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  NASA selects 2013 Astronaut Class (Group 21) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   NASA selects 2013 Astronaut Class (Group 21)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-17-2013 08:57 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 2013 Astronaut Candidate Class

After an extensive year-and-a-half search, NASA has a new group of potential astronauts who will help the agency push the boundaries of exploration and travel to new destinations in the solar system. Eight candidates have been selected to be NASA's newest astronaut trainees.

The 2013 astronaut candidate class comes from the second largest number of applications NASA ever has received -- more than 6,100. The group will receive a wide array of technical training at space centers around the globe to prepare for missions to low-Earth orbit, an asteroid and Mars.

"These new space explorers asked to join NASA because they know we’re doing big, bold things here -- developing missions to go farther into space than ever before," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "They’re excited about the science we’re doing on the International Space Station and our plan to launch from U.S. soil to there on spacecraft built by American companies. And they’re ready to help lead the first human mission to an asteroid and then on to Mars."

The new astronaut candidates are:

  • Josh A. Cassada, Ph. D., 39, is originally from White Bear Lake, Minn. Cassada is a former naval aviator who holds an undergraduate degree from Albion College, and advanced degrees from the University of Rochester, N.Y. Cassada is a physicist by training and currently is serving as co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Quantum Opus.

  • Victor J. Glover, 37, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, hails from Pomona, Calif., and Prosper, Texas. He is an F/A-18 pilot and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. Glover holds degrees from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Air University and Naval Postgraduate School. He currently is serving as a Navy Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Congress.

  • Tyler N. Hague (Nick), 37, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, calls Hoxie, Kan., home. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards, Calif. Hague currently is supporting the Department of Defense as Deputy Chief of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.

  • Christina M. Hammock, 34, calls Jacksonville, N.C. home. Hammock holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. She currently is serving as National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Station Chief in American Samoa.

  • Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35, Major, U.S. Marine Corps, originally is from Penngrove, Calif. She is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Stanford (Calif.) University and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Md. Mann is an F/A 18 pilot, currently serving as an Integrated Product Team Lead at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.

  • Anne C. McClain, 34, Major, U.S. Army, lists her hometown as Spokane, Wash. She is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY; the University of Bath and the University of Bristol, both in the United Kingdom. McClain is an OH-58 helicopter pilot, and a recent graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.

  • Jessica U. Meir, Ph.D., 35 is from Caribou, Maine. She is a graduate of Brown University, has an advanced degree from the International Space University, and earned her doctorate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Meir currently is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

  • Andrew R. Morgan, M.D., 37, Major, U.S. Army, considers New Castle, Pa., home. Morgan is a graduate of The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and earned doctorate in medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md. He has experience as an emergency physician and flight surgeon for the Army special operations community, and currently is completing a sports medicine fellowship.
The new astronaut candidates will begin training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in August.

"This year we have selected 8 highly qualified individuals who have demonstrated impressive strengths academically, operationally, and physically” said Janet Kavandi, director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center. “They have diverse backgrounds and skill sets that will contribute greatly to the existing astronaut corps. Based on their incredible experiences to date, I have every confidence that they will apply their combined expertise and talents to achieve great things for NASA and this country in the pursuit of human exploration."

NavySpaceFan
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posted 06-17-2013 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glad to see two current and one former naval aviator on that list! Also, MAJ Mann is the USMC's first female astronaut.

xlsteve
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posted 06-17-2013 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also glad to see to officers from the US Army. Army astronauts are a very small group.

p51
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posted 06-17-2013 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must admit I was sort of depressed to see this list but curious anyway. I really looked into dropping an application myself, but a USAF flight surgeon friend gave me a basic flight crew exam and found a couple of things that he said would keep me out of orbit for sure (nothing that should shorten my lifespan, though), so that dream died in its infancy.

Still, there was, in my mind, a slim chance that maybe my photo might be among these in the end, for a while anyway. So it's sort of depressing to see these photos. Then again, I'm not foolish enough to think i truly had a shot at it.

Jerry Ross recently said his daughter was trying for this class, but apparently didn't make it about halfway through the selections.

quote:
Originally posted by xlsteve:
Also glad to see to officers from the US Army. Army astronauts are a very small group.
HOOAH! As a former Army Captain, I agree fully.

star61
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posted 06-17-2013 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not only Army, but also an alumni of my very own University of Bristol! Yeah... Go Brissle! She will understand...

Whizzospace
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posted 06-17-2013 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whizzospace   Click Here to Email Whizzospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very interesting demographics in this select group, such as the already noted higher percentage of women and Army officers. And given that ISS offers the only near term missions, is it likely these candidates were screened for long term mission suitability? Michael Cassutt spoke at Spacefest V last month about the drawdown of folks on flight status, given the current primary mission type. Not everyone is enthused about going round and round for 4-12 months. I'm assuming that ISS experience will be favorable for asteroid/Mars crew consideration process?

Any thoughts on revised crew designators or specialities at some point, given there are only ISS Commanders and Flight Engineers now? On STS, MS's could also be FE's or EV's of course.

I'm recalling the old functional Apollo-era labels like Navigator and Systems Engineer, that came before CMP and LMP. As we get into Orion and commercial counterparts, we have three non-command seats for the ride uphill. But will they train for just one chair, or any chair?

dabolton
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posted 06-17-2013 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since the mid 90's I have checked every selection expecting to see my old grade classmate Che Bolden as a selectee. Yes Charlie Bolden's son. He is a major in the Marine Corp. He used to be an F/A-18 backseater but now directs Reaper UAVs. Had he been selected in his early 30's, I believe he could have been our first 2nd generation astronaut.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-18-2013 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Astronaut 'I scream': New NASA astronaut candidates excited to be chosen

Ann McClain's mother was in her front yard rose garden when her daughter called with the news.

"You'll never forget this moment," McClain, a 34-year-old major in the U.S. Army told her mom. "I've been selected as an astronaut candidate."

Her mother's response, to scream so loud that McClain's stepfather ran out of the house thinking his wife had just injured herself, was rivaled only by McClain's.

"She sounded like she had the same reaction as I did," McClain recalled in a video interview released by NASA.

tfrielin
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posted 06-18-2013 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tfrielin   Click Here to Email tfrielin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Several questions:

Last time I checked NASA's web page over a year ago there were about 60 active astronauts listed. Not counting this new group of candidates, what is the current number?

The average age of this group seems a little high to me — mostly mid-to late thirties. Is that higher then usual? If so, why?

Finally, given the uncertain future of US manned spaceflight, what are the chances this group will get a flight? Is this group the 21st Century equivalent of the XS-11 from the '60s?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-18-2013 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are currently 49 active astronauts in NASA's corps.

NASA's 2009 class was similarly aged, ranging from early 30s to early 40s. NASA said on Monday (June 17) that when selecting the 2013 class, it was seeking candidates with varied and vast experience so their expertise could be applied to a wide variety of missions.

That said, it is almost certain that all eight members of this class will fly, most to the International Space Station. The 2011 National Research Council study that preceded this selection identified NASA's need for increasing its astronaut corps to match the needs of the space station program, as well as the attrition rate in the astronaut office.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-18-2013 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few tidbits about the 2013 class:
  • Christina Hammock was a 2000-2002 Astronaut Scholar as awarded by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

  • Hammock and Josh Casada attended Space Camp (Casada pictured below).
  • Jessica Meir was a member of the NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) 4 crew, serving as an aquanaut alongside astronauts Scott Kelly and Rex Walheim, as well as flight director Paul Hill from Sept. 23-27, 2002.

issman1
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posted 06-18-2013 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tfrielin:
The average age of this group seems a little high to me — mostly mid-to late thirties.

I'm amazed not a single candidate in their 20s was selected as the Russians have done. Also a disproportionate number from the US armed forces in a supposedly civilian space agency.

Anyhow, good fortune whenever they fly.

p51
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posted 06-18-2013 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Hammock and Josh Casada attended Space Camp
It's a given both will be put in for the Space Camp Hall of Fame eventually, right, Robert?

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-18-2013 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a member of the NRC panel that reviewed the astronaut office and confirmed the need for this selection (and another one in two years or so), let me say that the parallels to 1967's XS-11 don't apply.

There you had a group of candidates whose selection was a political gesture — HQ officials wanted the National Academy of Sciences to support NASA's human program beyond the first lunar landings. There was no attempt to match numbers of astronauts to actual needs. Someone looked at the wildly-optimistic late 1966 Apollo Applications manifest and said, "Hey, we could use a dozen scientists here".

Looking at the ISS requirements (each assignment consuming three or more years of an astronaut's career) and support needs and age/attrition of the current corps and expected commercial crew as well as one or two or three possible BEO flights within 10-12 years, there's ample justification for a new class... especially when you realize that they won't be considered for flight assignments for two years.

As for the supposed dis-proportional number of military people... based on fifty years of experience, NASA has a policy of selecting around a third of every ASCAN group from the military flight-test community. So that explains some of it. As for the rest... sometimes it's just luck of the draw. The next group might have six civilians and three military.

onesmallstep
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posted 06-18-2013 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting the amount of experience many members of NASA's astronaut corps have as aquanauts in the NEEMO program, including current ISS resident Karen Nyberg. Jacques Cousteau and Scott Carpenter would be proud!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-18-2013 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another tidbit:
  • Victor Glover's call sign in the U.S. Navy is "Ike" (as seen on his name badge in this released photo).

Robonaut
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posted 06-18-2013 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robonaut   Click Here to Email Robonaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tfrielin:
Is this group the 21st Century equivalent of the XS-11 from the '60s?

The analogy between the ‘XS11’ astronauts who were selected in 1967 and the last astronaut group was also made but despite good reasons being given it has not worked out that way. In September 2013, just over two years from completion of basic training, Michael Hopkins will become the first member of the 2009 group to fly in space with Gregory Wiseman following in May 2014 and Kjell Lingren in May 2015.

In fact Hopkins was already aware of his flight assignment before he had completed ascan training. Of the remaining six from the 2009 group I am sure a few of them are already aware of where they are in the flight schedule.

Delta7
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posted 06-18-2013 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I could find out at least 3, Cassada, Hague and Meir, were semi-finalists in the 2009 Ascan selection.

dcfowler1
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posted 06-18-2013 10:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dcfowler1   Click Here to Email dcfowler1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Also a disproportionate number from the US armed forces in a supposedly civilian space agency.
I think they make an effort to get a balanced group, but the fact is, military people are essentially pre-qualified and pre-selected, by virtue of their training and experience, and also by the fact that the services usually do their own cut before forwarding names to NASA.

We're also seeing more military women, simply because there is now a critical mass of qualified military women in aerospace occupations.

dcfowler1
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posted 06-18-2013 10:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dcfowler1   Click Here to Email dcfowler1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
From what I could find out at least 3, Cassada, Hague and Meir, were semi-finalists in the 2009 Ascan selection.
  • Cassada, semis: 09; military nominee: 09
  • Glover, semis: n/a; military nominee: 09
  • Hague, semis: 09; military nominee: 04, 09
  • Hammock, n/a
  • Mann, n/a
  • McClain, semis: n/a; military nominee: 09
  • Meir, semis: 09
  • Morgan, n/a

issman1
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posted 06-19-2013 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dcfowler1:
I think they make an effort to get a balanced group

The shuttle era is over and the ISS is meant to be a platform for peaceful scientific research. I think more dedicated civilian researchers and scientists need to be launched and less military officers whatever their gender or nationality (unless they have an esoteric background like Cassada).

The Russians regularly fly Soyuz commanders from civilian, engineering backgrounds. Military pilots do not seem an essential component unless NASA intends to select the winged Dream Chaser as its sole commercial crew vehicle.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-19-2013 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pilots are needed to fly front seat in the T-38 trainers, which are still a required and a useful tool for preparing for ISS expeditions (as they provide exposure to working in a dynamic environment).

Pilots may also be needed for commercial crew vehicles (I write "may" because NASA has yet to reveal the model it will use for commercial crew, whether it will be a "taxi" [pilots to be provided by spacecraft owners] or "rental car" [pilots to be provided by NASA]).

When serving aboard the space station, or for that matter, from the moment they arrive at NASA, military pilots are treated like and behave as civilian civil servants. That they have a military background plays no role on the nature of the station.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 06-19-2013 12:09 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 issman1:
The shuttle era is over and the ISS is meant to be a platform for peaceful scientific research. I think more dedicated civilian researchers and scientists need to be launched and less military officers whatever their gender or nationality (unless they have an esoteric background like Cassada).

Then get "civilians" with the right qualifications to apply.

As well, if they previously served in the military, but now are not active duty, are they considered still to be military or civilian? What if they worked for the DoD or a military contractor?

So long as they're not arming astronauts and teaching them to fire anything more than the flare gun in the Soyuz emergency kit, I don't see what the fuss is about. I mean, the NASA administrator is a retired Marine general.

Or is the fear that the more military personnel in NASA, the more likely the military is to assume control of the space agency?

onesmallstep
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posted 06-19-2013 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I second the views of Robert and Hart regarding astronaut class selections and the ISS. To add to that already said; from the start of both American and Russian space programs the primary pool of applicants has been military test pilots in fast jets (the majority, but not exclusively). And until the advent of the shuttle mission specialist and the ISS Flight Engineer, most were in that category.

Why military test pilots? The reason should be obvious: a ready pool of applicants ('pre-selected' by their armed forces branch prior to forwarding to NASA) who are experienced in high-performance, advanced aircraft, many with engineering/science degrees and combat experience. When you want an individual to test a new spacecraft, system or carry out a complex mission, I would want them in the commander's or pilot's seat. Also, many non-pilot astronauts are flight test engineers.

Of course, some may be already retired or, as Robert points out, are basically military in civilian clothes, 'on loan' from their respective service branch. Until they create a civilian test pilot program in the U.S. that can send graduates/candidates to NASA for future US, commercial or international missions, they will just have to rely on President Eisenhower's preference as shown some fifty-some years ago.

p51
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posted 06-19-2013 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
if they previously served in the military, but now are not active duty, are they considered still to be military or civilian?
They're considered civilians. When I looked into applying for this group, I checked on that. As a former U.S. Army officer, I would have been considered a civilian. The only time my Army status would have come up would have been in my bio stating my background and that would have been it.

Neil Armstrong is of course the most famous example of exactly this concept. That didn't, however, stop someone in the Navy from 'issuing' Armstrong a set of Naval astronaut wings anyway. I question the legality of that, as it was more a PR move and to get said Navy officer's name in the press...

onesmallstep
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posted 06-19-2013 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
I question the legality of that, as it was more a PR move and to get said Navy officer's name in the press...
You should check out this topic posted in March 2010. Those wings were HONORARY, presented while Armstrong was aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on the 'Legends of Aerospace' tour which included Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell. Obviously, they are not official or 'retroactive' as Armstrong had left active duty before joining NASA's astronaut corps (he did not qualify for X-15 'pilot-astronaut' wings, awarded years later to three civilian pilots in the program).

In the context of being an honor for such a famous naval aviator, and being presented on a carrier (where Armstrong, like many nuggets, qualified for arrested landings), it was a well-deserved award, which he accepted gracefully and humbly, per his character. PR it may have been, yes, but also appropriate.

GoforEVA
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posted 06-19-2013 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoforEVA   Click Here to Email GoforEVA     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A lot of excitement up here at West Point that two graduates were selected as astronauts. A lot of pleased people that there were also more West Pointers selected this time than more Annapolis or squid sorts...

ilbasso
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posted 06-19-2013 03:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another outstanding facet of this group of astronauts is that Christina Hammock is the first recipient of scholarships from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (2000-2002) to go on to become an astronaut!

Congratulations to Christina!

issman1
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posted 06-19-2013 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Then get "civilians" with the right qualifications to apply.
From a pool of 6,300 applicants (the largest in decades according to NASA PAO) I'm sure there were. But we shall never know.
quote:
...if they previously served in the military, but now are not active duty, are they considered still to be military or civilian?
Civil airline pilots probably carry more precious cargo than space shuttle pilots used to, day in day out. But none ever been picked.
quote:
...I mean, the NASA administrator is a retired Marine general.
Following orders from the top is what he's good at, especially since the shuttle flights ended 2 years ago.
quote:
...the more likely the military is to assume control of the space agency?
Therefore, no-one can really criticize China.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 06-19-2013 11:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm searching for this ideal, civilian scientist group of space travelers, and not finding it.
  • ESA 2009 - three military pilots, two engineers, one scientist.
  • China 2010 - seven military pilots.
  • CSA 2009 - one military pilot, one physicist.
  • JAXA 2009 - two pilots (one military), one physician.
  • Roskosmos 2012 - one military pilot, one military engineer, one civilian engineer with a military background, two other aerospace engineers, and two from other engineering fields... zero scientists.
It might be that all these agencies, like NASA, are blind to the value of pure scientists as ISS crewmembers (or for other vehicles)... or maybe, after five decades, these agencies have learned that certain backgrounds, personalities and skillsets are more useful on long-duration missions than others. (Look at the civilians in the new NASA group... all have extensive exposure to underwater or challenging environments, just as the military candidates do.)

I will easily concede that ISS ought to be a research facility, and that so far it is seriously under-used. But the solution isn't to fly more scientists (though commercial crew should allow that, with ISS hosting 7 people on a regular basis, and even more on a short-term basis) ...it's to reduce the time and effort it takes for a scientist to be able to get an experiment into space. Who operates it really isn't the issue.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 06-23-2013 06:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another tidbit: Nicole Mann's name is on one of the Stardust microchips. So she already is a star traveler.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 06-23-2013 06:24 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 issman1:
From a pool of 6,300 applicants (the largest in decades according to NASA PAO) I'm sure there were.
Not necessarily. Earlier astronaut selections had at least brief bio info available (name, hometown, schooling). Would be a long research project, but it's theoretically doable to throw it all into a database, weed out the civilians (however one defines them), then look up to see what their backgrounds are.

astro-nut
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posted 07-06-2013 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations to the 2013 Astronaut candidates!! It is nice to see two Army Officers included. GO ARMY!!

MSS
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posted 07-06-2013 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MSS   Click Here to Email MSS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just look at this site.

------------------
Astronauts, Cosmonauts & their flights

East-Frisian
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posted 07-07-2013 02:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good site, Maciej.

Delta7
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posted 07-07-2013 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that there is no real distinction between astronauts who are pilots and those who aren't (Pilot vs. Mission Specialist) how do they determine if a new astronaut will have T-38 pilot-in-command flying privileges? With some it's obvious since they are active military pilots coming in. However, what about someone like Cassada? He WAS a Navy test pilot but wasn't actively flying at the time of his selection. Does he get to fly from the front seat or as a back seater?

I'm curious because it says a lot about how astronauts with high performance jet flying experience are looked at now. Is it just another skill listed on their resume or is pilot-astronaut still looked at as a separate category?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-07-2013 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I seem to recall a previous astronaut class (Group 20?) in which a person had been selected, but declined (because they wouldn't fly shuttle?) Had any finalist declined to be a part of Group 21?

Michael Cassutt
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Posts: 273
From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 07-07-2013 04:38 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:
Now that there is no real distinction between astronauts who are pilots and those who aren't (Pilot vs. Mission Specialist) how do they determine if a new astronaut will have T-38 pilot-in-command flying privileges?
The decision is based on currency: active-duty pilots who are selected as ASCANs will continue to fly high-performance aircraft as pilots, not backseaters. Cassada wouldn't qualify, any more than any former high-performance pilot selected as a shuttle mission specialist after 1984. (Prior to that, new ASCANs like van Hoften or Thagard were allowed to re-qualify as T-38 frontseaters.)

NASA has said that it plans to select around a third of each ASCAN group from this community — active duty military test pilots — for the foreseeable future.

goldbera
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Posts: 20
From: Melbourne, FL
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-08-2013 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for goldbera     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom Jones wrote in his autobiography that he was given the option to qualify as a T-38 front-seater (since he had flown them before while in the USAF) but he declined.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 629
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 07-08-2013 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting to see the designations NASA will use when the next-generation post-shuttle spacecraft is up and running. Commander, Pilot, Flight Engineer(s), Science Pilot(s) etc.?


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