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Steven Hawley — Former NASA Astronaut, Hubble Space Telescope & Chandra X-ray Observatory Missions

December 15, 2021 @ 4:30 pm

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Steven Hawley, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas, and former NASA astronaut who’s flown on five Space Shuttle missions. In those missions, Hawley had major roles in the deployment and later upkeep of the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

 

In our conversation, Dr. Hawley discusses the first telescope he owned, the 1991 Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission, his role in its deployment, why it initially didn’t operate as intended, what it’s told us about our universe, his later role in the launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and his thoughts on the upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

 

In describing his first space mission deploying the bus-sized Hubble in 1991, Hawley says, “My job was to operate the arm to grasp the telescope, lift it out of the payload bay, and release it. Well, that sounds simple enough on the surface. It actually was quite complicated, and there were a lot of ‘what-ifs’ that we had to think about.”

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Dr. Kathryn Thornton — Former NASA Astronaut

October 7, 2021 @ 3:11 pm

In this episode:

 

We meet Dr. Kathryn Thornton, former NASA astronaut and current Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

 

Dr. Thornton was selected by NASA in May 1984, became the third woman to walk in space, and the first woman to make multiple extravehicular activities (EVAs). A veteran of four space flights, which included her stents as a spacewalker, repairing in-orbit satellites — including the Hubble space telescope — gave Dr. Thornton nearly 1000 hours of space travel.

In our conversation, Dr. Thornton discusses pursuing education in STEM at a time where women were not encouraged in the field, the advancement of gender equality in space, how she trained for missions, an incident that could have impacted the course of a space flight, and what travel to the Moon means for deep space exploration.

 

In sharing advice regarding a career in space, Dr. Thornton says, “There are lots of ways to be involved in the space program. Anybody can, there’s so many different dimensions that require humans and people with a passion that anybody can be a part of it.”

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Frank Culbertson — former NASA astronaut, “The only US citizen not on Earth when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred”

September 9, 2021 @ 9:02 am

In this episode:

We meet CAPT Frank Lee Culbertson, Jr., USN (Ret.), a former American Naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aerospace engineer, NASA astronaut, and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He served as the Commander of the International Space Station (ISS) for almost four months in 2001, giving him the distinction of being the only U.S. citizen not on Earth when the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks occurred. As the ISS passed over New York City after the attacks, he captured impactful photos and video from low Earth orbit of the smoke emanating from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

 

You can read a letter he wrote detailing the complex emotions he experienced that day at https://www.nasa.gov/topics/nasalife/features/sept11_culbertson.html

 

Culbertson’s achievements are too numerous to list completely here. He served in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam, and later as a Naval aviator, Culbertson flew aircraft with the U.S. Air Force in the 426th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where he served as Weapons and Tactics Instructor. Culbertson then served as the Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer for USS John F. Kennedy until he was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, from which he graduated with distinction in 1982. He has logged over 9,500 hours flying time in 60 different types of aircraft.

 

Frank was selected for and completed NASA astronaut training in 1985. He’s a veteran of three space flights: STS-38 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis (Nov. 1990), STS-51 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery (Sept. 1993), and as part of the ISS Expedition 3 crew (launched via STS-105 on Space Shuttle Discovery, Aug. 2001). Culbertson lived and worked aboard the International Space Station for a total of 129 days on that mission and commanded the ISS for 117 of those days.

 

Culbertson recently retired as President of the Space Systems Group at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, and currently consults for several aerospace companies. He’s also on the Board of Advisors of Bye Aerospace, the Board of Trustees of the AIAA, the Board of Directors of Firefly Black Aerospace, and is Member at Large on the Space Foundation Board of Directors. He remains an active pilot and is president of his own company, Higher Flight LLC.

 

In this episode, Frank recalls his day on the ISS on Sept. 11, 2001, how he received information about the attacks in bits and pieces as the day unfolded, the loss of his friend Capt. Charles “Chic” Burlingame (pilot of Flight 77 which terrorists crashed into the Pentagon that day), and how much the world had changed by the time he returned to Earth three months later.

 

Detailing his memories of taking photos aboard the ISS that morning, Culbertson says, “So, it made it easy to zoom in with the camera and look at what was happening. And as I zoomed in ... a big gray blob enveloped Southern Manhattan, and ... I found out later what I was seeing was the second tower come down.”

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Paul Lockhart – Former NASA Astronaut

July 1, 2020 @ 9:32 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Paul Lockhart, U.S. Air Force Colonel (retired) and former NASA astronaut. Spanning his career, Lockhart has served numerous duty assignments worldwide, has logged 5,000-plus flying hours piloting more than 30 aircraft, and has also piloted two space shuttle missions to the International Space Station — STS-111 and STS-113 — both in 2002, aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor. More recently, Paul has written a book called Virtus Adventures and runs a website and blog to promote it. He also does public speaking engagements with school children to inspire an early interest in STEM subjects and space exploration. 

 

In this conversation, Paul discusses how he first became interested in space as a child during the dawn of the space age, the skills he had — and the skills he wished he had — when he first became an astronaut, how mentors helped him to achieve his goals, the realities about being an astronaut that most people don’t know about, and how important a person’s character is in achieving their goals. 

 

Explaining his thoughts on what he wants people to take away from his public speaking engagements, Paul says, “I want every young person, and even adult that I speak to in the U.S. to understand that we, the United States, sit at a unique position in that we should feel very proud that we have a space program that is respected and revered around the world.” 

 

To learn more about Paul’s Virtus Adventures, visit virtusadventures.com.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Duane “Digger” Carey – Former NASA Astronaut, Part Two

January 15, 2020 @ 9:18 am

In this episode:

 

We continue our conversation with former NASA astronaut Lt. Col. Duane "Digger" Carey, USAF (Ret.) and current owner of One-Eighty Out, Inc. Among Digger’s accomplishments was piloting the Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-109 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope in 2002.

 

In this second part of our conversation, Digger discusses the process of being selected by NASA, the supporting tasks that filled his years in NASA leading up to piloting the Space Shuttle Columbia, his memories of working Mission Control when the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy occurred in 2003, and the STEM education efforts he’s dedicated himself to since he retired from NASA.

 

Discussing his passion for space exploration, Carey says, “I flew in space and I saw the Earth without borders, and it sounds trite, but it’s a life-changing experience to see what the Earth really looks like from low Earth orbit, and you realize that human beings — if we put our minds to it, and we make the hard decisions, and we challenge ourselves — we can make all of these dreams come true.”

 

To learn more about Digger’s current efforts with One-Eighty Out Inc., visit the website at http://www.astronautbiker.com or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/astronautbiker/

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

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Duane “Digger” Carey – Former NASA Astronaut, Part One

January 8, 2020 @ 11:56 am

In this episode:

 

We meet former NASA astronaut Lt. Col. Duane "Digger" Carey, USAF (Ret.), and current owner of One-Eighty Out, Inc. Among Digger’s accomplishments was piloting the Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-109 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope in 2002.

 

In part one of this two-part conversation, Digger talks about his humble beginnings as a kid who grew up in the housing projects of St. Paul, Minnesota, disliking school and how, against those odds, he transformed himself into who he is today. He also discusses how, during his years motorcycling and train-hopping across the country, he became inspired to pursue a college education so he could join the U.S. Air Force — setting into motion the events that led him to become an astronaut.

 

Citing the importance of confidence and determination in the pursuit of achieving one’s goals, Carey says, “The whole philosophy has to be: You see something you want to do, and you go after it, and if people laugh at you, or think that you’re not very smart, or think that you’re unprepared — let them laugh and stuff like that, because you’re going to show them in the long run, because you’re never going to give up.”

 

To learn more about Digger’s current efforts with One-Eighty Out Inc., visit the website at http://www.astronautbiker.com  or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/astronautbiker/

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Astronaut · Comments

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