A Gathering of Astronauts

A Gathering of Astronauts

I recently attended the annual Astronaut Hall of Fame at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando. It was a time to see old friends, many of whom are Hall of Famers and several of whom were being inducted into this prestigious group. It is very special for me to wear the large, heavy gold medallion that marks those who are part of this group. All the Hall of Fame members entered the large ballroom according to the date of our first flight. My...

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Teaming Up for Takeoff: 6 Teamwork Strategies that Are Out of this World

Teaming Up for Takeoff: 6 Teamwork Strategies that Are Out of this World

We had been selected for the Astronaut Corps and this particular flight because we had proven track records of being good team players, both as leaders and as followers, and had the requisite skills to accomplish a variety of space missions with varying payloads. There are strategies to choose team players, to mold them into a great team, to define their goals, to motivate them for success, to deal with “outliers” and to learn from failure —...

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Thought I Was Gonna Die

Thought I Was Gonna Die

One of the things we had to master as new Astronauts was to be good back-seaters for the pilots in the planes part of the time. As they (and we) gained some confidence in our flying abilities they gave us more and more responsibilities. And of course, we had to learn how to handle emergencies. We had checklists with pages of what to do if something went wrong. Sometimes they did. The pilots were training for a number of jobs, one of which was...

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Just a Handshake…

Just a Handshake…

Have you ever looked back on your life and said “Oh, that changed everything”?  One of those moments happened to me.  It was when our new Astronaut class first got together in 1978.  There were thirty-five of us and most of us didn’t know each other yet.  A reception was planned and we all arrived at the venue.  As I walked in, I noticed two very good-looking fellows down the hallway.  One was blonde and the other dark-haired.  As I got closer,...

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Space Boo Boos

Space Boo Boos

Despite NASA’s many accomplishments like the moon landing, the Space Shuttle and the Space Station, there were bound to be errors and mistakes, large and small along the way. Want to hear a few that I was aware of? During one of the Shuttle flights one of the females got her long hair caught in a piece of equipment and it pulled a bunch of her hair out. Ouch! NASA bosses (all men at the time) made a rule that all the women had to restrain their...

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