Richard R. Arnold, educator mission specialist candidate.
Congratulations. Tell me what it was like when you got the news
that you were going to start training as an astronaut.
A: I was in
Florida on a fishing trip with my father. Evidently, the selection
office had trouble tracking me down. I received a rather frantic
cell phone call from my wife saying you have to call Houston. They're
looking to talk to you. And I spoke to Kent Rominger and he offered
me the job, and I've pretty much been smiling ever since.
astronauts have a pretty varied background prior to their coming
to start training as an astronaut. Yours says that you got your
first college degree in accounting.
But then, seven years later, a masters in marine, estuarine,
and environmental science. And then you went off and started teaching
school all around the world.
about how those interests led you here today as an astronaut candidate.
The interest in human
space flight certainly goes back to my childhood, watching the Apollo
missions on the moon. Watching those tapes of the first steps on
the moon is still a thrill. The varied background professionally
and education, I think reflects my love of learning. I think that
extends to my experience teaching in different countries and different
cultures. I think that's going to prepare me well for all the training
and the schooling I have ahead before I become an astronaut.
you're part of the first group of educator astronauts chosen to
come here and train through a program that is designed to generate
a new excitement for the nation's teachers and students in science,
engineering and technology. Tell me how you see yourself and your
fellow educator astronauts inspiring the next generation of explorers.
Well, we had a little
ceremony at my school the day I left Romania. They announced that
I had been selected and that I would be leaving. Judging by the
enthusiasm of both the staff and especially the kids, I think the
energy and enthusiasm is there. I think what the 11 of us will hopefully
be able to provide is that personal connection. I think that's going
to motivate a lot of kids.
and your astronaut classmates should be the people who are on the
missions that will bring the vision of space exploration to life.
folks are the ones who are going to go to the moon and teach us
how to move on from there. What's your philosophy about human beings
moving off into the cosmos? And being such a prominent part of it?
If you look
back at our history, I think it's inevitable. To be able to play
a role in those next tentative steps, that's just a thrill. I'm
thrilled to be a part of it.