The primary NASA astronauts to launch on board a industrial spacecraft have been offered with america’ highest honor reserved for spaceflight veterans.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who flew on the primary crewed demonstration flight of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft in 2020, obtained the Congressional House Medal of Honor from Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday (Jan. 31). Licensed by Congress in 1969, the medal is offered to astronauts who’re beneficial by the NASA administrator.
“On behalf of President Joe Biden, on behalf of america Congress and on behalf of the folks of america of America … folks you might by no means meet however who will perpetually be impacted due to your work perpetually, it’s my nice honor to award you each the Congressional House Medal of Honor,” stated Vice President Harris.
Associated: SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 astronaut flight in images
On Could 30, 2020, Hurley and Behnken lifted off on the Crew Dragon “Endeavour” atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy House Heart in Florida. The Demo-2 (DM-2) crew’s 64-day mission to the Worldwide House Station was the primary flight underneath NASA’s Industrial Crew Program and SpaceX’s first crewed launch.
The mission was additionally the primary human flight to depart Earth from U.S. soil for the reason that finish of the area shuttle program in 2011, and Endeavour was the primary U.S. crewed spacecraft to splash down from area within the 45 years for the reason that 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Check Undertaking.
“Bob and Doug collectively have written the primary web page of a brand new chapter within the historical past of American spaceflight,” stated Harris. “Via their ingenuity and bravado, they helped rebuild America’s bridge to low Earth orbit and to the Worldwide House Station, the place we conduct a few of our most important and superior scientific analysis.”
Hurley and Behnken are actually the twenty ninth and thirtieth astronauts — out of the greater than 360 Individuals who’ve flown into area — to be awarded the House Medal of Honor and the primary to obtain the excellence in 17 years. Introduced to astronauts who within the efficiency of their duties distinguished themselves by “exceptionalIy meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the nation and of mankind,” the medal was first bestowed in 1978 to 6 Mercury, Gemini and Apollo veterans.
Amongst these inaugural honorees have been Alan Shepard, the primary American to fly into area; John Glenn, the primary American to orbit Earth; Virgil “Gus” Grissom, commander of the ill-fated Apollo 1 crew; Frank Borman, commander on Apollo 8, the primary mission to orbit the moon; Neil Armstrong, the primary individual to stroll on the moon; and Charles “Pete” Conrad, commander of the primary crew to reside on Skylab, the primary U.S. area station.
Later recipients included Jim Lovell, commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission; Thomas Stafford, the U.S. commander of the joint Apollo-Soyuz Check Undertaking; John Younger and Bob Crippen, the crew of first area shuttle mission; Shannon Lucid, who on the time (1996) held the report for the longest spaceflight by a lady; William Shepherd, the primary commander of the Worldwide House Station; and the fallen Apollo 1, STS-51L (area shuttle Challenger) and STS-107 (Columbia) crew members, who died in 1967, 1986 and 2003, respectively.
Chosen to turn out to be astronauts in 2000, each Hurley and Behnken flew on two area shuttle missions earlier than launching on DM-2. Hurley flew as pilot on the ultimate shuttle mission and Behnken served as chief of the astronaut workplace from 2012 to 2015. Hurley left NASA in July 2021, adopted by Behnken 16 months later.
“The braveness, the dedication, the brilliance, the imaginative and prescient, the power to see and perceive what is feasible after which to go for it represents one of the best of who we’re as a nation, and in that means you two encourage all of us,” stated Harris. “You function an actual instance of the facility of the ambition and the aspirations of our nation.”
Hurley and Behnken have been joined on the White Home by their households, together with wives Karen Nyberg and Megan McArthur.
“As lots of you in all probability know, for each Bob and Doug, area is a little bit of a household enterprise,” stated Harris. “Doug’s spouse, Karen, has made a number of journeys to the Worldwide House Station, and Bob’s spouse, Megan, helped restore the Hubble House Telescope.”
“So it seems it takes an entire household to do the sort of work that you just all have executed to permit us to discover the universe,” the vice chairman stated.
The Congressional House Medal of Honor is the third-highest award an astronaut can obtain, underneath the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor and Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s separate from the navy Medal of Honor, which is bestowed for excessive bravery and gallantry in fight.
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