My Biggest Science Project

My Biggest Science Project

Did you know that I donated my body to science…twice? I became an Astronaut because I was interested in understanding what happens to humans when they venture away from gravity. We experience gravity from the time we are conceived. When the opportunity came for me to fly aboard two unique Shuttle flights that would gather information on human adaptation to space, I volunteered to be a subject. Little did I know what that would entail. In...

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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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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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The Crawler

The Crawler

My husband, Hoot, and I had many exciting moments in our Astronaut careers.  “Roll out” was always a thrilling time as we prepared for our flights.  Many steps, many people, many machines made that day possible.  Eventually that special day would come when the enormous doors on the Vehicle Assembly Building, the VAB, at the Kennedy Space Center opened and our glorious Space Shuttle began its slow journey to the launch pad.  The most awesome...

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You CAN Take It With You!

You CAN Take It With You!

I am frequently asked whether astronauts could take personal items with them on their Shuttle flights.  Yes – within the rules.  The rules were created after the Apollo 15 crew took a stack of envelopes to the moon and postal stamped them there, intending to sell them after the flight.   Afterwards NASA made that strictly against the rules.  No astronaut could personally profit from the sale of items flown in space, but that wasn’t to say...

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