degree. Merbold and Baudry, Mukai, Tognini and Clervoy (who even followed and completed full mission specialist training) are not listed with a biography.

    McAuliffe, Jarvis and Ramon - no biography. To be nasty: they succeeded to get them killed, but that's not worth a biographical listing?

  • When it comes to "former" astronauts, John Young is listed as being such a former one. Duane Carey, who left before Young, is still mentioned as active. Jim Wetherbee, who left at the same time as Young, is still there. Gennady Strekalov, who died before Young formally quit, is still alive for them.
The cleansing of the Russian cosmonauts' career is unacceptable, the omission of the other foreign flyers regrettable, the rest simply very sloppy editing.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-15-2005 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some of your concerns are answered in the preface.

- International flyers biographies and information:

The non-U.S. information presented here was gathered from the biographies provided by the various space agencies with which these individuals are affiliated.
So, the absence of biographies may be because the flyer's agency failed to provide one (in a timely manner or otherwise).

- Soyuz launches:

The space flights and statistics listed in this publication resulted from the vertical takeoff of an American space vehicle or Soyuz taxi flights to the International Space Station.
Hence, Thagard's Mir flight is not included. As for Chiao, it may be a situation of when the content was written, as with the retirement/death statistics noted below.

- Payload specialists:

Payload specialists are career scientists or engineers selected by their employer or country for their expertise in conducting a specific experiment or commercial venture. Information about them is not included in the Astronaut Fact Book.
The errors made in retirement and death statistics, as noted above, may in part be a factor of when the content was prepared and "frozen" for publication. (Young's retirement was in planning for some time; Carey's was likely less so.)

Finally, in regards to cosmonaut/international astronaut flight statistics being limited to U.S. flights only, the purpose of this document is and has always been to track manned spaceflights as they pertain only to the U.S. space program (which is logical, given that its being published and distributed for free by the U.S. space agency).

MSS
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Posts: 372
From: Kolo, Poland
Registered: May 2003

posted 01-16-2005 02:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MSS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have some old paper version of this publication starting from 1979 and I can see how it has changed until today!

Here are some versions from 1975-82 among Skylab files: find them alone!

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 01-16-2005 05:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So, the absence of biographies may be because the flyer's agency failed to provide one (in a timely manner or otherwise).
Actually, incorrect. JSC just got to look onto their own website. Both the information on the Russian cosmonaut biographies and their flight record is there, as are the previous flights of the foreign mission specialists (like Eyharts). Can't they be expected to visit their own website?
quote:
Hence, Thagard's Mir flight is not included. As for Chiao, it may be a situation of when the content was written, as with the retirement/death statistics noted below.
Actually, if they would have followed their policy on "taxi flights to the International Space Station", they should be mentioned in the text on Foale as on Chiao. They are not - they still got there by the magic stick. Not credible, sorry.

And is there any valid reason to deprive poor Norman Thagard (who certainly had the hardest job of all the MIR visitors) from his achievement of being the first US astronaut on a Russian vehicle? Certainly not.

The spacecraft Ed Lu used for his long term stay on ISS is mentioned - coherent with the policy you describe. It is not for Foale or Chiao, nor others. Sloppiness for sure, or a deliberate policy to omit the fact that NASA had to use Russian spacecraft to deliver their astronauts to the ISS?

Payload specialists are career scientists or engineers selected by their employer or country for their expertise in conducting a specific experiment or commercial venture. Information about them is not included in the Astronaut Fact Book.
Fair enough as far as the payload specialists are concerned - their US counterparts are not included either.

But you're missing the point entirely: I was talking about the mission specialists. Tognini, Clervoy, Ilan Ramon all were fully qualified mission specialists. The former MS of NASA are listed, the former MS from abroad are not. In other words: incoherent and thus discriminative selection.

quote:
The errors made in retirement and death statistics, as noted above, may in part be a factor of when the content was prepared and "frozen" for publication.
Then why is Horowitz mentioned as retired, while Carey is not? Both their press releases came out the very same day (if I remember correctly). No, no discrimination here, just sloppy editing.
quote:
Finally, in regards to cosmonaut/international astronaut flight statistics being limited to U.S. flights only, the purpose of this document is and has always been to track manned spaceflights as they pertain only to the U.S. space program (which is logical, given that its being published and distributed for free by the U.S. space agency).
Absolutely. Norman Thagard is an American astronaut, his flight on Soyuz TM-21 was not a private tourist flight, but on his working time for NASA. Same for the foreign mission specialists: they were trained as mission specialists by NASA, and they flew on shuttle missions. Would you say that Ilan Ramon is not part of the US space history? I don't think you do... but if you did I would find this appalling.

Tom
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Posts: 1275
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 01-16-2005 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also, I don't see any mention of Canadien astronaut (and STS-85 PS Tryggvason) listed... except for the flight summaries at the very end.

MSS
Member

Posts: 372
From: Kolo, Poland
Registered: May 2003

posted 01-16-2005 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MSS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is also ISS expedition flights durations at the end of document!

(All data is also at my web page ISS crews!)

MSS
Member

Posts: 372
From: Kolo, Poland
Registered: May 2003

posted 04-12-2013 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MSS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the updated version (from April 8, 2013) of the Astronaut Fact Book.

It's not perfect, but interesting.

Henry Heatherbank
Member

Posts: 146
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 04-12-2013 11:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just flipping through this and noticed the military rank section.

Presumably this lists highest military rank achieved during that person's military career, not just when an astronaut. Edward Givens a Maj. Gen? Is that right? Presumably a posthumous promotion then (much like Scobee to Maj. Gen.)

Skylon
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Posts: 140
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 04-13-2013 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am going to call that entry on Givens a typo, as the biographical sketches section lists him as a Major.

I had no clue about Scobee receiving a promotion to Maj. Gen. though. I thought he had retired from active duty, prior to STS 51-L as a Lt. Col. That seems like quite a jump.

The only posthumous astronaut promotions I knew of were Mike Smith and Laurel Clark from Navy Commanders to Captains after STS 51-L and 107.

One question I have is, why is Deke Slayton listed in his selection section as USAF Reserves? I can guess he was a reservist after he left active duty, when the Air Force grounded him, but when he was selected wasn't he active duty?

onesmallstep
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Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 04-15-2013 09:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One more posthumous promotion was Ellison Onizuka's, to full Air Force Colonel. I always assumed Dick Scobee retired from active duty as an Air Force Major, and was also promoted posthumously to Lt. Col., as I found out when I saw his grave marker at Arlington in the '90s. I may be wrong.

Michael Cassutt
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Posts: 263
From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 04-15-2013 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These ranks have to be errors. Slayton was never in the USAF Reserve as far as I know — he was AUS in the 1940s, then, believe he was inactive reserve at the time he tried to return to active duty in 1950, was told he was "nothing".

He joined the Air Force then, and while I believe he was a reserve (as opposed to regular) officer for the first few years, he had to have received a regular commission around 1955, long before he became an astronaut.

He resigned from the Air Force in November 1963. He was a major at the time.

Givens was a major at the time of his death.

Scobee had resigned from the Air Force after selection as an astronaut, but prior to his flight on 41-C he retired (had over 20 years of USAF service) as a major. A posthumous promotion to major general is a ludicrous idea.

p51
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Posts: 771
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 04-15-2013 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
Scobee had resigned from the Air Force after selection as an astronaut, but prior to his flight on 41-C he retired (had over 20 years of USAF service) as a major. A posthumous promotion to major general is a ludicrous idea.
I agree, and it's a moot point anyway as it didn't happen.

Still, his son with the same name is a Brigadier General ("one star general" for you civilian types), I guess it's always possible there was an error along those lines?

I chalk it up to government employee handling...

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