It’s not really why he signed up to be an astronaut, but like it or not, Mike Barratt and his eyes have become a science project.
The eye charts he reads, the red drops that turn his eyes yellow and the ultrasounds being performed on him could determine whether he or any other astronaut ever journeys into deep space or sets foot on other worlds.
When the commander of Atlantis calls, "Wheels stop," upon landing this week, Ray Zink and Billy McClure will be waiting. They will lead the team that will secure the space plane for the final time, marking the end of the U.S. space shuttle program.
Atlantis' journey to the International Space Station will be NASA's 135th and final mission in the space shuttle program, which began 30 years ago. Tune in to CNN's live coverage of the launch Friday, starting at 10 a.m. ET on CNN, CNN.com/Live and the CNN mobile apps. Then check out "CNN Presents: Beyond Atlantis" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.
Houston (CNN) - Christopher Ferguson may have a lot to say when he gets back to Earth, but for now, any poetry he may have, or words of wisdom for the history books, will have to wait for when he and his crew bring the last space shuttle, Atlantis, home.
"I'm working on it, but I'd rather leave it up to a surprise," the flight commander said with a smile.
Atlantis is poised to cap the last mission of the 30-year-old shuttle program. Onboard will be a four-person, veteran crew of astronauts, headed to the International Space Station with a load of supplies.FULL STORY on CNN.com
Editor's note: Atlantis' journey to the International Space Station will be NASA's 135th and final mission in the space shuttle program, which began 30 years ago. Tune in Friday, July 8 at 10 p.m. ET after the final space shuttle launch for "CNN Presents: Beyond Atlantis."
Houston, Texas (CNN) - Days after the 1986 Challenger disaster, Lorna Onizuka's daughter approached her with a strange request.
Darien, 9, had just lost her father, Ellison Onizuka, a mission specialist aboard the ill-fated shuttle.
"She said, 'I want you to die today,' " her mother, Lorna Onizuka recalled. "I was ... stunned, and before I could say anything, she said, 'But you can come alive on Tuesday.' "
Lorna Onizuka asked her daughter why she wanted her to temporarily die.
"And she said, 'Because I need to ask Daddy some things, then he can be dead again and you can come alive,' " she recalled.
Onizuka, now 61, says her daughter's request opened her eyes to "the pain and anguish in children that you cannot fix."
"As parents we're fixers. And you can't fix those things. It's just time," she said.FULL STORY on CNN.com
Atlantis' journey to the International Space Station will be NASA's 135th and final mission in the space shuttle program, which began 30 years ago. Tune in at 8 and 11 p.m. ET Sunday for a documentary on the shuttle program on "CNN Presents: Beyond Atlantis."
There are no roller coasters near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. No Ferris wheels, either.
Yet this desert town could soon be a hot destination for thrill-seekers from around the world.
That's because nearby, within New Mexico's high desert valley, is the future home of Spaceport America - the world's first commercial spaceport.