Astronaut Hall of Fame welcomes Foale, Ochoa to its ranks
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Two NASA astronauts joined the elite ranks of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame located at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s $100 million Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. Given that both Michael Foale and Ellen Ochoa flew on OV-104 (Atlantis), the duo makes the Friday, May 19, ceremony all the more poignant.
As the 16th group of astronauts to join the AHoF, Foale and Ochoa bring the total number of astronauts to have received this honor to 95.
The event was emceed by former CNN correspondent John Zarrella. Other presenters included Therrin Protze, the chief operating officer of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Robert Cabana, director, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and a former astronaut, as well as Hall of Fame Astronaut and Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Chairman, Dan Brandenstein.
Some 20 other former NASA astronauts were also in attendance; these included the following: Al Worden, Charlie Duke, Karol “Bo” Bobko, Brian Duffy, Charles Bolden, Kent Rominger, Curtis Brown, Michael Coats, Robert Crippen, Robert “Hoot” Gibson, Frederick Gregory, Rhea Seddon, Brewster Shaw, Loren Shriver, Kathryn Thornton, and James Wetherbee.
NASA provided the following biographies from the two astronauts who were inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday:
Ochoa was selected as a NASA astronaut in January 1990. A veteran of four flights, Ochoa logged more than 978 hours on orbit, serving as mission specialist on space shuttle mission STS-56, payload commander on STS-66, and both flight engineer and mission specialist on STS-96 and STS-110. She has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, NASA’s highest award.
Foale was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 1987. A veteran of six missions, he logged more than 374 days in space and four spacewalks totaling almost 23 hours, including a spacewalk to perform repairs and upgrades to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. He is also the only American citizen to have served on both Mir and the International Space Station. Foale retired from NASA in 2013.
The United States Hall of Fame was opened on October 29, 1990, with its main facility located just south of Titusville, Florida. That facility was closed on November 2, 2015, and the assets and plaques contained within moved to the new “Heroes and Legends” exhibit at the Visitor Complex.
Video courtesy of NASA
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.
My disappointment with the displays is that they are so limited. “Made x flights” is all you can tell from them. *Why* are they in the Hall of Fame? What did they do different that their peers did not that put them in the Hall and not those peers? It would be nice if their stories were told. While it makes sense that the facility be consolidated with the KSC Visitor Center, “Heroes and Legends” is but a pale shadow of the original Hall of Fame.