Today, we continue our video interview series with four-time space shuttle astronaut Kathy Thornton. Thornton became an astronaut in 1985, a pretty good time to get into the lineup. Her first mission was STS-33 in 1989 on Discovery. She flew on Endeavour twice, on STS-49 in 1992 and STS-61 in 1993. Her last flight was on Columbia, for STS-73 in 1995. She was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame last year. She’s on the engineering faculty at the University of Virginia.
When we interviewed Thornton last year, Anna had already talked with Mike Coats (see video HERE), a shuttle astronaut and the Director of Johnson Space Center, but the Lofty duo hadn’t conducted any interviews together. After Discovery’s launch had been scrubbed, we happened upon a bunch of astronauts at the Visitor Complex, but we hadn’t planned ahead. We took a few minutes to prep questions, then dove right in, beginning with Kathy Thornton. You’ll notice our lack of practice in this video: we introduce ourselves but not the astronaut, and it’s a pretty short conversation. Since then, we’ve developed our interviewing skills, and we jumped at opportunities in the News Center. In fact, during subsequent visits to Kennedy Space Center, we could have talked with Michael Barratt (see video HERE) or Mike Massimino (see video HERE) for hours, though that may have as much to do with astronauts’ range of skills as our progress with this Lofty Ambitions project.