Mercury 13 member Bernice Steadman (b.Bernice Trimble, c.1925 ) died on March 18. Steadman was one of the thirteen women who volunteered, and successfully passed all of the physiological tests performed on the Mercury 7 astronauts. Steadman met her future husband, Robert Steadman, in 1957, when he took flying lessons from her at a flight school she owned. She was the first woman to receive an Airline Transport Rating, and was briefly considered as a candidate to be an astronaut before NASA abandoned the idea of women astronauts.
Sasquan, this year’s Worldcon, has announced the participation of astronaut Kjell Lindgren as a special guest. Dr. Lindgren will be serving on ISS missions 44 and 45 this summer and taking part in Sasquan while on board the International Space Station. While other astronauts have participating in Worldcons (and been Guests of Honor), this is the first time an astronaut has participated remotely from orbit.
NASA has announced that astronaut Scott Kelly will spend a year aboard the International Space Station, the longest any American has spent in space at a single time. Kelly has already spent 180 days in space spread out over 2 shuttle missions and a stint on the ISS which was cut short when his sister-in-law Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Kelly will participate in a study of the effects of space travel on twins with his twin brother, Mark Kelly, also an astronaut, who will remain on Earth. Kelly will join an elite club of four cosmonauts who have spent a year or more in space on a single mission.
For more information…
A possible ammonia leak on the International Space Station caused astronauts to evacuate the American section of the space station. All station personnel successfully made it to the Russian section and the American section was sealed off while a plan to deal with the leak from a cooling system was formulated. Currently there are three Russians, two Americans, and one Italian aboard the station.
Cosmonaut Anatoly Berezovoy (b.1942) died on September 20. Berezovoy served as the first Commander of the Salyut 7, the Soviet Unions last space station, spending more than 200 days in space. He retired as a cosmonaust in 1992 after suffering injuries during an armed robbery, and served as a Deputy President of Russian Space Federation until 1999.
Author Guy Gavriel Kay and astronaut Chris Hadfield are among those listed as recipients of the Order of Canada Honour. Kay is being named a Member of the Order of Canada and Hadfield is being named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Director David Cronenberg, already a member, has been named a Companion to the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada was created in 1967 to celebrate the country’s 100th anniversary and is considered one of the country’s highest civilian honours.
Astronaut Wubbo Ockels (b.1946) died on May 18. Ockels was the first Dutch astronaut, flying on STS-61-A in 1985, the last successful mission of the Challenger. He was seconded to NASA by the European Space Agency for the flight. Ockels served on the SpaceLab 1 crew and has an asteroid named in his honor.
Astronaut Bill Dana (b.1930) died on May 6. Dana served in the Air Force before joining NASA in 1958. From 1960 through 1962, he was a pilot astronaut in the U.S. Air Force X-20 Dyna-Soar program and eventually flew the X-15 into space in 1966 and 1968, although as a pilot he didn’t receive astronaut wings. NASA eventually gave him his wings in 2005. He remained with NASA in various capacities for several years and is not the comedian of the same name who created astronaut character José Jimenez.
Astronaut and author William Pogue (b.1930) died on March 4. Pogue joined NASA in 1966 and served on the support crews for three Apollo missions. He was scheduled to serve as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 19 before the mission was cancelled, instead serving as pilot for Skylab 4, the last Skylab mission. After he left the astronaut corps, Pogue wrote the book How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space? and co-authored the science fiction novel The Trikon Deception with Ben Bova.
Astronaut Dale Gardner (b.1948) died on February 19. Gardner joined NASA in 1978 and made his first flight aboard Challenger flight STS-8. Gardner made a second flight on Discovery mission STS-51-A. He was scheduled to be on the first shuttle launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base before the use of that launch site was cancelled following the Challenger disaster. In 1986, he left NASA to return to the Navy.