Grounded!

Grounded!

One of the worst things a pilot (or a teenager…) can hear is,” You’re grounded.” For pilots, being stuck on the ground is usually due to one of two reasons – breaking the rules or having a medical problem. When I interviewed for the Astronaut Corps, I had to pass a very thorough physical exam. When I became an Astronaut, I had physicals annually by a Flight Surgeon, someone who has trained in aerospace medicine. If something was found on my...

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Imagine feeling that you are lost in space.  In the early days of spaceflight, Mission Control couldn’t always talk to the Astronauts, leaving them feeling out of touch with Earth.  The silence must have felt eerie. Communication in those days had to be sent and received by ground stations which were part of the NASA Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network.  This network consisted of stations spread around the globe but there were gaps...

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Astronaut Humor

Astronaut Humor

This blog originally appeared in 2015 and has been brought back and updated by Dr. Seddon. We hope you will enjoy this revised version of a past fan-favorite. I am often asked what Astronauts are really like. All are very bright (some are brilliant), friendly, hard-working, reliable, and productive. These modern-day heroes became my friends in the Shuttle’s heyday. I also had the opportunity to serve twice on Selection Boards for new...

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Quarantined!

Quarantined!

As far back as people can remember there have been plagues like the Black Death, cholera, smallpox and leprosy. The only way to stop spreading infections was to avoid contact with sick people. Some of you may remember, as I do, when homes were quarantined if someone living there had some sort of contagious disease like whooping cough or polio. In today’s world things are reversed: people stay home to avoid sick people walking around in the...

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“Who, me?” Day and the TFNGs

“Who, me?” Day and the TFNGs

  On the morning of January 16, 1978, an invitation went out to thirty-five lucky individuals. I received a call as I entered the VA Hospital in Memphis where I was completing my surgery residency. My beeper indicated a call for me was waiting at the reception desk. “Hello?” “Hi, Rhea,” said the Johnson Space Center Director of Flight Operations, George Abbey. “Are you still interested in coming to work for us?” Stunned, I thought “Who,...

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