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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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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The Long Haul

The Long Haul

This past endless year of Covid, reminded me of other long waits in my life and the patience it took to get to the end of one thing to begin something better. I remember my many years at NASA and how long each step took to get into space. I had wanted to be an Astronaut since childhood, but NASA didn’t take women. I had faith they would someday. What education, what specialty, what physical requirements would increase my chances of becoming an...

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Hurricanes Remembered

Hurricanes Remembered

The recent hurricanes that have been devastating so much of the Gulf Coast and beyond remind me what it was like to live near the Johnson Space Center several miles south of Houston near the coast. Over the course of our almost 20 years there, my family had to weather several large tornadoes and hurricanes. We soon learned what steps we had to take before the hurricane and what we would face after. Hurricane Alicia in 1983, a category 3 storm,...

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