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Future uncertain for nation's astronauts

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  • Future uncertain for nation's astronauts

    George Zamka has been an astronaut for almost seven years and he still hasn't made it to space. But he's far from alone. Grounded for two years, a third of the nation's nearly 150 astronauts have never flown in space, and some wonder when they will.

    "Part of being at NASA (news - web sites) is very few people get to fly in space," Zamka said. "Everyone else gets their enjoyment by contributing to the space mission."

    The last class of astronauts has already been warned that it's unclear whether any of them will fly during the shuttle era which ends in five years. All face an uncertain future and development of the next-generation space vehicle could take until 2015.

    "They knew very well that they arrived at the sunset of the shuttle and the dawn of the new vehicle and they may be exposed to the gap in between the two," Zamka said of the newest class of astronauts. "For the last classes, there has been an effort made to make sure they are informed as to what the wait may be like. And they come anyway."

    Forty-six of the nation's 142 astronauts have not flown in space; some of them are rookies, others have waited for years.

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  • #2
    I had no clue we had that many astronauts. I thought you only really became an astronaut after you had been to space.


    • #3
      Sad to read that. A waste of unique talents is underway.
      This reminds me of the 2000 movie "Space Cows-Boys" directed by and featuring Clint Eastwood together with James Garner, Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones.
      Thanks for visiting
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