23 January 2009

Three astronauts elected to Hall of Fame

Left to right: Former astronauts James D Wetherbee (Captain, USN, ret), William M Shepherd (Captain, USN, ret) and George D Nelson PhD

ZUI this article from collectSPACE:
The first American to command five space missions, the first commander of the International Space Station (ISS) and a member of the first repair team to service a satellite on-orbit will be enshrined this May in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

James Wetherbee, William Shepherd and George "Pinky" Nelson were confirmed on Wednesday by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation as comprising the eighth group of space shuttle astronauts to be named to the Hall. A gala and an induction ceremony will be hosted at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, home to the Hall of Fame, on May 1-2, 2009.


In between flying six times to space -- five times as the mission commander -- James D. "Jim" Wetherbee played drums with the all-astronaut band, Max Q.

Making his first flight in 1990, piloting the STS-32 mission that returned from orbit the school bus-size Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), Wetherbee's first command was two years later launching an Italian laser geodynamic satellite on STS-52.


Wetherbee retired from NASA in 2005 after logging more than 65 days in space and serving as deputy director and director of flight crew operations for the Johnson Space Center. Today, Wetherbee works as a safety auditor with BP.


William M. "Bill" Shepherd's fourth and final space flight ended with Jim Wetherbee in command. Shepherd flew home after commanding the International Space Station's first expedition, returning with Wetherbee's fifth mission.

Five months earlier, Expedition One began with Shepherd giving the ISS its unofficial call sign, "Alpha".

A former Navy SEAL [and a] recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, Shepherd left the space agency in 2002 and went on to become a civilian engineer assigned to the staff of the Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, to assist with the development of programs for the SEALs and Special Boat Sailors of Tomorrow.


George D. "Pinky" Nelson also starred in an IMAX film, documenting his work as one of the first spacewalkers to repair a satellite.

As a mission specialist on STS-41C, Nelson, together with James "Ox" van Hoften, repaired the malfunctioning Solar Maximum Satellite during two spacewalks, which were later featured in the IMAX large screen film, "The Dream is Alive." The mission, which flew in April 1984, deployed the same Long Duration Exposure Facility that Wetherbee recovered six years later.


The addition of the three men will bring the Hall's number of enshrined space explorers to 73, which includes all of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab astronauts. The 2009 members were selected by a committee of current Hall of Fame inductees, former NASA officials and flight directors, historians and journalists.

More about the US Astronaut Hall of Fame can be found here and here.

1 comment:

Buck said...

I have a very large poster of Pinky and Ox on my wall at home. Glad to see him in the Hall of Fame.