The Final Frontier. Classmate and former NASA astronaut Brian Duffy will be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 14 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. A public ceremony will be held under the display of the retired space shuttle Atlantis.
"Being selected to be in the Hall of Fame is just absolutely beyond belief," Brian said after being announced as one of this year's inductees. "I am so thankful for being honored for doing what I love, doing what I wanted to do. It is a surprise, but a very welcome surprise for me."
Brian, who was chosen with NASA's 11th astronaut group in 1985, logged more than 40 days in space in the course of flying four missions. On his first two shuttle flights, STS-45 in 1992 and STS-57 in 1993, he served as the pilot of Atlantis and Endeavour on missions to study the effects of the Sun on the Earth's atmosphere and to work on the first commercially-developed Spacelab module.
Brian commanded his second two flights. He led the STS-72 crew on Endeavour to retrieve a Japanese microgravity research spacecraft from orbit in 1996, and then four years later, helmed Discovery for the STS-92 mission to continue assembly of the International Space Station. The latter mission, which delivered and installed a docking port and a segment of the orbital outpost's backbone truss, marked the 100th flight of the shuttle out of the program's eventual 135 total.
Leaving NASA in 2001, Duffy, retired as a colonel, worked on space projects for Lockheed Martin before joining Orbital ATK, where he today serves as vice president and Johnson Space Center manager for exploration systems. He is also the executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, a collaboration between several U.S. aerospace companies.
"I'm very proud of having been part of the past, but it's also great looking forward. The space station is actually the first step in our journey to deep space exploration," said Brian.
To be eligible for consideration, astronauts had to have made their first flight 18 years ago (or earlier), be U.S. citizens trained by NASA for commander, pilot or mission specialist roles, and now be retired from the astronaut corps.
"I'm incredibly honored to be considered among those who inspired me as a child," remarked Brian. "I've watched the human space exploration program since I was seven years old and I remember Alan Shepard launching and thinking how cool it was to get on a rocket. Little did I know that I'd have the opportunity to do the same thing." (This write-up was liberally borrowed from an article published on Space.com, written by Robert Z. Pearlman on February 2, 2016.)
Fifteen Minutes of Fame. Viewers of Bret Baer’s Special Report on April 11th were treated to a clip of Dale Meyerrose explaining that the nation’s system for classifying information is negotiable but not fungible. Many of us have walked on this planet for more than 60 years without using “fungible” in a coherent sentence; Dale used it twice in 20 seconds. That’s probably why he was on national television and we’re ecstatic if we can go more than one day without losing the remote.
Flying With the Jetstream. Paul Kent is living the dream. His daughter, Victoria, got married Dec 12 in what he described as “a great affair” at the Maderas Golf Course in Poway, CA. There was no word on whether Paul and the groom got in a round before or after the ceremony, but it’s had to imagine it earning that lofty description if golf wasn’t involved. Paul noted that he was “allowed” to foot the bill for about 190 family and friends. It was largely a family of affair with his wife, Sheri, planning the event, his 94-year-old Mother was in attendance, and his youngest brother officiated the ceremony. Paul admitted to spending most of the time smiling and crying from happiness. He’s retiring from Delta Airlines on May 31 after almost 32 years of commercial flying, and he has a permit to hike the John Muir Trail starting August 12. His personal assessment is that he’s a very, very lucky person, and it’s had to disagree with him.
Terrazzo Tracks. Rod Hennek is supporting the AOG Board's Finance and Investment committee. The board often enlists graduate subject matter experts to support their work. Kudos to Rod for lending his expertise to the important job of managing the AOG portfolio.
Murray on the Move. Bill Murray reported that he visited classmate, Bob Orwig. Bob was an All-State Champion wrestler in Atlanta, GA and then became an All-American Wrestler at USAFA. In fact, after he graduated from USAFA, as a young lieutenant, he made the Olympic Team and won a medal! He and his wife, Linda, live in Dahlonega, GA, two hours north of Atlanta. He is a PhD and teaches Business Management, Operations, Logistics, and Leadership at North Georgia University. A champion wrestler with a PhD. Is that even legal?
The first ever Class of ‘75 Dark Ages Party in the Dallas metro area was held on February 13th at the Saltgrass Steakhouse in Grapevine, TX. Attendees included Bill Ashcraft, Bruce Edstrom, Dave Ehrhart, Perry Lamy, Bill Murray, Charlie Simmons, and Jamie Blissit, and their much younger looking significant others. The steakhouse’s menu touted a true-blue Texas theme, but it didn’t offer armadillo burritos so its authenticity is still up for debate. Regardless of the restaurant’s real roots, it’s apparent from the picture of the attendees that the Dark Ages are a lot brighter when viewed from a site more than 700 miles southeast of Fairchild Hall.