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  Chief of the Astronaut Office Robert Behnken

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Author Topic:   Chief of the Astronaut Office Robert Behnken
brianjbradley
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Posts: 78
From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Dec 2010

posted 08-10-2012 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for brianjbradley   Click Here to Email brianjbradley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I saw an Association of Space Explorers post that Bob Behnken has been named Chief of the Astronaut Office, replacing Peggy Whitson.

Any idea where Whitson is going? Is she going back into station increment training rotation for a flight assignment as I know she is still on active status?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-10-2012 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Peggy Whitson is remaining within the Astronaut Office. I believe her intention is to fly again, but her next assignment has not yet been announced.

brianjbradley
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From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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posted 08-10-2012 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for brianjbradley   Click Here to Email brianjbradley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Making a third long duration flight will certainly lead to a whole new pile of records for her. That would really be something!

If the change is not due to the possibility of a flight assignment, I wondered if there is a "time limit" to working the Chief Astronaut post and if it is preferable to the FCOD to keep a rotation in this post every 2-3 years and her time was simply up.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 08-10-2012 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Believe me, even if Whitson doesn't fly again, she still has plenty to contribute as a scientist conducting research into the biomedical field as it relates to long duration spaceflight.

But I do think it would be cool if she were to fly again and have the opportunity to possibly command a fully operational ISS with a full suite of modules conducting science work (science took a back seat to assembly on her second mission compared to her first mission as an ISS science officer).

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-10-2012 08:29 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 brianjbradley:
If the change is not due to the possibility of a flight assignment...
Whitson's decision to step down was done with purpose and not because of a time limit on the position of chief astronaut.

billshap
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From: St. Louis, MO, USA
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 08-10-2012 11:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for billshap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congrats, but why Behnken? There are more senior, more experienced astronauts still on active duty. What about Whitson's Assistant Chief? There may be someone more recent in the position--the last Assistant Chief I remember was Rick Sturckow.

eurospace
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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 08-11-2012 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The number of experienced astronauts in tne NASA team who plan to stay on for a desk job and for another number of years without a flight might be pretty limited...

Jim Behling
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From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 08-11-2012 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by billshap:
Congrats, but why Behnken?
There is no logic or pattern with any to do astronaut selection for flights or positions within the office.

Michael Cassutt
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Posts: 263
From: Studio City CA USA
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posted 08-11-2012 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nonsense. Behnken has been one of Whitson's deputies for the better part of a year. (Boe is the other one.)

And flight assignments are as logical as any personnel moves can ever be. Under Whitson, veteran astronauts and 2009 class members are being assigned in turn... she has stated that her plan was to have most of the 2009s assigned by the end of 2014. Everyone in the office has a pretty good idea what's being done and planned, even if the why — as in why one veteran is chosen ahead of another — can't and likely never will be discussed in public.

billshap
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From: St. Louis, MO, USA
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 08-12-2012 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for billshap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Michael. I didn't know Behnken and Boe were Whitson's deputies. The last I knew of was Rick Sturckow (where is he now?). Astronaut assignments (beyond flights) and related information is often hard to find — where is the best place to find this?

Skylon
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posted 08-12-2012 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sturckow was serving as deputy as the Shuttle program wrapped up, once Chris Ferguson was assigned to STS-135. The Astronaut Office realigned a bit after STS-135. Between ISS and Astronaut input into commercial vehicles (which Boe was concentrated on), Whitson ended up with two deputies.

I forgot where it was, but I recall reading Sturckow isn't ruling out flying a long duration ISS flight.

Michael Cassutt
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From: Studio City CA USA
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posted 08-12-2012 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Based on a meeting with CJ Sturckow in early 2011, and seeing his EVA and Russian language training, I would think an ISS assignment is on his to-do list.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-13-2012 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA names new Chief Astronaut: Shuttle veteran succeeds station record setter

NASA's astronauts have a new chief.

Peggy Whitson, who three years ago was named the 13th Chief of the Astronaut Office, making her the first woman to lead the U.S. Astronaut Corps, stepped down in July, a spokesman at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston confirmed for collectSPACE.com.

Space shuttle veteran Robert Behnken, who most recently served as one of Whitson's deputies, has been named the new Chief Astronaut.

Delta7
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Posts: 1153
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 08-13-2012 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Who has replaced Behnken as Deputy?

Fra Mauro
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From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 08-14-2012 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This go around, it looks like a job for an astronaut who plans on staying around for awhile. Patience must be a virtue as well, since there are not as many flight assignments as in previous years.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-31-2012 10:25 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 Astronaut Robert Behnken Named Chief of the Astronaut Office

NASA's Director of Flight Crew Operations Janet Kavandi has named Air Force Col. Robert L. Behnken as the chief of the Astronaut Office. Behnken replaces Peggy A. Whitson, who has held the position since October 2009.

"Peggy was an outstanding chief astronaut and we are thankful for her leadership," Kavandi said. "She voluntarily stepped down to refocus on her International Space Station training and to become eligible for future crew assignments."

In his new role, Behnken will be responsible for managing Astronaut Office resources, operations and safety programs. During this innovative time, he will also help develop astronaut flight crew operation concepts and crew assignments for future spaceflight missions.

"Bob is a highly dedicated professional who understands the challenges that this office holds," Kavandi said. "He has an excellent reputation both inside and outside the Astronaut Office."

Behnken earned Bachelor of Science degrees in physics and mechanical engineering from Washington University in 1992, and a Master of Science and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1993 and 1997, respectively.

Selected as a mission specialist by NASA in July 2000, Behnken reported for training in August 2000. Following the completion of 18 months of training and evaluation, he was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Space Shuttle Branch supporting launch and landing activities at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Behnken flew on board shuttle missions STS-123 in March 2008 and STS-130 in February 2010, logging more than 708 hours in space, including more than 37 hours during six spacewalks. During the fall of 2008, he trained as a mission specialist for STS-400, the rescue flight for the last Hubble Servicing Mission. Before his appointment to this role, Behnken served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.

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

posted 09-17-2012 06:21 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 Delta7:
Who has replaced Behnken as Deputy?
Sandy Magnus

Delta7
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Posts: 1153
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 09-18-2012 05:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks! ...and I assume Eric Boe remains as the other deputy chief.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 09-19-2012 01:09 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 Michael Cassutt:
Sandy Magnus
Apparently, her stint as deputy won't (didn't) last long.

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

posted 01-05-2013 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert Hanley, the former manager of the Spaceflight Resources Management Office and chief engineer of the Space Station Branch in the Astronaut Office, is now chief astronaut Bob Behnken's deputy of the astronaut office.

Delta7
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Posts: 1153
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 01-06-2013 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting that a non-astronaut would have a management job within the astronaut corps. I believe that's a first.

Is Eric Boe still a deputy chief as well?

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

posted 01-08-2013 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Boe is heading up the Exploration side of the deputy role, while Hanley will fill Space Station and Operations.

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