Space Shuttle Astronauts Gain Fame

Hall to welcome 4 newcomers, including leader of Hubble launch mission
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2008 1:20 PM CST
Space Shuttle Columbia appears in a file photo after a landing at Kennedy Space Center, Tuesday , March 12, 2002, after an 11-day mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Four space shuttle pilots have taken one giant leap toward immortality, NASA announced this week: They'll make up the Astronaut Hal of Fame class of 2008. The inductees, who will be honored at a May ceremony, include the commanders who presided over the initial assembly of the International Space Station and the first mission dedicated to life sciences, reports.

Robert Cabana, who commanded the ISS launch, and Bryan O'Connor, whose mission performed numerous biomedical experiments, will join Loren Shriver, who was among the first crop of shuttle astronauts in 1978, and John Blaha, who once held the American men's record for time in  space. New classes usually include two or three astronauts, but voting was so tight that this year's class was expanded.