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Author Topic:   NASA's 2009 class (20th group) of astronauts
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-29-2009 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Selects New Astronauts for Future Space Exploration

After reviewing more than 3500 applications, NASA has selected nine men and women for the 2009 astronaut candidate class. They will begin training at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, in August.

"This is a very talented and diverse group we've selected," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations. "They will join our current astronauts and play very important roles for NASA in the future. In addition to flying in space, astronauts participate in every aspect of human spaceflight, sharing their expertise with engineers and managers across the country. We look forward to working with them as we transcend from the shuttle to our future exploration of space, and continue the important engineering and scientific discoveries aboard the International Space Station."

The new astronaut candidates:

  • Serena M. Aunon, 33, of League City, Texas; University of Texas Medical Branch-Wyle flight surgeon for NASA's Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs; born in Indianapolis, Ind. Aunon holds degrees from The George Washington University, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, and UTMB.

  • Jeanette J. Epps, 38, of Fairfax, Va.; technical intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency; born in Syracuse, N.Y. Epps holds degrees from LeMoyne College and the University of Maryland.

  • Jack D. Fischer, Major U.S. Air Force, 35, of Reston, Va.; test pilot; U.S. Air Force Strategic Policy intern (Joint Chiefs of Staff) at the Pentagon; born in Boulder, Colo. Fischer is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Michael S. Hopkins, Lt. Colonel U.S. Air Force, 40, of Alexandria, Va.; special assistant to the Vice Chairman (Joint Chiefs of Staff) at the Pentagon; born in Lebanon, Mo. Hopkins holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Stanford University.

  • Kjell N. Lindgren, 36, of League City, Texas; University of Texas Medical Branch-Wyle flight surgeon for NASA's Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs; born in Taipei, Taiwan. Lindgren has degrees from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado State University, University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota, and UTMB.

  • Kathleen (Kate) Rubins, 30, of Cambridge, Mass.; born in Farmington, Conn.; principal investigator and fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT and conducts research trips to the Congo. Rubins has degrees from the University of California-San Diego and Stanford University.

  • Scott D. Tingle, Commander U.S. Navy, 43, of Hollywood, Md.; born in Attleboro, Mass.; test pilot and Assistant Program Manager-Systems Engineering at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Tingle holds degrees from Southeastern Massachusetts University (now University of Massachusetts Dartmouth) and Purdue University.

  • Mark T. Vande Hei, Lt. Colonel U.S. Army, 42, of El Lago, Texas; born in Falls Church, Va.; flight controller for the International Space Station at NASA's Johnson Space Center, as part of U.S. Army NASA Detachment. Vande Hei is a graduate of Saint John's University and Stanford University.

  • Gregory R. (Reid) Wiseman, Lt. Commander U.S. Navy, 33, of Virginia Beach, Va.; born in Baltimore; test pilot; Department Head, Strike Fighter Squadron 103, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, based out of Oceana Virginia. Wiseman is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Johns Hopkins University.

KSCartist
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posted 06-29-2009 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations to the Class of 2009! Nine new moonwalkers.

Mr Meek
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posted 06-29-2009 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And nine Ascans who will never set foot in a shuttle headed for orbit. They are the TFNG's of Constellation.

As a member of the shuttle generation, that's a bit weird to think about.

buckeyecal
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posted 06-29-2009 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for buckeyecal   Click Here to Email buckeyecal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Here's the story..." (Sorry, could not pass up the opportunity!) Good luck you guys!

xlsteve
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posted 06-29-2009 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That list is notable due to my absence.

Seriously, congratulations to the incoming class!

Philip
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posted 06-29-2009 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nine moonwalkers, that's way too optimistic.

AstroAutos
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posted 06-29-2009 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations to all nine new Ascans - I am confident that at least 4 or 5 of them will walk on the moon when, not if, NASA returns to the moon during the Orion/Altair missions!

Any cS members in there?

ASCAN1984
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posted 06-29-2009 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like a really great group of people. Can't wait to see where each ones career takes them. I wish them all a very successful and fulfilling career. Which two are the pilots?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-29-2009 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ASCAN1984:
Which two are the pilots?
There are _four_ with test pilot training: Fischer, Hopkins, Tingle and Wiseman.

Rob Joyner
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posted 06-29-2009 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since none of these new ascans will fly aboard the shuttle did NASA consider these nine because they have qualities that would work well within the Constellation program specifically or were they hired through standard shuttle astronaut guidelines?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-29-2009 06:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Joyner:
...did NASA consider these nine because they have qualities that would work well within the Constellation program specifically or were they hired through standard shuttle astronaut guidelines?
The former. Actually, this group is aimed more at Soyuz-ISS (and had to meet Soyuz anthropometric standards) than at Constellation -- which is half a decade off. Knowing Russian got you extra points. Life sciences background did, too.

This group also went through a new two-tiered selection process. There were around 115 in the first interview phase, then a second round (47) who underwent additional medical-psychological testing before the final decision.

space4u
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posted 06-30-2009 07:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space4u   Click Here to Email space4u     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe NASA is waiting for Charles Bolden to be in as the administrator before a NASA Press Conference with the new ascans. Any thoughts?

thump
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posted 06-30-2009 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bolden's confirmation hearing hasn't even been scheduled at a month after he was announced, and with the summer recess at a month away, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-30-2009 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA, in response to inquiries by collectSPACE, has said that due to logistical issues, no press conference or ceremony is planned. It may be that they provide some type of press access when the ascans report to Johnson Space Center in August, but as such nothing is scheduled.

(With regards to Bolden's confirmation, though off-topic, the hearings are scheduled to begin July 8 according to Senator Nelson's office.)

chappy
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posted 06-30-2009 03:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chappy   Click Here to Email chappy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations to these nine new astronauts into 20th Group and wish them all the best for the new career starting in August.

It seems that one of these women will be the first woman to walk on the Moon? Do you reckon?

Tom
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posted 06-30-2009 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good luck and Godspeed to "the new(est) nine"!

AstroAutos
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posted 06-30-2009 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chappy:
It seems that one of these women will be the first woman to walk on the Moon?
I think you're right - although current astronauts such as Tracy Caldwell, Megan McArthur, Karen Nyberg, Pam Melroy and Peggy Whitson all stand good chances!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-30-2009 06:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Space & Rocket Center release

From Space Camp to Space
NASA selects two Space Camp grads for the astronaut corps

Could a Space Camp grad be the next person to step foot on the moon? It's possible! NASA has chosen two Space Camp graduates for their 2009 Astronaut Candidate Class.

Kathleen Rubins, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Serena Aunon, of League City, Texas, are among the nine newest members of the astronaut program. They were selected from over 3,500 applicants. Beginning with the original "Mercury Seven" astronauts, selected in 1959, NASA has chosen only 321 men and women for the astronaut program.

"It's great news," says Larry Capps, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, home of Space Camp. "What a tremendous honor for these young women to distinguish themselves this way. We can all be very proud of them," he adds.

Rubins, 30, has degrees from the University of California-San Diego and Stanford University. She will soon leave her job as a principal investigator and fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT to begin her astronaut training.

Kate, as she's known to her friends, attended Space Academy in Huntsville in 1990. She was 12 and says while her friends were reading "Tiger Beat" magazine at the time, she was reading "Sky and Telescope" magazine. "I've always been interested in science and exploring our world, from microbes to the solar system," Rubins says.

Aunon, 33, has earned degrees from George Washington University, the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston and UTMB. Dr. Aunon currently works at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Wyle as a flight surgeon for NASA's Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs.

Serena attended Advanced Space Academy in Huntsville in 1992. She was 15 years old and already in the 11th grade. She says she knew she wanted to be astronaut "...when I saw my first shuttle launch as a kid in elementary school. Let's face it, the Shuttle is a wonderfully complex and beautiful vehicle. It's hard not to be inspired by its sheer power," she says.

But Rubins and Aunon will likely never have the chance to fly aboard the shuttle. The shuttle fleet is scheduled for retirement next year, about the same time they are scheduled to complete their initial astronaut training. Rubins and Aunon represent the future of the space program, the men and women who will return to the moon and help pave the way for even longer duration flights to Mars and eventually beyond.

"We have a sign downstairs that says, through these doors pass America's next generation of scientists, mathematicians and explorers," Capps says. He adds, "Kate and Serena not only represent that bold statement, but they also represent the dream we hold for America's youth. We couldn't be happier for them."

space4u
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posted 06-30-2009 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space4u   Click Here to Email space4u     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the additional background information on two of the latest women of the "next nine." You have more goodies than NASA does per usual!

ASCAN1984
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posted 07-03-2009 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
There are _four_ with test pilot training: Fischer, Hopkins, Tingle and Wiseman.
Sorry I meant astronaut pilots as opposed to mission specialists.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 07-03-2009 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ASCAN1984:
Sorry I meant astronaut pilots as opposed to mission specialists.
That distinction no longer applies. All nine ASCANS will go through the same training syllabus -- largely ISS, Soyuz, Russian language, etc., with a bit of Shuttle.

AstroAutos
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posted 07-08-2009 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, it seems that this group has now been divided into the pilot and mission specialist categories with the pilots being Jack Fischer, Scott Tingle and Gregory Wiseman and the others being the mission specialists. This is the chart I found:
NASA Astronaut Group 20

Pilots: Jack D. Fischer, Scott D. Tingle, Gregory R. Wiseman

Mission specialists: Serena M. Aunon, Jeanette J. Epps, Michael S. Hopkins, Kjell N. Lindgren, Kathleen Rubins, Mark T. Vande Hei

KSCartist
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posted 07-08-2009 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Group 20 will also include Hansen and Saint-Jacques from CSA and Onishi and Yui from JAXA. So the "nine" will now be thirteen.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 07-08-2009 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AstroAutos:
Actually, it seems that this group has now been divided into the pilot and mission specialist categories
Where's this? None of the NASA releass mention the categories... as they did for thirty years. Further, there's no point to the pilot/MS distinction... without an extension of the Shuttle program, none of the 09 ASCANS will be eligible to fly it in either capacity. The STA and other related training vehicles and simulators will be gone.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-08-2009 01:30 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 AstroAutos:
This is the chart I found
You seem to be quoting this from Wikipedia, which in this case is a bad idea. The breakdown, as Michael points out, is some wiki editor's invention, not something NASA defined.

AstroAutos
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posted 07-08-2009 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're right Robert, Wikipedia was the source of the chart - I suppose they have got it wrong as usual!

Apologies Michael, you're right it would be pointless to divide them into Pilots and Mission Specialists with no shuttle!

When should these 9 (or 13) expect to fly (assuming they complete training in 2011)?

capoetc
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posted 07-08-2009 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
Further, there's no point to the pilot/MS distinction...
Could it be possible that the pilot designation is intended in preparation for possible future Commander/Pilot designations on Orion?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 07-08-2009 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by capoetc:
Could it be possible that the pilot designation is intended in preparation for possible future Commander/Pilot designations on Orion?
No.

There is no "pilot" designation. Orion crew positions will be "Operator 1," "Operator 2", and so on. (At least, that's the current plan.) While it is very likely the "O1" will be an astronaut with a test pilot background, it's not a given.

KSCartist
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posted 07-08-2009 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Who came up with "Operator" - Jim Croce?

I hope they abandon that idea because each mission will need a CDR. Besides unless all crew members receive training in flying the vehicle (which would lake sense) keeping the CDR, PLT and MS designations would still work.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 07-08-2009 09:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Take it up with the astronaut office. It's their designation. Yes, one crew member -- Operator 1 -- will be the commander, but on an Orion lunar mission, you might have O2 piloting the Orion on prox and docking, with O3 piloting the landing.

AstroAutos
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posted 07-09-2009 06:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm glad to hear they're at least having someone to command the missions, but I just don't see why they don't stick with calling them Commander rather than 'Operator 1'.

If O1, O2 and O3 all have piloting designations on lunar missions, then is not a given that those three positions will be taken up by people with test pilot experience? Or will they train the others to do so as well?

eurospace
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posted 07-09-2009 09:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
This Group 20 will also include Hansen and Saint-Jacques from CSA and Onishi and Yui from JAXA. So the "nine" will now be thirteen.
Actually, they will also be joined by six ESA astronaut candidates, which will make nineteen then.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-09-2009 09:52 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 AstroAutos:
If O1, O2 and O3 all have piloting designations on lunar missions, then is not a given that those three positions will be taken up by people with test pilot experience?
Part of the reason why pilot/mission specialist designations no longer apply, is that NASA has previously said that all astronauts in its corps will be eligible to fly Orion. The specific test piloting experience previously desired for space shuttle pilots (and commanders) is no longer necessary.

Further, the needs of the mission mean that a single mission commander may no longer be desired. The lead operator for launch may not be the person leading lunar surface operations.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-09-2009 09:54 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 eurospace:
Actually, they will also be joined by six ESA astronaut candidates, which will make nineteen then.
ESA has said that their six candidates will not go through their basic training alongside the NASA, JAXA and CSA ascans, and some may not report to JSC until after they are assigned to an ISS mission and have gone through initial mission training at Star City.

With that in mind, I am not sure whether the ESA ascans can be included among NASA's Group 20.

kr4mula
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posted 07-09-2009 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, the "operator" designation sounds like the same silliness that generated "command pilot/senior pilot/pilot" in early Apollo. One might call it astronaut political correctness. I can't imagine that on checklists, over the radio, etc., using the term "operator" for everyone with only numerical designations would be very clear and would actually be prone to errors.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-09-2009 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How is saying "O1, O2, O3" any more prone to errors than "MS1, MS2, MS3" or for that matter, "EV1, EV2"?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 07-09-2009 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Space Camp Honoree Mr. Pearlman -- this just isn't an issue. There are six astronauts or cosmonauts working on ISS right now. What are they called? Is there confusion? Not that I've heard.

The titles are largely relevant to planning and paperwork.

Delta7
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posted 07-25-2009 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Point of trivia:

These are the first NASA astronauts ever who won't be able to claim they were colleagues of John Young. He was an Astronaut Office member with every astronaut selected from the Original 7 to the Class of 2004.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 07-28-2009 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
How is saying "O1, O2, O3" any more prone to errors than "MS1, MS2, MS3" or for that matter, "EV1, EV2"?

Well, you've got this scenario, assuming a six-person Orion crew:

Mission control: "Orion, Houston."

Astronaut 1: "Houston, Orion. Go ahead."

Mission control: "The vehicle is slightly overweight for re-entry, but your current oxygen levels are good. So go ahead and vent any excess oxygen."

Astronaut 1: "Understand go ahead and get rid of the excess oxygen?"

Mission control: "Affirmative."

Astronaut 1, to rest of Orion crew: "Houston says we are go for an O2 dump."

Astronauts 3 and 4 grab O2 (operator 2), while astronaut 6 grabs astronaut 5, who is an Air Force First Lieutenant, e.g., an O-2...

AstroAutos
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posted 07-28-2009 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's hilarious... you never know stranger things have happened!


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