I'm feeling a little bit wistful about this mission for one rather odd reason. Friends of mine may recall that back in 2003 I applied for the Educator Astronaut program. (Looking back, I see that I didn't really blog about that much, but the four posts I did make are listed at the bottom for anyone who wants to read them.) I made the first cut, but then NASA decided that my medical profile did not meet their standards. (Given my nearsightedness, I can understand that.)
People may see where this is going. In 2004, NASA selected a class of Educator Astronauts, and I was not among them. Five years later, two of those astronauts, Joseph M. Acaba and Richard R. Arnold II, are getting ready to go into space on their first mission, STS-119.
Both of them are extremely qualified to be astronauts, of course. According to their entries on Wikipedia, Acaba studied geology in college and graduate school and served in the Marine reserves, and Arnold studied Environmental Science and worked as an Oceanographic Technician for the United States Naval Academy. Also, both had distinguished careers as teachers before they were selected to be astronauts. To be honest, I'm proud that my former profession is being represented tonight by astronauts such as these two men.
Still, I can't help but imagine that in some other universe, I'm getting ready to go into space myself.
My Educator Astronaut Posts from 2003: