People Like This Are Why Manned Spaceflight Is Worth Fighting For

>> Friday, April 17, 2009

Many of you probably know I read the New York Times (online version - and, no, I won't miss paper newspapers). Well, I found a doozy of a story there earlier this week. As some of you also know, I have worked with a number of astronauts and, I kid you not, really work at NASA with space stuff.

One of the many hats I've worn the past twenty years is that of EVA Safety Engineer and, during my six years in that role, I had the good fortune to be the EVA Safety Flight lead for the last two Hubble Servicing Missions (one of which was the reason I won a Silver Snoopy as I explained here).

It wasn't just that it was an opportunity to help repair a treasure for all mankind. I also got to work with some remarkable individuals. The folks at Goddard Spaceflight Center devise the tools and hardware and workarounds and repair equipment, the procedures and replacement parts. I've never seen such an innovative and responsive bunch in my life. It was an honor to work with them (though I'm not sure they would say the same).

However, as exceptional as the ground support crews were, the astronauts were exceptional: Steven Smith, John Grunsfeld, Michaele Foale, Claude Niccolier, Richard Linnehan, James Newman, Michael Massimino, Nancy Currie, and Jean-Francois Clervoy. Gifted, devoted, smart, detailed, talented, hard-working...there aren't enough superlatives for these people.

Do read the NYT article. It's an excellent tribute to the exceptional Dr. John Grunsfeld. I hope they're successful in their upcoming repair mission. There are risks, quite significant ones, and they know what they're doing. Scott D. Altman, Gregory C. Johnson, Michael T. Good, K. Megan McArthur, John M. Grunsfeld, Michael J. Massimino, Andrew J. Feustel. They feel that what they have to gain is worth the risk.

All honor to them.

But I'll be glad when these exceptional folks get back home.

By the way, what do you think of my new look? Cool, hunh? All kudos to LadyJava.


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