Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today in Space
51-F Launch 1985

19th shuttle flight loaded with astronomy and solar physics experiments. Dr. Henize was a astrophysicist scientist-astronaut and explained during an astronomy lecture I attended that he designed the stars on the patch to be in the position they would be at launch time (in relation to the sun).

He joined NASA in 1967 and waited 18 years for his first flight because his flight Skylab 6 was cancelled. At the time, he held the record for the oldest man in space (later overtaken by Vance Brand, Story, and then of course John Glenn). He still holds the record for oldest rookie in space. STS-51F flew Coke and Pepsi (with modified cans as the Carbonated Beverage Dispenser Evaluation (CBDE) payload) which was deemed a failure, but not entirely due to zero-g... the non refrigerated pop never had a chance.

Dr. Henize was an explorer and oddly enough (with all the Everest books I have been recently reading in the wake of Scott's Summit), he succumbed to HAPE climbing the north face of Mt. Everest in 1993 (in October) days before his 67th birthday. He was buried at 22,000 feet (Advanced Base Camp). Scott Parazynski carried with him to the summit of Everest in May a 51-F patch in honor of Karl Henize.

JSC Press Release on Henize's Death

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