Two shuttle veterans poised to join U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
On Jan. 18, 2018 former shuttle astronauts Dr. Thomas D. Jones and Captain Scott D. Altman, were recognized for their contributions toward the field of space sciences – by being selected for induction into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. When they claim their medallions, they will become two of only 95 individuals to receive this honor.
Dr. Thomas D. Jones was born on Jan. 22, 1955, in Baltimore, Maryland. After he graduated from USAF Academy, Dr. Jones went on to join the Air Force as an officer for 6 years. After resigning in 1983, he went on to achieve his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 1990, NASA took him aboard their crew and after a year of training, became an astronaut. Dr. Jones was aboard the flights of STS-59, STS-68, STS-80 and STS-98 where he completed various missions.
Captain Scott D. Altman was born on August 15, 1959 in Lincoln, Illinois. After serving in the United States Navy for roughly fourteen years, Altman was selected by NASA in 1995 as an astronaut candidate. As a member of the agency’s elite corps of space flyers, Altman piloted mission’s STS-90 and STS-106 and was the mission commander on STS-109 and STS-125 (the final service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope).
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, located near Titusville, Florida will be where both of the men will be inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame during in April of this year (2018). With these two new additions, a total of 95 individuals have received this prestigious award ever since its creation by the 6 surviving Mercury 7 astronauts in 1990.
The Astronaut Hall of Fame operates and maintains The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which will host a black-tie Gala and ceremony held on April 21, 2018.
Jones assists SpaceFlight Insider as a technical consultant and we reached out to him about what it was like to receive this honor.
“This honor is beyond my wildest space dreams. I can tell you, working for NASA as an astronaut was the ‘best job I ever had’ because of the superb teammates and crewmates I was privileged to know. When the Astronaut Hall of Fame told me that I would join Scott Altman as one of this year’s inductees, I was doubly honored: first for having had the privilege to represent the nation and all of my fine colleagues in America’s space exploration efforts, and now to receive this unexpected recognition from my peers,” Jones told SpaceFlight Insider. “I’m particularly thankful to be included with Scooter in this accomplished group of pioneering astronauts. We worked together for half a dozen years during the shuttle program, and I know how widely his skills, leadership, and friendship are admired.”
Jones was asked about what got him to where he is today and, not surprisingly, his answer related to the people
“Growing up, I read about and greatly admired the work of my astronaut heroes–John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, John Young, Mike Collins, Rusty Schweickart–and so many others. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and learn from many of them, and to continue and further their work in exploration. I hope that through the Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, I can help draw a new generation of space explorers into this endeavor, so vital to the future of our nation, and humanity itself,” Jones said.
Founded at the very dawn of the Space Race in 1958, the Florida Institute of Technology is the only independent, technological university located in the Southeast. Times Higher Education ranks Florida Tech in the Top 200 Universities in the World. The university has been designated a Tier One Best National University in U.S. News & World Report, and is one of just nine schools in Florida lauded by the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. The university offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Fields of study include science, engineering, aeronautics, business, humanities, mathematics, psychology, communication and education.