Anearly Space Shuttle test pilot and two pioneering spacewalkers have beenselected by a committee of their peers and colleagues to be inducted this Aprilinto the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in Florida.
Announcedlate last week by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which oversees theselection, the 2005 class of inductees are the fourth group of Space Shuttlefliers to be honored with inclusion in the Hall, which opened in 1990, andcounts all Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab astronauts among its 57 members.
The2005 inductees are Joseph Allen, Gordon Fullerton, and Bruce McCandless.
McCandlesswill be forever remembered by an iconic photograph taken of him flying freely -without tethers - over the Earth on mission STS-41B. During that flight, hisfirst, McCandless tested the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), a jet-poweredbackpack that allowed him to float away from the shuttle. Six years later, helaunched to space aboard STS-31 / Discovery to deploy the Hubble SpaceTelescope.
Selectedfor the Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory before transferring to NASA,Fullerton flew two shuttle flights in space and before them, five captive andfree approach and landing tests with the shuttle Enterprise. He piloted thethird flight of the shuttle Columbia, testing the robotic arm, and landing thefirst and only time at White Sands, New Mexico due to wet conditions at EdwardsAir Force Base. Six minutes into Fullerton's second mission STS-51F, which hecommanded, a premature engine shutdown forced the only abort in Space Shuttlehistory on an otherwise routine Spacelab science-focused flight.
Allenflew to space twice, on missions STS-5 in 1982, and STS-51A in 1984. His rookieflight, the shuttle's first operational mission, deployed two satellites. Hissecond mission featured the world's first space salvage. Using the jet backpackfirst tested by McCandless, Allen and his crewmate Dale Gardner captured twomalfunctioning satellites. While Gardner worked to prepare for berthing in thepayload bay, Allen held the half-ton spacecraft steady above the orbiter for 90minutes.
TheAstronaut Scholarship Foundation, joined by more than 25 Hall of Fameastronauts, will honor the inductees at an April 29, gala to be held at theApollo / Saturn V Center in Florida. The following day, the astronauts andpublic will gather at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for an inductionceremony. Among those who are expected to join the festivities are John Glenn,James Lovell and ASF Chairman Owen Garriott.
Ablue-ribbon committee composed of former NASA officials and flight controllers,journalists, and historians as well as the Hall of Fame astronauts selectedthis year's inductees. To be eligible, an individual must be a U.S. citizen andhave been out of the active astronaut corps at least five years. Committeemembers consider not only accomplishments in space, but how candidates contributedto the advancement of space exploration both before and after their missions.
collectSPACEeditor Robert Pearlman was a member of the committee that selected this year'sinductees. This article first appeared on collectSPACE and is published here withpermission.