Astronaut - NASA
Astronauts roundtable : Can astronauts challenge time?
Kay Hire is a United States Navy Captain (retired) and NASA Astronaut (retired) with a career span of 38 years. As a graduate of the US Naval Academy and Naval Flight Officer training, she flew more than 3400 hours in a variety of aircraft during missions worldwide. In 1989 Kay began work at NASA Kennedy Space Center as a space shuttle engineer while she continued to serve in the Navy Reserve. In 1991 she earned an MS degree in Space Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology. Once United States combat exclusion laws were modified in 1993, Kay became the first female assigned to a U.S. military combat position, flying P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. Two years later, she reported to NASA Johnson Space Center for training with Astronaut Group 15. Kay flew 711 hours in space as mission specialist on two space shuttle missions, STS-90 Neurolab Research and STS-130 International Space Station construction. As founder and president of Astra Portolan Corporation, Kay now guides individuals and organizations to emerging opportunities.
The countdown starts early. At the beginning of the selection to become an astronaut, or even as soon as the idea of making the trip out of the atmosphere crosses the mind of the candidate. Everything is then linked, step by step, success after success, until the ultimate consecration when the contender is part of the team, the one that brings together extraordinary human beings, ready to follow the training mission for an adventure into space. Many months of intensive preparation, with a meticulously planned program, still separate the future hero from the last seconds of the countdown. The astronaut has to keep making progress every day. A few hours before they take off, the crew are placed into quarantine. On the launching ramp, curled up in their seats, they will be propelled into space within the deadline imposed by the launching procedure. In less than nine minutes, they will travel at an orbital speed of 28,000 km / h and will pass around the Earth 16 times each day. The real mission has just begun. Whether it is to ensure proper operation of the instruments, to repair them, to carry out scientific experiments, to communicate with Earth, to interact with their teammates, to sleep, to eat, the astronauts evolve at a certain pace, a pace which is imposed upon them by the trials of space. Although they are very busy, the return to Earth, close to where their loved ones reside can sometimes seem so far away. At each stage, even during an extravehicular exit or the return trip to Earth: is it possible for astronauts to challenge time?