Show thumbnails

Show captions

Last slideNext slide

CAPE CANAVERAL – Both were from small cities in Central America that were destined for great things.

Janet Kavandi recalls how she looked out of rural Missouri into the night sky, where the Milky Way would be fully used. James Buchli returned from a 13-month Vietnam tour to a sub-cooling winter in North Dakota.

Together, they would uproot and fly more than 20 million miles in orbit, traversing Earth hundreds of times each. Buchli flew four shuttle missions between 1985 and 1991. Kavandi flew three between 1998 and 2001.

The two longtime Space Shuttle astronauts were inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame on Saturday as part of Space Explorer's 18th Class. Only 99 astronauts were ever introduced.


Veteran shuttle astronauts James Buchli and Janet Kavandi are inducted into the 2019 American Astronaut Hall of Fame class at ceremonies at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Craig Bailey, Wochit

Kavandi, a scientist with several advanced degrees, could radiate a touch of calm academy – at least that's what astronaut Steve Lindsey thought as he thought of it met.

More: Space 101: A Beginner's Guide to Cape Canaveral Launches

More: SpaceX test burns at KSC with pavement The Way to Start Next Week

Until they were on the shuttle, where the crew was commissioned to test a new space toilet.

"Suddenly something long and brown approaches us." Under the curtain in front of the toilet, Lindsey recalled. He watched with horror and disgust until he saw Kavandi in the corner, holding a camcorder and laughing.

A space filled with the country's brightest and bravest astronauts was crushed during the anecdote, but for Kavandi, practical jokes of space science ranked second. 19659057] Among her proudest contributions are the topography shots, some of which are still used in navigation apps today. On a larger scale, she was also involved in the launch of a device called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

"Up there you collect cosmic particles from the beginning of time," she searches for antimatter in space, Kavandi said. "This is one of the most basic experiments we have in space to answer some of the deepest questions about the origins of the universe."

For Buchli it was about both the mission and the science.

"I was very lucky and was blessed to have the opportunity to fly in space," said Buchli. "Our space programs are a big part of the technical machine that drives our nation."

Both astronauts – a scientist and a soldier – came to the shuttle program in various ways, but both gave their families a large share of their success.

Buchli recalled talking with his wife when NASA was looking for the first class of astronauts for the shuttle program and how they had decided together not to miss the unique opportunity. Kavandi remembered how she had come to appreciate her family and her colleagues in the space program all the more as she had lost her own parents early.

"These people are also my family, we treat each other as a family, we tease each other, but we are also there for each other, no matter what," Kavandi said. "In any difficult time, your family will always be there for you."

Read or Share this story: shuttle astronauts -induced-hall-fame / 3386061002 /