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Author Topic:   Astronaut couples and family relations
East-Frisian
Member

Posts: 558
From: Germany
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 05-23-2005 06:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have heard, that Shannon Walker and Andrew Thomas are married. Does anyone know since when?

KSCartist
Member

Posts: 2836
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 05-23-2005 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per NASA's Astronaut Biographies website, they are married.

ASCAN1984
Member

Posts: 1046
From: County Down, Nothern Ireland
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-24-2005 04:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Were they married before Shannon Walker joined the Astronaut Office?

I think these are the only two astronauts currently married who still reside in the corps. That's nice though. I am a bit of a romantic.

Henry Heatherbank
Member

Posts: 197
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 05-24-2005 07:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So let's list the once — or still — married astronaut couples:
  • Hoot Gibson and Rhea Seddon (still married)
  • Sally Ride and Steven Hawley (divorced)
  • Linda Godwin and Ron Sega (?)
  • Mark Lee and Jan Davis (?)
  • Andy Thomas and Shannon Walker
Have I missed anybody?

On other familial relationships, there was David Low (son of George), and there are the infamous Kelly twins, Mark and Scott. Have there been any other such astronaut family relationships?

It always surprised me that more of the children of those involved in the space program in the 50/60s didn't move into similar fields and try out for the astronaut program, like David Low. Perhaps its because they saw first hand the toll it took on their fathers and their families. Kris Stoever would be in a perfect position to comment, above and beyond what comes through in her and Scott Carpenter's (her father's) book.

I recall that by about the 1980 astronaut selection group, NASA saw a number of candidates whose careers had deliberately been fashioned to maximize chances of selection. This may have been a quote attributable to John Young shortly after STS-1. Anyway, that is common place nowadays, but it seemed to come as a surprise to 1980s NASA that people would chart a course heading so deliberately toward NASA. Of course, some of the kids of program workers of the 1960s would have been about the right age to try out for selection in the early to late 1980s. Is anybody aware of children of astronauts who pursued a career at NASA, either as an astronaut, or in other positions?

DavidH
Member

Posts: 1217
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 05-24-2005 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Henry Heatherbank:
Mark Lee and Jan Davis (?)
Jan Davis and Mark Lee are divorced.

thump
Member

Posts: 571
From: washington dc usa
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-24-2005 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jeff Wisoff and Tammy Jernigan are also married.

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2522
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 05-24-2005 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Linda Godwin is married to Steve Nagel.

Bonnie Dunbar was married to Ron Sega, but they are divorced now.

To widen the view:

  • Valentina Tereshkova was married to Andriyan Nikolayev.
  • Maurizio Cheli (Italy) is married to former ESA astronaut candidate Marianne Merchez.
  • Claudie André-Deshays married Jean-Pierre Haigneré.
  • Valeri Ryumin is married to Yelena Kondakova

trajan
Member

Posts: 104
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-24-2005 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trajan   Click Here to Email trajan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And another, now, sadly, divorced, astronaut couple was Anna Fisher (1978) and Bill Fisher (1980) — married prior to either of their selections to NASA

East-Frisian
Member

Posts: 558
From: Germany
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 05-25-2005 06:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hans Schlegel is married to former Heike Walpot (ne John) German Astronaut Candidate and Mary Ellen Weber is married to Jerome Elkind (NASA Candidate).

issman1
Member

Posts: 999
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 05-26-2005 04:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since we are on the subject of astronauts and family connections, I wonder if most Americans are aware that pilot Alan Poindexter is the son of the former Reagan national security adviser, John Poindexter? He's the very one who in the 1980s masterminded Iran-Contra and was subsequently indicted for lying to your Congress.

Incidentally, his close friend is none other than Edward "Pete" Aldridge — one time payload specialist candidate and chair of the 2002 Aldridge Commission.

DavidH
Member

Posts: 1217
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 05-26-2005 01:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed, I didn't realize that about Poindexter. Thanks for pointing that out.

On a related note, of course, Robert Satcher is the nephew of former Surgeon General David Satcher.

pokey
Member

Posts: 359
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-26-2005 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walker and Thomas updated their NASA biographies the week after the JSC Open House. They have been a couple since at least last year.

So if Thomas returns to Australia after the STS-114 flight, then that puts them in bi-hemisphere marriage.

Henry Heatherbank
Member

Posts: 197
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 05-26-2005 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thomas comes from my home town, so there is a lot of local press about his return to space on STS-114. Thomas has been quite public about "putting out feelers" for a job/career in Australia after STS-114, which he says will be his last flight. Apparently the response has been luke warm, as industry in Australia sees little use for a guy who is trained to operate a spacecraft.

I expect that will all change, but it is an incredibly frustrating thing to hear that someone as experienced and as accomplished as Thomas would not be in high demand in a number of industry sectors, not all aerospace related. The point he makes is that an astronaut is more than flying in space; it involves a lot of high level managerial and project-related skills.

He also talks about dividing his time between Adelaide and Houston, to support Walker in her NASA career.

ColinBurgess
Member

Posts: 1937
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 07-21-2005 12:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Andy Thomas told me late last year that he and Shannon had known each other "for about six years."

thump
Member

Posts: 571
From: washington dc usa
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-04-2009 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Megan McArthur and Robert Behnken are also married...

Delta7
Member

Posts: 1392
From: Bluffton IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 08-06-2009 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Doug Hurley and Karen Nyberg are now married.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38899
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-15-2018 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Air&Space magazine, in the rarest of jobs, it's even more rare for your spouse to be an astronaut, too.
...there have been more than a dozen astronaut couples who've both experienced spaceflight firsthand.

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