ISS Commander Chats With Students

International Space Station Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, really enjoys being an astronaut. But he told students at Sanderson High School in Texas December 8 that, although he’s been an astronaut for a while now and really enjoys it, he really hasn’t spent all that much of his career in space.

“I’ve been an astronaut for 15 years now, and this is only the fourth time I’ve flown in space,” McArthur told the students via the space station’s NA1SS. “So it’s a great job, but there’s much more to it than just being in space.”

But being in space and navigating by floating around in microgravity is “just really neat” he told another questioner. Still, being part of a two-person crew for six months aboard the ISS does put astronauts on the spot, McArthur explained in another reply.
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Quiter Skies

According to recent flight tests involving NASA and corporate industry, new technologies can help silence jet aircraft, both in the passenger cabin and on the ground. The three-week flight test program, called the Quiet Technology Demonstrator 2, confirmed the effectiveness of a number of significant airplane noise reduction concepts.

The tests were a cooperative effort between NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.; The Boeing Company, Seattle; Goodrich Corporation, Charlotte, N.C.; and GE Transportation Aircraft Engines, Cincinnati. All Nippon Airways, Tokyo, Japan provided one of its new 777 airplanes for the test.
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ISS crew sends holiday greetings

ISS crew sends holiday greetings from space: “What a wonderful place to spend Christmas!” That was the word this week from Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, and his crewmate and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev on the International Space Station.

Wearing Santa hats, the astronaut and the cosmonaut extend Christmas and new year’s greetings to everyone on Earth in a video clip available from NASA TV during which they take turns at the microphone In it, McArthur says that this is his favorite time of year, and he regrets not being able to spend it with his family this year.

“As we look down on the earth, especially during this timeof year, it really strikes us how fortunate mankind is to live on such a wonderful, beautiful planet,” McArthur goes on to say during the greeting, which runs about almost four minutes. “And also we realize we have great responsibilities as stewards of this planet.” McArthur and Tokarev will return to Earth in April.


NASA honored veteran astronaut Richard Gordon, Jr., as an Ambassador of Exploration during a ceremony at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. Ambassadors of Exploration help NASA communicate the benefits and excitement of space exploration.

NASA is presenting these prestigious awards to the astronauts who took part in the nation’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs from 1961 to 1972. Gordon was one of the three astronauts on Apollo 12, the second lunar landing mission.

Former NASA astronaut Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, the museum president and CEO, participated in the ceremony. In addition to receiving the Exploration Award plaque, Gordon was presented with a moon rock to recognize the sacrifices and dedication of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts.
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Tomato Seeds in Students’ Hands, After 18 Months in Space

The 400,000 tomato seeds that were brought back to Earth aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on August 9 were in the spotlight, when Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Robert Thirsk, accompanied by 550 students, kicked off the fifth and final year of the Tomatosphere project.

The 2005-2006 season presents a unique opportunity for students across Canada. They will work with seeds that have spent 18 months in the hostile environment of space.
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