Science/Medicine
4:20 pm
Fri July 8, 2011

Michigan astronaut: "I have many mixed emotions"

The Detroit Free Press profiled Jerry Linenger today, a former mission specialist for the shuttle Discovery, who talked about his mixed emotions regarding today's final shuttle launch.

From the article:

As the space shuttle Atlantis prepares for its final launch, scheduled for this morning, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, one former astronaut from Michigan will watch as the crew of four fly the 135th and final NASA mission.

Jerry Linenger, 56, who was born and raised in Eastpointe and flew aboard two shuttle missions during his career with NASA, said the farewell flight, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station, will be a bittersweet moment as far as he's concerned.

"I have many mixed emotions," explained the resident of Suttons Bay, near Traverse City. "Of course, I'm extremely proud of the progress that NASA has made in the space program through the years, but for any guy who flew in the space shuttle, it's a very sad moment because it means the cancellation of the U.S. manned space flight program for the foreseeable future."

Linenger, who served aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1994 as a mission specialist, also flew a mission aboard shuttle Atlantis to the Russian space station Mir in 1997.

During his nearly five-month stay aboard Mir, Linenger became the first American to conduct a spacewalk from a foreign space station.

Here's footage of today's launch courtesy of Slate.

Read the rest of the profile here.

-Brian Short, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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