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Astronaut Candidates 2004: | Home
Behind the ScenesAstronaut Candidate Class of 2004 Behind the ScenesTrainingSonny Carter Training Facility
Shannon Walker
IMAGE: Astronaut Candidate Shannon Walker
2004 Astronaut Candidate Shannon Walker is an engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Astronaut Candidate Interview:
Shannon Walker

Q: Shannon Walker, mission specialist candidate, congratulations.

A: Thank you.

Tell me what it was like when you got the news that you had been picked to start training as an astronaut.

It was absolutely unbelievable. I grew up in Houston and the space program has always been in my backyard. And ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a part of it and work for the space program, and to be an astronaut. So, when I finally got the call, it was just an amazing thrill.

Well, getting this opportunity is going to be a great way to continue the exploration and travel that you've been doing here on Earth. Tell me about some of those experiences and how you think they've helped make you ready for this opportunity.

Well, I was actually very fortunate to work for the space program my entire career. And one of the things I've done is spend a lot of time over in Moscow. I lived in Moscow, working for the space program with our Russian partners. And since space travel in the future is very much an international effort, working with our international partners just puts me in a much better position to understand what it's going to be like in the future.

You and your astronaut classmates are going to be the people who will be on the missions that bring the vision for space exploration to life. You folks are going to be the ones who are going to go to the moon and teach us how to get ready to move off beyond Earth's orbit. What's your philosophy about the future of humankind moving out into the cosmos, And being one of the first to do it?

Yes, well, I think it's humankind's destiny to move out into the stars. We're taking the small steps now to make that possible, just looking forward to being a part of developing the new generation of vehicles that are going to start taking us there.

You know, of course, that NASA has an important role to play in supporting and promoting education. Tell me what you'd tell young people about how the role of education and science and math, how that plays an important part in the challenging role of space flight.

Well, for any child growing up, I think it's important to dream big and to work hard in school -- because education is the key. And if you're going to be part of the space program, you're going to have to work hard and do well in math and science because that's what the space program needs.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 07/15/2005
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