Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Astronaut William Gregory


...Continued Astronomy Night awesomeness from yesterday, and a further promise to keep it short on the babbling this week. More pictures, more videos, less text! I give you, Shuttle Pilot Gregory!

Astronaut Bill Gregory
Me with astronaut Bill Gregory

I Love A StarMan With Two First Names. That would be USAF Lieutenant Colonel William Gregory, pilot of STS-67 in 1995, the record-breaking mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour.

At the time of the mission, Bill and his crew set a duration record of 16 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while completing 262 orbits and traveling nearly seven million miles.

NASA astronaut William Gregory
Long story short, Bill showed some fun mission videos, narrated a great slide show, spoke at length and then fielded the usual astronautesque questions from surrouding children about what it is like to live and work in weightlessness, and how one trains for those spacey duties.

I think my favorite story was about how it was his job to clean the space toilet. Still want to be a pilot? Not all glamour and glitz, it seems.

On a more serious note, my favorite part is the video clip above, showing a lightning storm Gregory filmed from space! Awesome stuff.

His mission was also the second flight of the ASTRO telescope, which can be seen in one of the slides.

William Gregory STS-167
See the entire collection of photos in the Astronomy Night album on Picasa, which also includes images of a few other scheduled events, as listed on the giant screen behind Bill's head!

And seriously, if you child's school is NOT holding an evening like this at least once per year, find out why. Science Matters.