NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center Director Robert D. Cabana joined a distinguished list of American space heroes with his induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, May 3.
With his selection, Cabana joins 69 other honored space explorers, including such pioneers as Alan Shepard, the first American in space; John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth; Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon; and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. Cabana was one of four astronauts inducted this year and was in the seventh group of space shuttle astronauts to be named to the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame members also represent the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz space programs.
"I feel very lucky to have had four outstanding missions, with four outstanding crews, supported by numerous outstanding trainers, mission controllers and shuttle processors" said Cabana. "I'm honored to have this recognition, but I'm more honored to have had the opportunity to work with the finest group of people anywhere for the last 23 years at NASA. Astronauts are very visible, but a very small part of the space program. I wouldn't be receiving this recognition if it wasn't for all the great folks who supported me."
The 2008 inductees were selected by a committee of current Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials and flight directors, historians, journalists and other space authorities. In addition to Cabana, this year's inductees included John Blaha, the third American to live aboard the Russian Mir Space Station; Bryan O'Connor, commander of the first shuttle mission dedicated to life sciences; and Loren Shriver, commander of the mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope.
Cabana piloted Space Shuttle Discovery on missions STS-41 in 1990 and STS-53 in 1992. He commanded Columbia's STS-65 mission in 1994, during which the crew conducted microgravity research experiments that helped pave the way for future operations aboard the International Space Station. In 1998, his final flight was as commander of space shuttle Endeavour on STS-88, the first International Space Station assembly mission.
The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame opened in 1990 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It features a variety of exhibits, including the world's largest collection of astronaut artifacts and memorabilia and realistic astronaut training simulators. It also includes an Astronaut Adventure exhibit, where visitors can engage in an interactive space experience.
For information about Stennis Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis/
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