Astronaut and Professor Jay Buckey on the Future of NASA and its Human Spaceflight Program
July 20, 2011
In the pre-dawn light on Thursday, July 21, Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., returning to Earth after 13 days in space. When it comes to a halt on the tarmac, so too does the nation’s space shuttle program. Atlantis is on the final flight of the shuttle program, having spent its last two weeks carrying a four-person crew and a cargo of supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station.
Much has been said about what’s next for NASA. For Jay C. Buckey, who was a payload specialist astronaut on the STS-90, Neurolab Mission in 1998, he remains optimistic that NASA will continue to be the inspirational force it’s been from the time he was a young boy watching the moon landings.
Now a professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and an adjunct professor at Thayer School of Engineering, Buckey was one of the thousands who made the pilgrimage to Florida to watch American ingenuity and imagination take flight one last time.