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Astronaut Candidates 2004: | Home | Journals
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Astronaut Candidates 2004
IMAGE: Astronaut candidates navigation training in Maine
NASA astronaut candidates Robert Satcher Jr. (left), Richard Arnold II, Robert Kimbrough and Shannon Walker assemble for a group photo during 2004 ASCAN navigation training in the wilderness of Maine.
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Astronaut Candidates 2004 - Training Journals

Journal #4
August 9 - August 20
, 2004

After completing our T-34 flight syllabus in Pensacola, it was time for many of us to begin or complete moving our families to Houston. For those of you that have moved before, you understand that this is both an exciting and difficult time. You are looking forward to your new adventure, yet sad to leave your friends behind.

We reported to Johnson Space Center (JSC) the following week and were finally together as a whole class for the first time. The training in Pensacola was only for those without previous flight training, so the pilots in our group weren’t there with us. It was great having everyone together and we really enjoyed finally getting the chance to be a complete team!

Part of the first week was a way to introduce us to the rich legacy and the inspiring future of NASA. The past and present were dramatically interwoven at the “Mars Yard” where Joe Kosmo, an engineer who played an integral role in the Apollo missions, gave us a tour of what until very recently was something of sidelight to the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station Programs. The Mars Yard is a simulated Martian surface at JSC where Kosmo’s team of engineers have been using “off the rack technologies” to develop the tools to help us explore Mars. With the new vision for exploration, all of the work he and many others around the world have been doing is suddenly very much in the limelight.

We were also very fortunate to have Captain John Young brief the class on lunar exploration. Given his extensive experience in the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs, one hour didn’t seem like it would be enough. When someone starts a presentation saying, “Here’s Gus (original Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom) and me sitting on top of our rocket….”, one sits up and pays attention! Captain Young talked extensively about the Moon and what a nice environment it is, particularly for working. Since he spent over 20 hours doing just that during his Apollo 16 mission, he would know. Captain Young strongly believes that our survival on this planet and as a species depends on our ability to explore and eventually colonize new planets. His talk gave real meaning to what it means to be the “exploration class.”

- The Astronaut Candidate Class of 2004


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 03/25/2005
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