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Aviation Week & Space Technology

Two Ways To Space And Back - An Astronaut's View (Audio)


Michael Lopez-Alegria has been to orbit four times – three of them in a NASA space shuttle and once on a Russian Soyuz capsule. At the recent International Astronautical Congress in Toronto, the former U.S. Navy test pilot described the differences taking off and landing in the two vehicles. As you will hear, they are very different indeed.

Lopez-Alegria joined NASA for astronaut training in August 1992 and flew as a mission specialist on three shuttle flights – STS-73 on Columbia in 1995; STS-92 on Discovery in 2000, and STS-113 on Endeavour in 2002. On Sept. 18, 2006, he launched on Soyuz TMA-9 for a seven-month stint as the commander of Expedition 14 on the international space station, returning to a landing in Kazakhstan April 21, 2007.

In total Lopez-Alegria spent 257 days, 22 hours and 46 minutes in space, including 67 hours, 40 minutes outside in a spacesuit on 10 spacewalks. Since leaving NASA he has worked as president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and is now in private practice as an aerospace consultant.


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