Two By Two

Two By Two

When my husband, Hoot Gibson, and I watched the launch of the SpaceX spaceship recently, we were as excited as the rest of the country that NASA was launching from American soil again.  We also realized that, although we don’t personally know Bob Benkhen and Doug Hurley, we share something unusual with them.  Can you guess what it is? Bob and Doug are married to other Astronauts, Megan McArthur and Karen Nyberg, respectively and each has a...

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Rendezvous in Space

Rendezvous in Space

Many around the world watched the Space X Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon module launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying Bob Benkyn and Doug Hurley into space. The crew module went on to unite with the International Space Station. The approach and docking were fully automated and worked flawlessly. I remember the days when the mating of huge objects in space was much more complicated – and fraught with peril. Exactly how can you join...

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Flyovers

Flyovers

When a gaggle of airplanes fly overhead, you can be certain that it means a special event.  I’ve witnessed a bunch of these flyovers, some exhilarating, some sorrowful and some proud.  I’ve spotlighted several of them in this story. When astronauts finished their training for a flight, they’d fly the NASA jets to Cape Canaveral and swoop around the launch pad where their Shuttle stood.  It was a sign to all the workers who came out to watch...

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Light at the End of the Tunnel

Light at the End of the Tunnel

January 1986 was the beginning of the worst year of my life.  On Jan. 28 the Challenger exploded killing seven Astronauts, my friends.  It was totally unexpected and unprecedented.  Our entire space program was set adrift.  What could we do? We had to begin with what had to be done.  It was an incredibly sad and difficult time. First, there were grieving families to support.  Then there were bodies to retrieve and to bury with honor.  A cause...

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Too Many Changes

Too Many Changes

In the “olden days” when Space Shuttle flights were just beginning, as Astronauts were named to flights there were several things that had to be done.  An announcement was sent to the Public Affairs Office for release to the press.  Next a crew picture was taken and a patch designed.  The payload was assigned to the mission and the appropriate Space Shuttle chosen.  On occasion that careful planning went haywire. When I was assigned to fly in...

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Almost a Disaster

Almost a Disaster

The days after the Challenger accident in 1986 were terrible. All of NASA and its contractors were put to work to find and fix the cause of the tragedy. When the corrective actions were taken and the country was ready, NASA prepared for its new missions. Little did anyone know that danger awaited one of the next flight crews. In an effort to keep Mission Control personnel and Astronaut crews well trained, two “practice” flights were designed...

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