SpaceX’s third team has an attack helicopter pilot, a former Air France pilot, a Japanese rocket scientist and an oceanographer
The four veteran astronauts need to reach the International Space Station on Saturday to get a six-month remain, after Friday’s liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
A brief look at each:
— Shane Kimbrough, 53, the flight’s commander, is a retired Army colonel who headed a helicopter platoon during the 1991 Gulf War. His love of space came early: His grandparents lived near Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. He taught math in the U.S. Military Academy and jumped out of airplanes for the Army, prior to going to Houston in 2000 to utilize NASA’s shuttle aircraft. He became an astronaut in 2004, flying on the shuttle at 2008 and found eight decades afterwards in a Russian capsule to the space station he helped construct. He and spouse Robbie have three grown kids.
— Megan McArthur, 49, the pilot, is flying in the same chair as husband Bob Behnken failed during SpaceX’s debut crew launch almost a year ago. This time, he had been the one with their 7-year-old son, Theo, waving goodbye. It’s been 12 years since McArthur last rocketed into orbit, aboard a shuttle on NASA’s final Hubble Space Telescope repair mission. She is excited to see the space station, following two years as an astronaut. Produced in Hawaii but increased around in a Navy family, McArthur conducted graduate research in underwater acoustics in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, directed diving expeditions and tested water equipment. She became an astronaut in 2000.
— Thomas Pesquet, 43, was flying for Air France when the European Space Agency picked him as an astronaut 12 years ago. The son of schoolteachers, Pesquet discovered distance”trendy” while growing up in Normandy, also earned a diploma in spacecraft design. He joined the French Space Agency as an engineer in 2002. 2 decades after, Air France tapped him to get the flight training program. Pesquet started on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the space station in 2016 for a six-month mission. His longtime partner, Anne Mottet, works for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
— Akihiko Hoshide, 52, joined the Western Space Agency out of faculty in 1992 as an engineer, working on the H-II rocket. He made the astronaut cut seven decades afterwards and helped develop Japan’s Kibo laboratory for the space station. He installed Kibo, or Hope, in 2008, launching aboard shuttle Discovery. Hoshide returned to the channel in 2012 for six months, flying from Kazakhstan. He will join Japan’s Soichi Noguchi in the station, until Noguchi departs next week on his own SpaceX ride. “It’ll be really nice to see him — and we have the luxury of hugging in orbit, not enjoy the position on the ground” because of the pandemic, Hoshide explained. He’s married with an 11-year-old son.