Former Skylab Astronaut Jerry Carr describes life as an astronaut

Former Skylab Astronaut Jerry Carr describes life as an astronaut. Animated feature narrated by Jerry.


NASA Astronaut Describes the Complexities of Photography in Space

U.S. Astronaut Donald (Don) Pettit is, as well as being a NASA astronaut, an exceptionally keen photographer — which is why he has over 10 top-of-line DSLR cameras littering the International Space Station. In this video, he talks about the complexities, and joys, of photography in space.

ISS – Sunita Williams on Spacewalk

NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 32 flight engineer, appears to touch the bright sun during the mission’s third session of extravehicular activity (EVA) on Sept. 5, 2012.

NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 32 flight engineer, appears to touch the bright sun during the mission’s third session of extravehicular activity (EVA) on Sept. 5, 2012.

During the six-hour, 28-minute spacewalk, Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide (visible in the reflections of Williams’ helmet visor), flight engineer, completed the installation of a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) that was hampered by a possible misalignment and damaged threads where a bolt must be placed. They also installed a camera on the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2.

Image Credit: NASA

Former NASA Astronaut Alan Poindexter in Fatal Jet Ski Accident

Spaceboosters has today learned that space veteran former astronaut Alan “Dex” Poindexter, 50, a space shuttle commander who flew twice into space, died Sunday (July 1) after being injured in a water sports accident in Florida, NASA has today confirmed.

NASA EXPERIENCE:Selected by NASA in June 1998, he reported for training in August 1998.  Initially, Poindexter served in the Astronaut Office Shuttle Operations Branch performing duties as the lead support astronaut at Kennedy Space Center.  He served as a CAPCOM for several missions and is veteran of two space flights.  Captain Poindexter has logged more than 669 hours in space.   In 2008, he served as Pilot on STS-122, and in 2010 was the Commander of STS-131.  Captain Poindexter retired from NASA in December 2010.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-122 aboard Atlantis (February 7-20, 2008) was the 24th Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Mission highlight was the delivery and installation of the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory. It took three spacewalks by crewmembers to prepare the Columbus Laboratory for its scientific work, and to replace an expended nitrogen tank on the Station’s P-1 Truss. STS-122 was also a crew replacement mission, delivering Expedition-16 Flight Engineer, ESA Astronaut Léopold Eyharts, and returning home with Expedition-16 Flight Engineer, NASA Astronaut Daniel Tani. The STS-122 mission was accomplished in 12 days, 18 hours, 21 minutes and 40 seconds, and traveled 5,296,832 statute miles in 203 Earth orbits.

NASA astronaut Alan Poindexter, STS-131 commander, poses for a photo in the Cupola of the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Alan Poindexter, STS-131 commander, poses for a photo in the Cupola of the International Space Station while space shuttle Discovery remains docked with the station.

STS-131 aboard Discovery (April 5-20, 2010), a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), launched just before dawn from the Kennedy Space Center. Upon arrival at the station, Discovery’s crew performed three spacewalks to replace an empty ammonia tank for the ISS Thermal Control System. They also transferred more than 13,000 pounds of hardware, supplies and equipment. Included in the transfer, were a new crew sleeping quarters, and three scientific experiment racks. On the return journey the MPLM (Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module) inside Discovery’s payload bay was packed with over 6,000 pounds of hardware, and scientific and technical research return samples. The STS-131 mission lasted 15 days, 02 hours, 47 minutes, 10 seconds, and traveled 6,232,235 statute miles in 238 Earth orbits.

Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits the STS-131 Crew

Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, these seven astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-131 crew portrait. Seated are NASA astronauts Alan Poindexter (right), commander; and James P. Dutton Jr., pilot. Pictured from the left (standing) are NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Naoko Yamazaki and NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson, all mission specialists.

Evaluating the NASA Advanced Crew Escape Suit

Evaluating the NASA Advanced Crew Escape Suit

NASA astronaut Rex Walheim participated in an evaluation of the Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES) in the Active Response Gravity Offload System, or ARGOS, at the Johnson Space Center on Tuesday, June, 5, 2012. The modified ACES suit is fully integrated with Orion life support systems and will be used by crews for ascent and entry, as well as light extra vehicular activities, commonly referred to as spacewalks. The ARGOS system allows an astronaut to be suspended and have full freedom of motion, simulating a microgravity environment. During this test, Walheim evaluated the amount of dexterity the suit would provide for various tasks including translating across handrails, working with tools and entering a spacecraft hatch.

Image Credit: NASA/Radislav Sinyak

NASA Announces 16th Undersea Exploration Mission Dates and Crew

WASHINGTON — An international team of aquanauts will travel again to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to simulate a visit to an asteroid in the 16th expedition of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO).

This year’s NEEMO mission will begin June 11. It will build on lessons learned from 2011’s NEEMO 15 mission and test innovative solutions to engineering challenges allowing astronauts to eventually explore asteroids.

“We’re trying to look out into the future and understand how we’d operate on an asteroid,” said Mike Gernhardt, NASA astronaut and NEEMO principal investigator. “You don’t want to make a bunch of guesses about what you’ll need and then get to the asteroid to find out it won’t work the way you thought it would. NEEMO helps give us the information we need to make informed decisions now.”

This NEEMO expedition will focus on three areas: communication delays, restraint and translation techniques, and optimum crew size. The crew of four will spend 12 days living 63 feet below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aquarius Reef Base undersea research habitat off the coast of Key Largo, Fla.

NASA astronaut and former space shuttle crew member Dottie M. Metcalf-Lindenburger will lead the crew. She will be joined by fellow astronauts Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Timothy Peake of the European Space Agency and Cornell University professor Steven Squyres, who was also a NEEMO 15 crew member.

To request interviews with the NEEMO 16 crew during the mission, contact Brandi Dean of NASA at, Rosita Suenson of the European Space Agency at, Akiko Niizeki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at or Fred Gorell of NOAA at

The NEEMO mission is sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Program. For more information about NEEMO and the crew and links to follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter, visit:

NASA Astronaut Harrison Schmitt in the U.K

Posted by Ken Willoughby  Harrison Schmitt UK Visit

Astronaut Bio.

Harrison H. Schmitt (Ph.D.)
NASA Astronaut (former)

PERSONAL DATA: Born July 3, 1935, in Santa Rita, New Mexico. Married to Teresa Fitzgibbon. Recreational interests writing, skiing, fishing, carpentry, hiking, handball, squash, and running.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Western High School, Silver City, New Mexico; received a bachelor of science degree in science from the California Institute of Technology in 1957; studied at the University of Oslo in Norway during 1957-1958; received doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1964.

ORGANIZATIONS: The Geological Society of America (Honorary Fellow); The American Geophysical Union (Fellow); The American Association for the Advancement of Science (Fellow); The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Fellow); Sigma XI; American Association of Petroleum Geologists (Fellow); The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (Honorary Member); New Mexico Geological Society (Honorary Member); The American Astronautical Society.

SPECIAL HONORS: Fulbright Fellowship in Norway (1957-1958); Kennecott Fellowship in Geology at Harvard University (1958-1959); Harvard Fellowship (1959-1969); Parker Traveling Fellowship at Harvard University (1961-1962); National Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Geological Sciences, Harvard University, (1963-1964); Johnson Space Center Superior Achievement Award (1970); NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1973); Fairchild Fellow, Caltech (1973-1974); California Institute of Technology, Distinguished Graduate (1973); Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America (1973); Arthur S. Fleming Award (1973); Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Colorado School of Mines (1973); Republic of Senegal’s National Order of the Lion (1973); Honorary Life Membership of New Mexico Geological Society (1973); Honorary Member of Norwegian Geographical Society (1973); Honorary Fellow American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (1973); Honorary Fellow of The Geological Society, London (1974); Honorary Doctorate Degree from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute (1975); Honorary Doctorate Degree from Franklin and Marshall College (1977); International Space Hall of Fame (1977); Fellow American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (1977); Engineer of the Year Award, National Society of Professional Engineers, Legislative Recognition Award (1981); National Security Award, highest Civil Defense Award (1981); Honorary Doctorate of Astronautical Science from Salem College (1982); NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal (1982); Lovelace Award, Society of NASA Flight Surgeons (1989); G. K. Gilbert Award, Planetary Geology Division, Geological Society of America (1989); Award for Excellence, Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation (1990).

EXPERIENCE: Schmitt was a teaching fellow at Harvard in 1961 where he assisted in teaching a course in ore deposits. Prior to his teaching assignment, he did geological work for the Norwegian Geological Survey on the west coast of Norway, and for the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico and Montana. He also worked for two summers as a geologist in southeastern Alaska.

Before joining NASA, he was with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Center at Flagstaff, Arizona. He was project chief for lunar field geological methods and participated in photo and telescopic mapping of the Moon, and was among USGS astrogeologists instructing NASA astronauts during their geological field trips.

He has logged more than 2,100 hours flying time — 1,600 hours in jet aircraft.

Dr. Schmitt was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in June 1965. He later completed a 53-week course in flight training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. In addition to training for future manned space flights. He was instrumental in providing Apollo flight crews with detailed instruction in lunar navigation, geology, and feature recognition. Schmitt also assisted in the integration of scientific activities into the Apollo lunar missions and participated in research activities requiring geologic, petrographic, and stratigraphic analyses of samples returned from the moon by Apollo missions.

He was backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 15.

On his first journey into space, Dr. Schmitt occupied the lunar module pilot seat for Apollo 17 — the last scheduled manned Apollo mission to the United States –which commenced at 11:33 p.m. (CST), December 6, 1972, and concluded on December 19, 1972. He was accompanied on the voyage of the command module “America” and the lunar module “Challenger” by Eugene Cernan (spacecraft commander) and Ronald Evans (command module pilot). In maneuvering “Challenger” to a landing at Taurus-Littrow, which is located on the southeast edge of Mare Serenitatis, Schmitt and Cernan activated a base of operations facilitating their completion of three days of exploration. This last Apollo mission to the moon for the United States broke several records set by previous flights and include: longest manned lunar landing flight (301 hours, 51 minutes); longest lunar surface extravehicular activities (22 hours, 4 minutes); largest lunar sample return (an estimated 115 Kg, 249 lbs); and longest time in lunar orbit (147 hours, 48 minutes). Apollo 17 ended with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean approximately 0.4 mile from the target point and 4.3 miles from the prime recovery ship, USS TICONDEROGA.

Dr. Schmitt logged 301 hours and 51 minutes in space — of which 22 hours and 4 minutes were spent in extravehicular activity on the lunar surface.

In July of 1973 Dr. Schmitt was appointed as one of the first Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholars at the California Institute of Technology. His appointment was extended to run through July 1975. This appointment ran concurrently with his other activities in NASA.

In February 1974, Schmitt assumed additional duties as Chief of Scientist-Astronauts.

Dr. Schmitt was appointed NASA Assistant Administrator for Energy Programs in May 1974. This office has the responsibility for coordinating NASA support to other Federal Agencies conducting energy research and development and for managing NASA programs applying aeronautics and space technology to the generation, transmission, storage, conservation, utilization and management of energy for terrestrial applications.

In August of 1975, Dr. Schmitt resigned his post with NASA to run for the United States Senate in his home state of New Mexico. He was elected on November 2, 1976, with 57% of the votes cast.

In January 1977, Schmitt began a six-year term as one of New Mexico’s Senators in Washington, D.C. His major committee assignments were on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the Select Committee on Ethics. He was the ranking Republican member of the Ethics Committee; of the Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee of Commerce, and the Consumer Sub-committee of Banking.

Since 1982, Schmitt has worked as a consultant, corporate director, and free lance writer and speaker on matters related to space, science, technology, and public policy. In 1994, he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin and Chairman and President of the Annapolis Center for Environmental Quality.

DECEMBER 1994 This is the only version available from NASA. Updates must be sought direct from the above named individual.

Harrison Schmitt 8 x 10

Apollo 17 Embroidered Mission Patch

ESA – “I’ll go where your music takes me…”

André Kuipers in Cupola on ISS

16 January 2012
Music has accompanied humans into space since the earliest years of spaceflight. Music and space, it seems, have a deep association, with some pieces becoming permanently connected with space in popular culture.
Some music certainly remains in the collective consciousness: the Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss reminds us of the classic scene in the film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ where a Shuttle docks with an orbiting space station. But the first notes to be heard in space were those of some Hawaiian music broadcast to the crew of Gemini 7 in December 1965.

In the late 1960s, the first compact cassette tapes were being taken on Apollo flights. These tapes were loaded with music, but were recorded over as the astronauts used them to store data and observations. Apollo 8 was the first mission to carry such tapes, with songs specially recorded by country and western star Buck Owens.


Space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey

The first Moon landing crew of Apollo 11 famously carried Dvorak’s New World Symphony. By the time Apollo 15 went to the Moon in 1971, tastes had become more varied, with songs by The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, The Moody Blues and, of course, Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly me to the Moon’.

Why do astronauts take music into space? NASA astronaut Steve Robinson said, “It’s one of the most personal things that you’re able to take up in space. Wherever your music is, that’s sort of a version of home.”

Indeed, music has an effect on memories and associations, and there are some notable studies on the positive effects of music on performance, learning and attention. Music can aid relaxation and help the body to release hormones, including oxitocyn which stimulates positive teamwork and empathy.


ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter on Mir

But music also comes in handy for cross-cultural cooperation in space. While preparing for a Shuttle mission to the Mir space station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield knew he would meet up with ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, an accomplished classical guitarist.

Hadfield also knew that an old guitar left on Mir was broken, so he had a new electric guitar modified and made foldable to fit his luggage. United in space, Hadfield and Reiter were able to sing pop songs and Russian folk ballads.

Music has the power to inspire, and it can convey emotions often much better than written words. Hadfield said, “There are certain stanzas of music, certain harmonies, certain lyrics, which sometimes just send a warm rush up your backbone. And you get that almost continuously up there.”


Expedition 30’s Dan Burbank with guitar

As the current ESA astronaut on the ISS, André Kuipers feels the same way. He is a big music lover, with wide tastes, from Armin van Buuren to Albinoni, and Vangelis to Vaughan-Williams. For off-duty moments during his busy five-month PromISSe mission, André wanted to get his playlist just right, and spent a lot of time collecting music with the help of his family and friends.

But unlike his mission in 2004, when André carried three Minidiscs with him, or earlier astronauts who took tapes into space, today’s musical choices are transmitted as digital files to the ISS, much like when we download tunes for our laptops or smartphones (for those who can play, there is also a keyboard installed on the ISS).


Marillion’s Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery visit ESTEC

Music can be both very personal and yet connect many people so, just as André’s playlist is personal to him, it also has the potential for other people to take inspiration from those same songs. André has agreed to let us see his playlist, helping us to share his experience on the ISS and adding another dimension to our imagination.

Adding to this celebration of music in space, several bands and artists sent greetings when they found out that André was a fan of their music, including the UK band rock band Marillion, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Dutch household names Fluitsma and Van Tijn and guitarist Harry Sacksioni.

Because of his great interest in music, André also appeared on the popular Dutch national Radio 2 Top 2000 music programme on Christmas Day, heard by a record 11.2 million listeners of all ages. The featured Top2000 songs are also included his playlist.

You can download the full list of André’s music at: Playlist[web].pdf

To see André’s tune of the day, check out his daily logbook at:

If you want to write or dedicate a song to André, or suggest more songs for his playlist, drop us a line at:

ESA Watch online: launch of André Kuipers

Launch vehicle transfer for the PromISSe Mission
Launch vehicle transfer for the PromISSe Mission

20 December 2011
Join us for the launch of ESA astronaut André Kuipers to the International Space Station on 21 December, together with NASA astronaut Don Petit and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. The Soyuz TMA launch is planned for 14:16 CET (13:16 GMT) from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Streaming starts at 13:30 CET (12:30 GMT).

Watch online

Norah Jones and ‘Arthur Christmas’ Promote NASA Spinoff Technology

Much of the technology we rely on daily was developed by NASA for space exploration and then adapted or enhanced for use here on Earth. This includes many technologies used in schools, homes, cars, computers and industry. Singer Norah Jones and NASA Astronaut Piers Sellers talk about how some of the agency’s outstanding accomplishments in space are used to improve our life on Earth in a new public service announcement available on NASA’s website.


The duo concentrate on NASA technology that increases production and use of clean energy, fuel efficiency, reduction of carbon footprints, and the study and understanding of climate change.

Also, this year in the holiday movie release “Arthur Christmas,” Santa’s North Pole turns to technology to deliver billions of gifts around the world. Run by thousands of computer-savvy elves, the North Pole uses NASA-style technology to track gifts being delivered by Santa’s high-speed S-1, a giant spacecraft in the shape of a sleigh.


“NASA provides industry and innovators with opportunities to bring technology initially developed for space to consumers around the world,” said Daniel Lockney, program executive for technology transfer at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Hundreds of examples of NASA spinoff technologies and innovations adapted for use in our everyday lives appear on NASA’s Spinoff website at:

NASA’s Spinoff website:

For more information about the Smithsonian Network, visit: