We’ve reached the end of the week and that means we are back at it highlighting another awesome astronaut! This week’s featured explorer is Eric Boe, who was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000.
Boe is a veteran of two spaceflights, serving as pilot for both STS-126 and STS-133. These missions add up to over 28 days in space, 453 completed Earth orbits, and 11.3 million miles traveled. In 2018, Boe was selected as one of four veteran NASA astronauts who would train for the Commercial Crew program.
However, he is currently serving as the director of Commercial Crew operations after medical tests disqualified him from the first crewed Boeing Starliner mission.
Let’s look at a few more fun facts about NASA astronaut Eric Boe!
The first lunar landing inspired him to become an astronaut.
During a NASA interview, Boe recalls the moment that stuck with him for years, ultimately inspiring him to become an astronaut.
As a boy he remembered his parents waking him up to witness Neil Armstrong plant the first human footprints on the lunar surface. He adds, “As you get older, you kind of sit back and dream about it.”
See more from that interview below:
He flew aboard the final Discovery mission.
In 2011, Boe flew aboard the 39th and final mission of the shuttle orbiter Discovery.
The flight launched on Feb. 24 and landed on March 9, lasting nearly two weeks. The mission, which was focused on upgrading station systems, included two spacewalks conducted to outfit a truss on the International Space Station.
The flight marked Discovery’s last trip into space and is the last time Boe has flown off-planet to date.
He had an extensive flight career before being selected as an astronaut.
Boe has an impressive flying career. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and retired USAF Colonel, Boe has logged more than 6,000 flight hours in over 50 different aircraft.
What’s more, he flew in 55 combat missions while in Iraq supporting Operation Southern Watch. Prior to his combat experience, Boe was a T-38 instructor in 1991. Years later he would train for space in this aircraft.
Boe’s flight experience doesn’t end there. He is also a member of the Civil Air Patrol, an organization he credits with his first solo flight. Boe even packed his Civil Air Patrol award for space to take the treasured medal aboard Endeavour for his first flight with STS-126.