Astronauts: January 2011 Archives

Interview with the Challenger Center's Scott Parazynski, Space News

"Some 4 million students have been through the program since 1986, and in recent years the annual average has been about 400,000. Scott Parazynski, a NASA astronaut and medical doctor who took over in November as chairman of the center's board of directors, wants to increase that number to 4 million per year by 2015. ...

Parazynski: "One of the things we're aspiring to do is reduce the barriers to entry. So to help communities that might otherwise not have access to a learning center, we will develop virtual missions led by Challenger Center flight directors remotely, using a school's computer laboratory as an example. Alternatively, we also hope to bring in portable learning centers that we would truck in from a distant location."

Giffords husband to decide on space trip in mid-Feb, Reuters

"The astronaut husband of a U.S. congresswoman seriously wounded when she was shot in head will decide by mid-February whether to join the last NASA shuttle launch as scheduled, the space agency said on Sunday."

Giffords's Husband Faces Decision on Shuttle Flight

"Mark is still the commander," said Peggy A. Whitson, the chief astronaut, but she said that having a backup commander would allow the crew to continue training and Captain Kelly to "focus on his wife's care."

Scott Parazynski, Chairman of the Challenger Center Board of Directors sitting in the jetstream on the summit of Mt. Everest, May 2009: "I tied off a pair of flags I'd made to honor astronauts and cosmonauts who had perished in the line of duty (Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia, Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11), as I could think of no finer place on Earth to hang them. In the coming days, weeks, months and years, like their Tibetan prayer flag counterparts, they will weather under the wind, sun and snow, and slowly lift back up into the heavens." More photos.

Day of Remembrance

Message from the NASA Administrator: Day of Remembrance

"The legacy of those who have perished is present every day in our work and inspires generations of new space explorers. Every day, with each new challenge we overcome and every discovery we make, we honor these remarkable men and women. Please join me in working to fulfill their dreams for the future."

Day of Remembrance (photo)

"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and other NASA personnel participate in a wreath laying ceremony as part of NASA's Day of Remembrance, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery. Wreathes were laid in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in the quest for space exploration."

Columbia: Thinking Back - Looking Ahead, Excerpt from "New Moon Rising", by Frank Sietzen, Jr. and Keith Cowing

"At the end of the event, Rona Ramon, Ilan's widow, spoke last. Steeling her emotions with grace and clarity, she spoke elegantly and briefly. She thanked all for coming. And then she talked of her husband, and the flight of the lost shuttle. "Our mission in space is not over, "she told the hushed audience. "He was the first Israeli in space-- that means there will be more."

Memorials at "Mars on Earth"

Keith's note: Astronaut Leroy Chiao, Matt Reyes, myself, and a bunch of Inuit kids built this inuksuk memorial to the Challenger crew in 2007 on Devon Island. It stands next to one built to honor Columbia's crew in 2003. An inuit boy, Joseph Atchealak, is holding a Challenger Center banner in front of the Challenger inukshuk. Joseph and his family regularly subsist by eating animals that his father kills on the polar ice - yet Joseph surfs the web and knows all about outer space -- Indeed, he kept touching Leroy Chiao as if Leroy was magical because he flew in space. I saw the same reaction by Sherpas in Nepal when they met Scott Parazynski.

What do these people know - and place value in - that we have forgotten or no longer care about?

Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal 20 July 2003: Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings

"I asked Joe Amaraulik if anyone had ever figured out how long these structures would last. He said he wasn't sure if they had been dated but that there were some that had been in place for many centuries. As for how long this one, which we had just built, would last, Joe (a man of few, but well-chosen words) said "forever". In other words - the next ice age."

Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal - 18 July 2007: Ancient Memorials for Modern Space Explorers

"I placed [Dick Scobee's] card in the container, sealed it up and placed it at the base of the inukshuk. Most of the Inuit kids remembered the loss of Columbia. None of them remembered the loss of Challenger since it had happened a decade or more before their birth. So, I explained each and every item to them - and passed the business card and lapel pin around for them to see."

NASA Haughton-Mars Project Space Shuttle Columbia Inukshuk Memorials

"It is our hope that the Columbia Inukshuks on Devon Island will help bring peace to all those who continue to miss these seven astronauts, and will help inspire and guide future generations of space explorers who will journey to the Moon, Mars and Beyond."

Challenger Center Board Member Richard Garriott, private space explorer, salutes Challenger Center from the International Space Station.

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, co-founder of Challenger Center for Space Science Education, talking to Students on 25th Anniversary of Challenger.

Astronaut Steve Bowen Named to STS-133 Shuttle Crew

"NASA selected astronaut Steve Bowen as a mission specialist on STS-133, the next space shuttle mission planned for launch on Feb. 24. Bowen replaces astronaut Tim Kopra, who was injured in a bicycle accident over the weekend. The agency will hold a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Jan. 19, to discuss the change in crew personnel."

Space Program Runs in Congresswoman's Family, NY Times

"Mr. Cabbage said it was too early to say how Mark Kelly's scheduled Endeavour mission would be affected. The Kelly brothers were to have been the first twins to be in space together when Endeavour visited the space station, but the launching of Endeavour has slipped to April, a month after Scott Kelly's scheduled return to Earth."

Tragedy's impact extends to space, MSNBC

"Normal practice in military flying is to ground a pilot who is undergoing severe family crisis, for a reasonable time," NBC News space analyst James Oberg observed in an e-mail. "Add to that -- his wife now faces a long recovery, and his chances of being with her more than a few hours a week are slim to none, if he continues training. He could well request being replaced, perhaps by the commander of the STS-135 [Atlantis] mission that is to follow his flight. They could swap seats. Or he could figure he's had his fair share of flights and just stand down."

Keith's WARNING: Any comments about this tragedy that even hint at politics, motives, perpetrator(s) - in any way - will not be posted. Don't even try.

Keith's 2:00 pm note: Rep. Giffords' husband is Astronaut Mark Kelly, commander of the STS-134 crew. His brother Scott is on-orbit on the ISS as a member of the Expedition 26 crew. CNN, Fox, and NPR "confirmed" that she has died from her wounds. Now retracted.

Congresswoman, 6 Others, Killed By Gunman, NPR

"Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and six others died after a gunman opened fire at a public event on Saturday, the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff's office confirms."

Keith's update: ABC, WTOP, and MSNBC now report that Rep. Giffords is in surgery despite "confirmed" reports from other news organizations. Stay tuned.

Keith's update: According to someone on Fox Rep. Giffords has been "responding to commands" post surgery. News conference delayed but imminent.

Keith's update: MSNBC reports the Tucson Deputy Mayoras saying that Rep. Giffords is "expected to survive".

Keith's update: The hospital spokesman says he is "very optimistic" because Rep. Giffords is responding to commands after surgery and that he is "as optimistic as I can get in this situation". She was shot in the head "through and through", the spokesman said. A total of 10 patients are at this hospital. One (a 9 year old child) died. 5 are in surgery, 5 are in critical condition.

Keith's WARNING: Any comments about this tragedy that even hint at politics, motives, perpetrator(s) - in any way - will not be posted. Don't even try.

Hiding Astronauts

Keith's note: According to the official @NASA Twitter: "@Armo15 Astronauts' e-mail addresses aren't public, but you can send mail to them. Mailing address at:"

Once upon a time you could go to and find the email addresses of all NASA civil servants. Now, it would seem, some of these civil servants are suddenly not as accessible to the public as are others. No reason given. Alas, they have not totally purged their database of all astronauts ...

Commercial Crew Transportation System Certification Requirements for NASA Low Earth Orbit Missions

"This document defines the requirements, standards and certification package contents that will be used to certify a CCTS for LEO Missions. It will be the responsibility of the NASA Program Manager and Technical Authorities to determine the applicability of individual requirements and standards based on the DRM being certified and apply the Agency risk posture (for the DRM) to arrive at the final set of requirements and standards for certification. The Program Manager will then request Certification from NASA HQ per Agency policy."

Keith's note: I did a search of this document for the word "Soyuz". The only time the word is used is in connection with accidents or problems with Soyuz. I wonder if Soyuz meets the requirements in this document - I certainly cannot find any evidence that it does. It certainly should meet these requirements since the U.S. has been buying seats on Soyuz for more than a decade - the very same seats you can buy commercially - the same seats NASA will be buying for years to come. Will NASA certify Soyuz according to the requirements in this document?

If Soyuz does not meet these certification requirements, then one has to ask why NASA is willing to waive requirements for a foreign crew transport system - with Americans on board - but levy more stringent requirements on American commercial systems - carrying Americans. It would also be interesting to see if the Ares-1/Orion configuration would have met these requirements as well.

Inconsistencies abound in this document - both in its intent - and its application (thus far).



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Astronauts category from January 2011.

Astronauts: December 2010 is the previous archive.

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