The term “astronaut” is derived from the Greek words meaning “space sailor.” This title is reserved for the crew aboard NASA spacecraft bound for orbit and beyond. The Eagle Scouts honored here chose to be astronauts, to fly high, to lift and strengthen the spirits of mankind. These men knew the risks involved in space flight, and while performing their duties as such, gave their lives:
“Columbia” (STS 107 crew and vehicle lost on Re-entry, February 1, 2003.)
Eagle Scout William C. McCool
All of the American men aboard Columbia were involved in Scouting in their youth. David M. Brown earned the rank of Life, Rick D. Husband earned the rank of 2nd Class and Michael P. Anderson was a Webelos Scout. (By the way, McCool was the pilot; but, Husband was the mission's Commander.)
In a strange twist of fate, two Eagles remained aloft -soaring high above in the heavens- as Columbia and her crew attempted their return landing to Earth... Eagle Scout Kenneth D. Bowersox and Eagle Scout Donald R. Pettit had been aboard the International Space Station since November 25, 2002. These two Eagles, along with cosmonaut Nikolai M. Budarin, were scheduled to return to Earth in March of 2003 aboard STS-114, which was postponed, immediately and indefinitely, following Columbia's untimely demise. The three men aboard the ISS were, for all intensive purposes, stranded in space... 162 days after departing for the ISS, Bowersox and Pettit were the first Americans to return ever to Earth via a Soyuz space vehicle.
“Challenger” (STS 51-L crew and vehicle lost on Lift-off, January 28, 1986.)
Eagle Scout Ellison S. Onizuka (Prior Mission: STS-51-C)
Ronald E. McNair, who earned the rank of Star, was also aboard Challenger.
Shuttle Discovery, slated to be NASA's "Return to Flight" vehicle in 2005, was also the first orbiter to fly after the Challenger accident.
“Apollo 1” (Apollo 204 crew lost in Command Module fire, January 27, 1967.)
Eagle Scout (w/ Bronze & Gold Palms) Roger B. Chaffee
The entire crew of the Apollo 1 mission had been Scouts in their youth; Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom earned the rank of Star and Edward H. White II earned the rank of 2nd Class.
Scouting and Space Exploration
According to NASA's own prerequisites, "leadership and good citizenship are required skills to be selected as an astronaut."
Of the 300 current and former U.S. astronauts, there are 180 Boy Scout alumni (40 Eagles!) and 12 Girl Scout alumni.
Of the 12 men to physically walk on the moon, 11 were involved in Scouting.
We don't call ourselves Scouts, Explorers, or Venturers for nothing.
“Man must rise above the Earth –to the top of the atmosphere and beyond– for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.” --Socrates, 500 BC
(C) 2003, 2004 - R.W. Smith, Eagle Scout -- Although this document is copyrighted, I waive any claim thereof. I do request, however, that you reprint and distribute it in it's entirety, without charge.
Last edited by RWSmith
on Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.