Number Of U.S. Astronauts Are Shrinking

It seems like every little boy’s dream was to become an astronaut when they grew up but not now in the twenty first century. In the last decade there were approximately one hundred forty nine astronauts in the program but now it is down to only sixty astronauts. They are expecting the number to go lower since the last space shuttle voyage ended with Atlantis, which is scheduled to return this week.

Although the International Space Station is going to need crews for at least ten more years, they are not taking any applications at this time. Many of the older astronauts are retiring or moving on to another chapter in their career.

Between the years of 2000-2001 there were shuttles going and coming working the space station. There was also a crew that was being trained to fly on the Columbia to the Hubble Space Telescope. The program is now at the end after a shuttle program of thirty years, a finished space station, and the Columbia is gone.

At this time there are two Americans among six people who are staying on the orbiting lab and they hitch rides to and from the lab on a Russian capsule. In three to five years there are private companies in the United States that are hoping to take over this job taking American astronauts to the lab.

NASA-ULA pact means Atlas V could be next ride for U.S. astronauts
Florida Today, on Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:19:54 -0700

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket could become the next rocket to propel US astronauts into space under an agreement announced today by NASA and United Launch Alliance. / File photo The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket could become the 

 

Party atmosphere reigned in early shuttle landings
Fox News, on Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:15:12 -0700

Once astronauts gained experience in landing, Edwards was demoted to backup in case of rain and clouds in Florida — true even to today as NASA prepares to retire the shuttle fleet after three decades. George Grimshaw, shuttle project manager at the 

 

Atlantis Shuttle’s Final Flight in Space Nears End
eWeek, on Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:11:04 -0700

With his feet secured on a restraint on the space station remote manipulator system’s robotic arm, or Canadarm2, NASA astronaut Ron Garan carries the pump module. The crews of STS-135 and Expedition 28 float on the ISS with a US flag that was flown on