NASA astronaut and Penn alumnus Garrett Reisman is scheduled to go back into space on May 14 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. This is the final planned mission for Atlantis, before NASA retires its space shuttle fleet to focus on building new technology and rockets. Reisman, ’91 SEAS and Wharton, is one of six crew members expected to be on the flight.
Mission Specialist Reisman says growing up in Parsippany, NJ, he watched his father’s Super 8 movie of the Apollo missions many times, but he didn’t aspire to become an astronaut. “When I got off to college, I started looking at some of the backgrounds of some of the mission specialists here at NASA and it seemed to be not all that far from what I was doing with my life,” he said in a recent interview.
During the 12-day mission, the crew will deliver Russian-made Mini Research Modules to the International Space Station and install a new communications antenna. Reisman and two other mission specialists will perform three spacewalks during the mission, logging a total of 19.5 hours outside the spacecraft.
“We are the payload when we do these scientific investigations,” Reisman says. “I believe that’s inevitable, that in the future we will be living up there, we’ll be living on other planets. To do that you need to find out how the human body reacts and you can’t do that without having a human body up there in space."
This is Reisman’s second trip into space in his 11 years as NASA engineer. His first trip was in 2008.
For more information about Reisman and the mission, visit www.nasa. gov.
Originally published on May 11, 2010