While we were in Florida for the last journey of space shuttle Atlantis, we met up with some astronauts. This experience reminded us of our happenstance interviews of two years earlier, which you can find at “A Year of Lofty Interviews.” Two weeks ago, we posted our follow-up interview with Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke. Today, we share our conversation with shuttle astronaut Norm Thagard.
Thagard flew on four shuttle missions between 1983 and 1995 and spent 115 days on Mir in 1995, for which he crammed to know enough Russian to do his job. According to NASA, Thagard reflected on his Mir experience by saying, “If anyone in 1969 had ever told me that I would wind up having a Lieutenant Colonel in the Russian force as a commander, I would have said, ‘You’re crazy.’” A transcript of his oral history, done by NASA after his retirement, can be found HERE. But first watch our video interview with Thagard to hear whether he thinks we stopped flying the shuttle too soon and whether he thinks we should go to Mars.