A Dream Comes True

A Dream Comes True

In the early 1960’s, NASA was ready to fly people into space. They chose from the ranks of the military test pilots. These men were called the Mercury 7 Astronauts because they flew during the Mercury program. They had gone through a great deal of testing to make sure they were physically and mentally able to withstand what had been predicted to befall humans in space. No one knew what the rigors of microgravity would do to the human body. Did...

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Let’s Celebrate Our Nation

Let’s Celebrate Our Nation

The Fourth of July means flags and fireworks and there are many other things that remind us of our country’s greatness. I am particularly fond of remembering how our space program made us a leader among nations. Here are some of my thoughts and memories. In the late 1950s our nation had to decide whether we wanted military supremacy in space or to use space for peaceful purposes. The Space Act of 1958 created NASA, a civilian agency, and gave...

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A Disorderly Christmas

A Disorderly Christmas

Hoot’s second Shuttle flight, his first as Commander, was scheduled for 1985, but many delays in the Shuttle program pushed it later and later into the year.  His crew was a great bunch—with several good friends from the Astronaut Corps.  Three members of the crew—Hoot, George “Pinkie” Nelson, and Steve Hawley—had flown before, but it was a first for Charlie Bolden, and Franklin Chang Diaz, as well as Payload Specialists (who would only be...

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Who Are Your Heroes?

Who Are Your Heroes?

So…who are your heroes?  People you know personally, people you esteem from afar, people whose lives you admire? I have had the honor of meeting many of my real-life heroes.  One was a fellow astronaut from a different era, Neil Armstrong.  You may remember him, the first human being to set foot on the moon.  His quote that day, July 20, 1969, is famous:  “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”  He came to the Johnson Space...

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A Very Good Year

A Very Good Year

A new year is almost here. And as I look forward to 2016, I smile as I reflect upon so many New Year’s Eves of the past. A couple stand out in my memory. As a junior surgery resident, someone had to cover the pandemonium of the Emergency Room at the John Gaston Hospital in Memphis on the night of December 31, 1976. It was my turn, and I wasn’t happy about it. I had worked all day and would have to handle the chaos for another 12 hours. Needless...

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