Former Astronauts Inducted Into Astronaut Hall of Fame
When Henry "Hank" Hartsfield Jr. landed the Space Shuttle Columbia after its fourth and final test flight on July 4, 1982, he talked to Commander Thomas "Ken" Mattingly about what to say in case the two experienced problems adjusting to the Earth's gravity while meeting Ronald Reagan.
"Ken and I had a discussion beforehand about how we would feel when we landed," Hartsfield said. "We were worried we might fall down when we met the president. I told Ken to say, 'Nice pair of shoes, Mr. President,' if we were to fall down."
Hartsfield, along with Charles Bolden and Brewster Shaw Jr., addressed a standing-room-only audience on May 6 at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Apollo/Saturn V Center in Florida when they were inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Image to left: Former space shuttle commanders Henry "Hank" Hartsfield Jr., Brewster Shaw Jr. and Charles Bolden are all smiles after being inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Credit: NASA/KSC
"I achieved the goals I set out to accomplish and there were some rough spots along the way," Hartsfield said. He encouraged students to set goals for themselves and try their best to achieve them.
"You will never know unless you try," he said. Hartsfield also commanded the maiden flight of Space Shuttle Discovery in 1984 and commanded Challenger on a science mission in 1985.
Shaw told the crowd the nation has another opportunity to return to the moon for longer periods of time, which will help mankind better understand why and how we are here as human beings.
"By the time we get back to the moon, the human spirit will rise all over again, much like during the Apollo and space shuttle era," Shaw said. "It's going to take a long time and it will have to take sustained funding. I hope you will support it when you have the opportunity."
Shaw's first space trip was in 1983 as pilot of Columbia for STS-9, which carried the first Spacelab in its cargo bay. He later commanded Atlantis on STS-61B and Columbia in 1989 on a U.S. Department of Defense mission.
He said his family and the opportunity to participate in the great human adventure of space exploration are the things that give him joy in life.
Image to right: James W. Kennedy, director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, speaks before a standing-room-only crowd at the Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Credit: NASA/KSC
Bolden flew on four space shuttle missions, logging 680 hours in space. He told the audience it is important to motivate children.
"I never dreamed of being an astronaut, never dreamed of flying airplanes, but as opportunities came along in different stages of my life, I was able to take advantage of those opportunities as they came my way," Bolden said. "I challenge you to walk away from here and make a difference in the community you live in."
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center