2014 Astronaut Hall of Fame Inductees Announced
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Two space shuttle veterans have been tapped to enter into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame (AHoF). The announcement was made on Feb. 7 at the Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The duo selected to enter the AHoF included the first astronaut to ride NASA’s shuttle into orbit seven times – Jerry Ross and Shannon Lucid, the only U.S. female astronaut to be stationed on the Russian space station Mir.
Dan Brandenstein, the current chairman for the AHoF, and a four-time space shuttle veteran and Hall of Fame member himself revealed that Ross and Lucid would be entered into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. The Astronaut Hall of Fame will be inducted into the AHoF on May 3 at 3 p.m. Brandenstein highlighted why these two space flyers had been selected for this honor.
“Shannon Lucid and Jerry Ross are extraordinary astronauts who made history as very important and frequent crewmembers in shuttle missions. We are looking forward to honoring their accomplishments and sharing their tremendous life stories at the induction,” Brandenstein said.
When they enter the AHoF, Lucid and Ross will join some heady company, joining John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Sally Ride, Gus Grissom, Eileen Collins and others who made space flight history. May’s ceremony will mark the thirteenth group of astronauts to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. When Lucid and Ross enters their ranks, some 87 space flight veterans will be enshrined into the AHoF.
Jerry Ross: Ross was selected to become an astronaut in 1980. As mentioned, Ross was the first to break the record of having traveled into space seven times. Ross is a retired colonel with the U.S. Air Force who started out his NASA career as a payload officer and flight controller at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center located in Houston, Texas. Ross’ missions include STS-61B, STS-27, STS-37, STS-55, STS-74, STS-88 and STS-110. Ross spent a good deal of time between 1998 and 2002 working on the early assembly of the International Space Station. This was the focus of STS-88 which was conducted on space shuttle Endeavour in 1998. Between 2003 and his retirement from NASA in 2012, Ross served as chief of the Vehicle Integration Test Office at Johnson Space Center.
Shannon Lucid: Lucid was tapped to join the astronaut corps in 1979. Until 2007, she held the record of the most time spent on orbit, some 223 days. Lucid has a Ph.D, and is completed five flights into space. She completed her first mission into space in 1985 on board space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-51G. Lucid is best known however for the 188 days that she spent on the Russian space station Mir. She began this pivotal STS-76 mission conducted by space shuttle Atlantis. Lucid was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in December 1996 for her time on Mir by President Bill Clinton. Lucid also flew to orbit on shuttle missions STS-34 Atlantis, STS-43 also on Atlantis and STS-58 on shuttle Columbia. She retired from NASA in 2012.
To be selected to enter the Astronaut Hall of Fame, space flyers are selected by a committee comprised of former NASA officials, historians and journalists, this process is administered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Each potential candidate must have flown their first mission 17 years before being inducted, they must be a U.S. citizen and have orbited Earth at least once.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is one of the AHoF’s consultants and helps in the selection process. The ASF works to ensure that the United States maintains its lead in fields relating to science, technology, engineering and math, more commonly known as “STEM.” The foundation does this by providing scholarships to worthy students who demonstrate strong interest and skill in these fields. The ASF also works to empower programs which impart to the value of STEM fields to the general public. More than 100 astronauts from the width and breadth of the U.S. manned space program aid the ASF in its efforts.
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.