told an overflow crowd of 100 men, women and teens at the Rockwall Co.
Men's Club breakfast Saturday that not enough people are applying to become NASA's next generation of astronauts and now is the time to apply to go to Mars.
, a veteran of four space-shuttle missions, who became the first person to log over 1,000 hours as a space shuttle pilot/commander, said he
is envious of those who will someday go to Mars.
explained that NASA
is recruiting again and initial applications are as simple as standard civil service applications which one would complete to work at the post office.
Raised on a farm in Ohio, he
added that he
almost sold himself short and didn't apply.
encourages anyone who might want to fly in space someday to apply now.
"Dream big and don't sell yourself short."
Henricks received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the USAF Academy and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University.
has earned numerous accolades, including the Distinguished Flying Cross
, an honorary doctorate from Defiance College and a space in the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame
Although the Constellation space program was cancelled by Pres. Obama, he
expects the program will someday be revived but in a different format.
is currently spending $400 million to drive innovative solutions from private companies," he
explained, such as Rockwall-based Armadillo Aerospace
, which recently won several grants for their work.
"The new Constellation will be the system to take people to the Moon and other planets such as Mars."
doubted any one nation will ever be able to get to Mars on its own and a joint mission between at least two or more nations will be needed.
was accepted into NASA's
astronaut training program in 1985 and was the only astronaut assigned to the Shuttle Program Office during the return-to-flight phase following the Challenger accident.
In addition to his time in space, he held many key technical and management positions at both the Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center.
explained that astronauts do much more than just fly in space.
There are a variety of specialists needed, including officers in science, medicine and many other fields.
qualified to command the shuttle flights because of his
previous experience as an Air Force Top Gun and test pilot, flying over 30 different types of aircraft with over 6,000 hours of flying time, including the F-4 Phantom and f-16 Fighting Falcon.
Asked if he
was ever frightened about flying the shuttle in space, he
definitely was 'very apprehensive" about it - especially the first time.
After all the training is finished for a mission and launch, he
said astronauts spend the three days before lift-off "hanging out," having nightmares and thinking about whether their will is in order.
explained that, once in space, dealing with no gravity is somewhat difficult.
Henricks left government service in 1997 to pursue a career in business.
now resides in Texas.
Tags: NASA, Tom Henricks
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