Blogs about astronauts

Official portrait of John Young (Photo NASA)

On January 5 the American astronaut John Young passed away after complications from pneumonia. John Watts Young was born on September 24, 1930 in San Francisco, California, USA. As a NASA astronaut, he took part to the Gemini 3, Gemini 10, Apollo 10, Apollo 16 (spending 3 days on the Moon), STS-1 (the first of the Space Shuttle program with the Columbia), and STS-9 missions.

During his life John Young received various awards and decorations from the Navy, NASA and the American Congress. They show in part his extraordinary contribution to decades of space missions. His passing means the loss of one of the men who have been on the Moon and in general of one of the great pioneers of space travel, a man who thought that the future of the human species was in space.

John Glenn receives from President Barack Obama the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Photo NASA/BILL INGALLS)

Yesterday John Glenn, the first American to make an orbital flight, passed away. He was hospitalized more than a week ago but no information about his health problems were provided. However, a source linked to his family revealed that his condition was grave and his relatives joined him in the hospital.

On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the first American to make an orbital flight on the Friendship 7 spacecraft. Instantly, he became a national hero and was honored with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, which he was given directly by the then US President John F. Kennedy.

When he was still a senator, John Glenn went into space again as part of the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery, launched on October 29, 1998 for the STS-95 9-day mission. Glenn established the record as the oldest human being to have traveled in space as at the time he was 77. During and after the mission, he underwent a series of tests for a geriatric study on the reactions of an elderly person to a space mission.

Alexander Gerst, Maksim Surayev and Gregory Reid Wiseman assisted after landing in the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A few hours ago, astronauts Gregory Reid Wiseman of NASA and Alexander Gerst of ESA and Russian cosmonaut Maksim Surayev returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft, which landed smoothly in Kazakhstan. The three of them spent about six months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on May 28, 2014. Initially, they were part of Expedition 40, in the second half of their stay they were part of Expedition 41 with Maksim Surayev as commander of the Station.

Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Yelena Serova during a press conference before the launch (Photo NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

A few hours ago the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after less than six hours reached the International Space Station carrying the American astronaut Barry Wilmore and the Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Yelena Serova. The Soyuz has used the fast path now normally used. There was a problem with the spacecraft’s solar panels, that didn’t deploy correctly when it reached orbit, but it was solved after docking with the Station so there will be no repercussions.