Astronauts: February 2016 Archives

Don Williams

Association of Space Explorers: "We are very sad to pass along the news that former astronaut Don Williams has passed away. Fair skies and following seas, Cap'n."

NASA astronaut bio

"Born February 13, 1942, in Lafayette, Indiana. Died on February 23, 2016. He is survived by his wife and two children. He enjoyed all sports activities and his interests included running and photography."

The Last Man on The Moon Wants You To Go Back (Review), SpaceRef

"Nearly half a century ago we sent people on improbable voyages to another world - because we could. Indeed, for a while, such voyages became routine. Then, suddenly, it was over. We stopped visiting the Moon before we had barely figured out to do so. We knew that it might be a while before we went back, but we would go back - right?"

Record Number of Americans Apply to #BeAnAstronaut at NASA

"More than 18,300 people applied to join NASA's 2017 astronaut class, almost three times the number of applications received in 2012 for the most recent astronaut class, and far surpassing the previous record of 8,000 in 1978. "It's not at all surprising to me that so many Americans from diverse backgrounds want to personally contribute to blazing the trail on our journey to Mars," said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, himself a former astronaut. "A few exceptionally talented men and women will become the astronauts chosen in this group who will once again launch to space from U.S. soil on American-made spacecraft."

Keith's note: Of the 18,300 applications NASA will pick - at most - a dozen candidates. And those new NASA astronauts that are selected can expect to wait nearly 20 years before they go on the #JourneyToMars or wherever. One has to assume that most of the people applying knew it was a long shot. Many probably did it so that they could get the rejection letter (larger image) to frame and show people that they tried. Many more, however, really, really, REALLY would like to fly in space.

NASA did a good job via social media in pumping people to apply. But what is NASA going to do with this interest once reality sets in and 99.9% of the applicants get the rejection letter? Think about it - a marketing plan (oh wait, NASA is not supposed to that) - an education and public outreach (EPO) effort - has just identified 18,300 people who want to fly in space. I suspect the real number out there has multiple zeros after it. That said, NASA now knows who these 18,300 people are. They applied for a job, so all manner of government privacy regulations kick in. As such, NASA probably can't do a damn thing with this priceless information. Or maybe they can.

NASA has done a lot of #NASASocial stuff. It is useful, but I think it has reached the limit of its effectiveness. NASA now needs to enlist a more robust, personal, one-on-one approach to its EPO efforts. NASA has/had a "solar system ambassadors" program as well as other EPO programs that enlisted interested educators and citizens. Guess what: 18,300 potential participants just popped up on NASA's radar screen.

Again: 18,300 citizens just said that they want to fly on a NASA rocket. What is NASA going to do with this influx of self-identified and overtly-avowed space explorers?

What Happened When a NASA Astronaut Got Harassed on Twitter. Motherboard

"In late 2013 and early 2014, Twitter, Google, and three law enforcement agencies in two countries tracked down a British woman who allegedly harassed a NASA astronaut over the course of several months in 2013, according to documents obtained by Motherboard using a Freedom of Information Act request. According to the documents, the astronaut and the woman began direct messaging on Twitter and also texted and called each other several times. After the woman realized the astronaut had a girlfriend, she began sending "false and malicious statements that include excessive profane and abusive language," according to the documents. Motherboard will not be naming the astronaut out of respect for his family's privacy."

Edgar Mitchell

Astronaut Mitchell Dies Exactly 45 Years After His Moon Walk

"Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell died yesterday. Coincidentally, on 5 Feb. 1971, Mitchell, lunar module pilot for the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission, stands by the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface during the early moments of the first extravehicular activity of the mission."

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, 85, dies in West Palm Beach , Palm Beach Post

"Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, who was part of the Apollo 14 space crew that flew to the moon in 1971, died late Thursday in West Palm Beach, according to his family. Mitchell, 85, lived in suburban Lake Worth and died at a local hospice at about 10 p.m. Thursday, his daughter, former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell told The Palm Beach Post."

NASA Administrator Remembers Apollo-Era Astronaut Edgar Mitchell

"He believed in exploration, having been drawn to NASA by President Kennedy's call to send humans to the moon. He is one of the pioneers in space exploration on whose shoulders we now stand."

Keith's note: Brian Duffy and Scott Parazynski have been inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Scott did not know it at the time, but this is one of the tests, administered by me at Everest Base Camp in 2009, that helped determine if Scott was suitable material for the Astronaut Hall of Fame. He passed.


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This page is an archive of entries in the Astronauts category from February 2016.

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