26 September 1997
News - Other (None)
Ex-astronauts vie for trip to space
As the first few astronauts age, they are requesting space flights for research into ageing
by Patrick Collins
Senator John Glenn's interest in traveling to space again has already sparked controversy as to whether taxpayers should pay or not. It's been argued that research into ageing would justify such a flight.

Now one of his erstwhile colleagues has joined the fray. Senator Harrison Schmidt has suggested that if any of their group is to be reflown for research into the ageing process, one of the astronauts who stayed aboard the first US space station "Skylab" in 1973/74 would be more valuable. This is because more medical data was collected about them than about Glenn, since they stayed in orbit for several months.

Quite apart from the question whether aging research is a good justification, it's surely clear that they'd ALL like to go to space - like most everyone else. But instead of trying to wangle a trip paid for by long-suffering taxpayers, they surely ought to be out there clearing the hurdles to private companies trying to offer space tourism services. Given their high public profiles, a few speeches by these guys giving strong support to these companies could be extremely helpful. Isn't that the "American way"? - SFJ

For more information, write to your favourite ex-astronaut.
Source: Space News, 8-14 September 1997

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Patrick Collins 26 September 1997
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