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Old 01-30-2011, 08:22 AM   #1  
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Default Should He Fly?

I am always very interested in how different people in different professions make decisions of this importance. It says a lot about a person's true character, but fortunately for Mark Kelly, he has the full support of NASA and his family to help him make the best decision.

Knowing only the facts outlined in this article and if this were my husband, I would say for him to go for it.


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From New York Times:

As Rep. Gabrielle Giffords settles into a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, a major question remains for her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly: Will he fly or not?

Kelly, a Navy officer who flew 39 combat missions in the Persian Gulf war, is scheduled to fly the shuttle Endeavour on a two-week mission to the international space station in April.

With his wife at the beginning of a long and arduous rehabilitation program to recover from a gunshot wound to the head, Kelly and his bosses at NASA will have to determine whether he can maintain the training regimen in the weeks leading up to the launching and command the mission.

It would be Kelly's fourth trip to space, but with the shuttle program winding down, giving up this flight would almost certainly mean also giving up his last chance to command a shuttle mission. No shuttle commander has ever been removed so close to a launching.

"We're not there yet," Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokeswoman, said of when Kelly and NASA's leadership would decide.

While working through the decision, NASA has kept its options open by naming a backup commander for the mission, Frederick Sturckow.
"Mark is still the commander," said Peggy Whitson, the chief astronaut, but she said having a backup commander would allow the crew to continue training and Kelly to "focus on his wife's care."

Kelly, who is on leave, said in the NASA announcement of a backup commander that he had recommended the step "to prepare to complete the mission in my absence, if necessary." But he added he was "very hopeful that I will be in a position to rejoin" the crew.

John Logsdon, an emeritus professor of political science and international affairs at the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University, said, "I don't envy them the choice."

"Mark is not irreplaceable for this mission," Logsdon said, "and naming a backup is the prudent thing for NASA to do. There are many highly qualified shuttle commanders. But to lose this opportunity would be personally very hard for him since it would most likely be his last chance to go to space."

Kelly might be able to return to orbit, ferried aloft by a Russian Soyuz, as part of an expedition on the space station, as his brother Scott is now doing. But strapping into the left seat of the shuttle's forward flight deck is the pinnacle of the pilot's calling.

Experienced fighter pilots like Kelly are better equipped than most to deal with personal crises, said N. Wayne Hale Jr., a former director of the shuttle program who left NASA last year. "Folks who are in the business particularly those who came up as military pilots are very good at compartmentalizing the work they have to do in the cockpits of the spacecraft from their personal lives."

As Rep. Gabrielle Giffords settles into a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, a major question remains for her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly: Will he fly or not?

Kelly, a Navy officer who flew 39 combat missions in the Persian Gulf war, is scheduled to fly the shuttle Endeavour on a two-week mission to the international space station in April.

With his wife at the beginning of a long and arduous rehabilitation program to recover from a gunshot wound to the head, Kelly and his bosses at NASA will have to determine whether he can maintain the training regimen in the weeks leading up to the launching and command the mission.

It would be Kelly's fourth trip to space, but with the shuttle program winding down, giving up this flight would almost certainly mean also giving up his last chance to command a shuttle mission. No shuttle commander has ever been removed so close to a launching.

"We're not there yet," Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokeswoman, said of when Kelly and NASA's leadership would decide.

While working through the decision, NASA has kept its options open by naming a backup commander for the mission, Frederick Sturckow.

"Mark is still the commander," said Peggy Whitson, the chief astronaut, but she said having a backup commander would allow the crew to continue training and Kelly to "focus on his wife's care."

Kelly, who is on leave, said in the NASA announcement of a backup commander that he had recommended the step "to prepare to complete the mission in my absence, if necessary." But he added he was "very hopeful that I will be in a position to rejoin" the crew.

John Logsdon, an emeritus professor of political science and international affairs at the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University, said, "I don't envy them the choice."

"Mark is not irreplaceable for this mission," Logsdon said, "and naming a backup is the prudent thing for NASA to do. There are many highly qualified shuttle commanders. But to lose this opportunity would be personally very hard for him since it would most likely be his last chance to go to space."

Kelly might be able to return to orbit, ferried aloft by a Russian Soyuz, as part of an expedition on the space station, as his brother Scott is now doing. But strapping into the left seat of the shuttle's forward flight deck is the pinnacle of the pilot's calling.

Experienced fighter pilots like Kelly are better equipped than most to deal with personal crises, said N. Wayne Hale Jr., a former director of the shuttle program who left NASA last year. "Folks who are in the business particularly those who came up as military pilots are very good at compartmentalizing the work they have to do in the cockpits of the spacecraft from their personal lives."

"We've had commanders who had plenty of personal angst in their lives, and they flew great flights," Hale said. "It really comes down to where he thinks his priorities and his mental state are."

In fact, if Giffords' recovery is on track, she might urge her husband to take on the challenge, said George Abbey, a former director of the Johnson Space Center. "I think Gabrielle would want him to fly," he said.

"She is a great supporter of his career. She would say fly, but I think a lot of it is really going to be up to Mark."
Abbey also suggested the launching might be delayed, as often happens.

"He's going to get more time," Abbey predicted.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:28 AM   #2  
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FLY!! I'm sure that's what she'd tell him.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:07 AM   #3  
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If my wife were shot in the brain/head? Are you freakin kidding? Go fly the shuttle. No, I've got somewhere a hell of a lot more important to be.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:36 AM   #4  
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At the end of ones career, who will be there? Your wife/family or NASA/Military... My wife is way more important to me than flying (even if it were space). Not to mention this will be his FORTH time going up! Really, is one more trip going to make or break, whether you feel accomplished in your career?
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:15 PM   #5  
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Might as well go fly. It's not like he'll be gettin' any for a while.




Sorry...too soon?
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:59 AM   #6  
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Looks like he's decided to launch.

Report: Giffords' husband to fly shuttle mission - Technology & science - Space - msnbc.com
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:45 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busboy View Post
FLY!! I'm sure that's what she'd tell him.
Oh sure that's what she'll say, but she's probably thinking (if he loves me, he'll stay)

Sounds like he's flying, tho. Two weeks in orbit, and a lifetime of being reminded that he volunteered for a mission with her under a doctor's care.
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Old 02-05-2011, 05:25 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crewdawg View Post
My wife is way more important to me than flying...
In the final analysis, it's none of our business.

By the way, is that your wife in your avatar?
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Old 02-05-2011, 06:39 AM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteq View Post
Oh sure that's what she'll say, but she's probably thinking (if he loves me, he'll stay)

Sounds like he's flying, tho. Two weeks in orbit, and a lifetime of being reminded that he volunteered for a mission with her under a doctor's care.
The problem is, it's not just the two weeks, it's all the pre-mission workup stuff. He's going to have focus almost exclusively on that until launch day...don't forget he's already been out of the game for over a month. Those guys normally pend the year prior doing intensive workups.

If it were me, I'd stay...especially with three notches in belt already. It might be different if this was his first mission (and only opportunity with the shuttle retiring).

But they don't have kids, that's a biggy, and they lead a different life than most of the rest of us. Ultimately, their call.
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