[FPSPACE] Civil astronaut wings

B. Vis bertvis at wxs.nl
Thu Oct 14 11:08:56 EDT 2004

I don't know if these are official wings for the civilian astronauts. But if
not, why not give the three X-15 pilots the gold lapel pin? When astronauts
are selected they get a silver version, once they've flown they get a gold
one. It would give the three recognition from their own agency, and let's
face it: we're talking about just THREE people....


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "CHARLES, JOHN B. (JSC-SL) (NASA)" <john.b.charles at nasa.gov>
To: <bertvis at wxs.nl>; <zirconic1 at earthlink.net>;
<fpspace at friends-partners.org>
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2004 2:43 PM
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Civil astronaut wings

> Does NASA really award astronaut wings?  In the USA, I think only the
> military services and now FAA award "official" astronaut wings.  These are
> then reproduced in the emblems that astronauts wear on their flight suits.
> NASA might incorporate the NASA astronaut "star and comet" lapel pin into
> their wings emblems (and mission patches, etc.) as worn by non-pilot MS
> PS crewmembers but I never thought of those as "official NASA wings"--are
> they?
> JBC via Blackberry
> -----Original Message-----
> From: fpspace-bounces at friends-partners.org
> <fpspace-bounces at friends-partners.org>
> To: DwayneDay <zirconic1 at earthlink.net>; fpspace at friends-partners.org
> <fpspace at friends-partners.org>
> Sent: Wed Oct 13 03:04:08 2004
> Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Civil astronaut wings
> What I'm interested in is to see if the FAA is willing to award their
> astronaut wings to NASA's X-15 pilots Joe Walker, John McKay and Bill
> Although their flights may not have been commercial, they DID fly their
> craft, in the case of Walker even above the FAI boundary of space (100
> Since the military X-15 astronauts got astronaut wings from their branch
> the military, and the three NASA pilots got nothing to the best of my
> knowledge, I think that it would be more than justified, even though in
> cases of Walker and McKay, it would be a posthumous recognition of their
> feat.
> I think that Mirelson's remarks are somewhat remarkable as Walker, McKay
> Dana were not just "sitting in the right seat" but did a lot more flying
> that any mission specialists or, in particular, payload specialists has
> done. Still, NASA has never given them astronaut wings.
> Bert
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "DwayneDay" <zirconic1 at earthlink.net>
> To: <fpspace at friends-partners.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 12:08 AM
> Subject: [FPSPACE] Civil astronaut wings
> > www.nytimes.com
> > October 12, 2004
> >
> > Now Earning Wings, a New Kind of Astronaut
> >
> > fter SpaceShipOne won the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition last
> week, the man who took it into space, Brian Binnie, became the second
> ever to receive a new kind of honor: commercial astronaut wings awarded by
> the Federal Aviation Administration for those who fly more than 50 miles
> above Earth.
> >
> > Michael W. Melvill, who flew the plane on its first two successful
> missions, in June and in September, is the only other person to receive
> pin, which resembles those worn by spacefarers in NASA and the military.
> Only 434 people have left the planet in the four decades of the space age
> and can wear a version of what must be one of the very most enhancing
> accessories.
> >
> > The F.A.A. wings were the brainchild of Michelle S. Murray, an aerospace
> engineer in the aviation agency's Office of Commercial Space
> which regulates businesses that are out of this world, or aim to be.
> >
> > The two pins that have been awarded so far were made to order, according
> to the F.A.A., and new ones will be ordered when, or if, they are needed.
> >
> > The X Prize was conceived to encourage a new role for the private sector
> in human space travel, beginning with space tourism. Burt Rutan, the
> designer of SpaceShipOne, has signed a deal to develop a larger craft for
> Sir Richard Branson, who has announced flights beginning as soon as 2007
> passengers willing to pay $190,000 for what would have to be considered
> ultimate thrill ride: a roller coaster some 60 miles high.
> >
> > Which raises the question: Will the passengers also qualify for
> wings?
> >
> > Afraid not, said Hank Price, a spokesman for the F.A.A. The wings were
> only for the pilot and crew. But how about if the pilot hands off the
> controls to the passenger for a few seconds during the flight? Nice try,
> said. "They'd violate their license."
> >
> > Why, then, does everyone who flies on the space shuttle receive
> wings, even though only two people pilot each mission?
> >
> > For that one, the F.A.A. suggested calling NASA.
> >
> > Robert Mirelson, a NASA spokesman, said that under that agency's rules,
> "the criteria are more for participation than sitting in the right seat."
> >
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