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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Astronaut candidate Greg Kennedy has Fort Worth ties

Greg Kennedy is the latest citizen astronaut candidate. Photo courtesy of Citizens in Space   A. Lee Graham Reporter   Greg Kennedy, director of education at NASTAR Center and founding director of the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum in Fort Worth, has been named a citizen astronaut candidate.   Kennedy was chosen as the fifth such candidate by Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy. He joins four other citizen-astronaut candidates training to fly as payload operators on the Lynx spacecraft, currently under construction by XCOR Aerospace in Mojave, Calif.   XCOR expects to begin Lynx test flights later this year.   “We are pleased to welcome Greg to our astronaut group,” said Edward Wright, citizen-astronaut candidate and project manager for Citizens in Space, commenting in a news release.   “His experience and skills will help to strengthen our program and expand our outreach in new directions,” Wright said.   Kennedy’s employer, NASTAR Center, provides spaceflight training for commercial vehicles, in Southampton, Pa.   Not only was Kennedy founding director of the aforementioned Fort Worth museum, but he also served director of the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas; associate curator for manned spaceflight at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.; and executive director of the Space Center in Alamogordo, N.M.   “I am proud to join this program, which is providing everyday citizens with ground-breaking opportunities to participate in space science and space exploration,” Kennedy said.   Kennedy is a aerospace historian whose books include Touching Space: The Story of Project Manhigh, Apollo to the Moon, The First Men in Space; Rockets and Missiles of White Sands Proving Ground, and Vengeance Weapon Two: Germany’s V-2 Rocket. He was also a co-author of The Space Shuttle Operator’s Manual and Rockets, Missiles, and Spacecraft of the National Air and Space Museum.   Citizens in Space was originally known as  “Teachers in Space.” Lt. Col. Steve Heck, a retired Air Force pilot and science teacher from Milford, Ohio was one of the first astronaut candidates to be recruited.   Citizens in Space has purchased 10 flights on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft. To fill those flights, the group is seeking 100 citizen-science experiments and 10 citizen astronauts to fly as payload operators.   Current citizen-astronaut candidates include Maureen Adams, an elementary-school teacher and principle from Killeen, Texas; Michael Johnson, an aviation instructor from Dallas; Lt. Col. Steve Heck (USAF-ret.), and Edward Wright. More information is available at www.citizensinspace.org.   lgraham@bizpress.net

 

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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