Astronaut Leroy Chiao: You in Space

In this weekend’s USA Weekend, this newspaper magazine does a profile cover story on former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao from his childhood in Danville, California to NASA, and now his efforts at Excalibur Almaz space company, in “You in Space“:

“In his astronaut class, at age 29, he exuded confidence, a colleague recalls. “He walked in the door and announced that he wanted to do a space walk,” says former astronaut Don Thomas, a crewmate on Chiao’s first shuttle mission, the 1994 Columbia shuttle. Two shuttle missions later, he had distinguished himself so greatly that NASA asked him to fly with Russian cosmonauts and command a six-month mission on the International Space Station in 2004… The Space Station flight was his last mission. After President Bush signed the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act in December 2004, intended to promote the development of U.S. commercial space flight, Chiao felt the challenge: He decided to move from astronaut to space entrepreneur. “I had done all I could do in a flying career,” he says of his decision to leave the space agency. For Chiao, “the real future of space travel and exploration was in the private sector.”

Nice to see and read about an Asian American who has literally reached the stars. I remember when I was a kid, I did think about wanting to be an astronaut or work on NASA space probes like Voyager I & II, and Pioneer 10. With all the current efforts in private space travel, I would not be surprised that within my own lifetime that commercialized tourist space travel will become relatively affordable!

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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