Jews in Space?
Talmud tells us that “God roams over 18,000 worlds,” and
commentators speculate that He roams because there is life
out there. But are there Jews?
Members of the International Kiddush Club should be proud to know that the IKC is on the way to the planet Mars!
The IKC list of Jewish Cosmonauts and Astronauts from the Soviet Union, USA, Israel & Canada
Yuri Gagarin & Boris Volynov
Volynov & Zholobov stamp
Volynov became the first Jew to travel in space when he was the commander of Soyuz 5 in January 1969.
Soyuz 5 was launched on 15 January 1969, crewed by Volynov, Aleksei Yeliseyev, and Yevgeni Khrunov. On 16 January Yeliseyev and Khrunov transferred to Soyuz 4, crewed by Commander Vladimir Shatalov, following an orbital rendezvous and docking. Soyuz 4 undocked from Soyuz 5 the following day and Volynov prepared for a solo re-entry.
Soyuz 5's equipment module failed to separate properly following retrofire due to the misfiring of explosive bolts, and consequently blocked the re-entry heat shield on the base of the descent module. As a result of the added mass of the equipment module, Volynov lost control of Soyuz 5 which began to tumble, finally stabilizing itself with the thinnest part of the spacecraft facing forward. As the assembly entered the atmosphere, the stress and heat on the supporting struts between the modules finally made them burn through and part, allowing the equipment module to fall away and burn up on re-entry. Volynov could only wait while the descent module's automatic orientation system tried to regain control, which fortunately it managed to do with the heat shield facing forward.
Following re-entry, the module's parachutes deployed only partially, and a failure of the soft-landing retrorockets in the base of the descent module caused a hard landing which almost wrecked the module, and broke some of Volynov's teeth.
Volynov was subsequently awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union on January 22, 1969, and the Order of Lenin.
On 6 July 1976 Volynov and Flight Engineer Vitaliy Zholobov were launched on board Soyuz 21 to spend 18 days aboard the space station Salyut 5. Following a deterioration in the health of Zholobov, who was making his first spaceflight, the decision was made to return the crew at the earliest available opportunity and they boarded their Soyuz on 24 August. However, as Volynov tried to undock from Salyut, the latch failed to release properly. As he fired the jets to move the spacecraft away, the docking mechanism jammed, resulting in the Soyuz being undocked but still linked to Salyut. As the two spacecraft moved out of range of ground communications, only the first set of emergency procedures was received. Volynov tried a second time to undock but managed only to slightly loosen the latches. This situation persisted for an entire orbit (90 minutes), then the final set of emergency procedures were received and the latches finally disengaged.
Because Soyuz 21 was returning early, it was outside the normal recovery window, and encountered strong winds as it descended, which caused uneven firing of the retrorockets. It made a hard landing around midnight 200 km southwest of Kokchetav, Kazakhstan. Zholobov's illness was apparently caused by nitric acid fumes leaking from the Salyut's propellant tanks. However, other reports indicate that the crew failed to properly follow their physical exercise program and suffered from lack of sleep.
After resigning from the space programme in 1982, he spent eight years as a senior administrator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre. After 30 years of service in Star City he retired. The story of Volynov’s history in space, and thus his claim to fame, is unfortunately little-known today because it was kept secret until the fall of the USSR. Volynov himself rarely told the story of his space adventures either. In 2006, he visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the first time to tell his stories.
The photo to the left is a section of this photo, with his friend, Yuri Gagarin (not Jewish - but the first man to survive a trip into space)
Judith Resnick in orbit, STS-41
Resnik was the second American woman astronaut, logging 145 hours in orbit. She was a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and had a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland. The IEEE Judith Resnik Award for space engineering is named in her honor.
Resnik was recruited into the astronaut program January 1978 by actress Nichelle Nichols, who was working as a recruiter for NASA. Resnik's first space flight was as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of Discovery, from August to September 1984. She was likewise a mission specialist aboard Challenger for STS-51-L. Resnik was the first American Jewish astronaut to go into space, the first Jewish woman, and only the second Jew to go to space (after Boris Volynov of the Soviet Union, above).
For people accustomed to seeing images of astronauts in space, Dr. Resnik's first space mission still caused some notoriety. Not only was she one of the first women in space, but in weightlessness, she displayed a halo of flowing locks, a startling sight to many viewers who were accustomed to seeing closely cropped men. During the flight, she was acclaimed for her weightless acrobatics and a playful sense of humor, once holding a sign reading "Hi Dad" up to the camera, and displaying a sticker on her flight locker that advertised her crush on actor Tom Selleck.
Following the Challenger disaster, examination of the recovered vehicle cockpit revealed that three of the crew Personal Egress Air Packs were activated: those of Resnik, mission specialist Ellison Onizuka, and pilot Michael J. Smith. The location of Smith's activation switch, on the back side of his seat, means that either Resnik or Onizuka could have activated it for him. This is the only evidence available from the disaster that shows Onizuka and Resnik were alive after the cockpit separated from the vehicle. However, if the cabin had lost pressure, the packs alone would not have sustained the crew during the two minute descent.
Since her death, Resnik has been awarded many posthumous honors. Numerous public buildings and facilities have been named after her, mostly schools and educational facilities, including a dormitory at her alma mater, Carnegie Mellon, and the main engineering lecture hall at the University of Maryland.
The IEEE Judith A. Resnik Award was established in 1986 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is presented annually to an individual or team in recognition of outstanding contributions to space engineering in areas of relevance to the IEEE.
She was also honored by the naming of lunar crater Resnik, located within the Apollo impact basin on the far side of the Moon.
Resnik has been portrayed in numerous works of nonfiction and fiction, including the 1990 made for TV movie Challenger in which Julie Fulton portrayed her.
On February 23, 2010 she was named one of ten finalists to represent Ohio in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Resnik has many streets, schools, community centers, and other structures named for her in numerous locations.
Jeffrey A. Hoffman repairing the Hubble Telescope
In orbit, STS-61
Hoffman left the astronaut program in July 1997 to become NASA's European Representative in Paris, where he served until August 2001. His principle duties were to keep NASA and NASA’s European partners informed about each other’s activities, try to resolve problems in US-European cooperative space projects, search for new areas of US-European space cooperation, and represent NASA in European media. In August 2001, Dr. Hoffman was seconded by NASA to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is a Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is engaged in several research projects using the International Space Station and teaches courses on space operations and design.
DR. Jeffery Hoffmann took a mezuzah with him on flight STS-51-D of the shuttle "Discovery" from 12-19.4.1985. the mezuzah flew approximately 7,000,000 miles. Dr. Hoffman affixed the mezuzah to the entrance of The Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem on 21.3.1993
STS-51-D (April 12, 1985), STS-35 (December 2, 1990), STS-46 (July 31, 1992), STS-61 (December 2, 1993), STS-75 (February 22, 1996)
In 1981, following her parents, Baker joined NASA as a medical officer at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. That same year, she graduated from the Air Force Aerospace Medicine Course at Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. Prior to her selection as an astronaut candidate she served as a physician in the Flight Medicine Clinic at the Johnson Space Center. Selected by NASA in May 1984, Baker became an astronaut in June 1985. Since then, she has had a variety of jobs at NASA in support of the Space Shuttle program and Space Station development.
She was a mission specialist on STS-34 in 1989, STS-50 in 1992, and STS-71 in 1995 and has logged over 686 hours in space. She is Chief of the Astronaut Office Education/Medical Branch.STS-34 (October 18, 1989), STS-50 (June 25, 1992), STS-71 (June 27, 1995)
Marsha Sue Ivins letting her hair up!
Ms. Ivins has been employed at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center since July 1974, and until 1980, was assigned as an engineer, Crew Station Design Branch, working on Orbiter Displays and Controls and Man Machine Engineering. Her major assignment in 1978 was to participate in development of the Orbiter Head-Up Display (HUD). In 1980 she was assigned as a flight engineer on the Shuttle Training Aircraft (Aircraft Operations) and a co-pilot in the NASA administrative aircraft (Gulfstream-1).
Ms. Ivins holds a multi-engine Airline Transport Pilot License with Gulfstream-1 type rating, single engine airplane, land, sea, and glider commercial licenses, and airplane, instrument, and glider flight instructor ratings. She has logged over 5,700 hours in civilian and NASA aircraft.
Ms. Ivins was selected in the NASA Astronaut Class of 1984 as a mission specialist. Her technical assignments to date include: crew support for Orbiter launch and landing operations; review of Orbiter safety and reliability issues; avionics upgrades to the Orbiter cockpit; software verification in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL); Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control; crew representative for Orbiter photographic system and procedures; crew representative for Orbiter flight crew equipment issues; Lead of Astronaut Support Personnel team at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, supporting Space Shuttle launches and landings.
STS-32 (January 9, 1990), STS-46 (July 31, 1992), STS-62 (March 4, 1994), STS-81 (January 12, 1997), STS-98 (February 7, 2001)
Jay Apt in orbit, STS-79
In orbit repairs
In 1991, Apt flew aboard shuttle Atlantis where he made two spacewalks, where, along with Jerry Ross, he manually deployed the Gamma Ray Observatory's radio antenna when it failed to do so automatically; on the next day their second spacewalk tested hardware later used on the International Space Station. In 1992, he flew aboard shuttle Endeavour as the flight engineer, and commander of one of the two shifts in this round-the-clock mission. In 1994, Apt was again a shift commander of the first Space Radar Laboratory mission. This lab studied the Earth. In 1996, Apt flew aboard shuttle Atlantis and visited the Russian Mir space station.
He is the author of the book Orbit: NASA Astronauts Photograph the Earth, published by the National Geographic Society, as well as of a large number of technical scientific publications. He received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1997 and the Metcalf Lifetime Achievement Award for significant contributions to engineering in 2002. His paper with PhD student Adam Newcomer, "Near term implications of a ban on new coal-fired power plants in the US" was cited as one of the top environmental policy papers of 2009 by the American Chemical Society.
STS-58 (October 18, 1993), STS-86/89 (September 25, 1997), STS-112 (October 7, 2002), STS-127 (July 15, 2009)
David Wolf aboard MIR space station
David Wolf walking in space
David Wolf walking in space
He was responsible for engineering development and spacecraft avionics integration of the American Flight Echocardiograph for investigating cardiovascular physiology in microgravity. Upon completion he was assigned as chief engineer for design of the Space Station medical facility, directly responsible for multidisciplinary team management, requirements definition, system design, spacecraft systems integration, project schedule, functional and safety verification, and budgetary authority. Dave Wolf was selected by NASA as a candidate in 1990. He completed 18 months of training before being qualified for flight. He was assigned to Kennedy Space Center in Florida where he was involved in Orbiter vehicle processing and testing and as a Capcom. He is expert in Extravehicular Activity (Spacewalk), Spacesuit design, and Rendezvous navigation. Some of his other qualifications include Robotic Manipulator System (Robot Arm) operations, On-orbit systems repair, computer networking, and as Shuttle re-entry flight deck engineer.
During his training for a Mir expedition, he lived and trained in Star City, Russia at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Dr. Wolf became fluent in Russian, as all of his training there was in Russian.
David Wolf spent 128 days aboard space station Mir. He conducted a number of experiments and studies including, advanced microgravity tissue engineering techniques, electromagnetic levitation platform capability, colloid behavior, Radio-tracer studies of altered human erythropoetic function, and human microgravity physiology studies. During his stay, there were a number of systems failures including multiple failed spacecraft systems, including atmospheric life support, three total power system failures, loss of attitude control, primary computer system failure, humidity separation system loss. An emergency ingress had to be made during an EVA performed in the Russian Orlan spacesuit due to airlock hatch failure. The entire mission and training were conducted solely in Russian.
While aboard Mir, Wolf became the first American to vote from space, casting a ballot in a 1997 local election.
His flight in 1993 was the first time that there were 2 Jews in space, with Martin Fettman
STS-58 (October 18, 1993), STS-86/89 (September 25, 1997), STS-112 (October 7, 2002), STS-127 (July 15, 2009)
STS 58 Mission Portrait
STS 58 mission patch
Fettman's first faculty appointment was 1982-1986 in the Department of Pathology of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University, as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology whose duties included teaching, research, and clinical service. From 1983 to the present, he has held a joint appointment in the Department of Physiology at Colorado State University and his research and teaching interests have focused on selected aspects of the Pathophysiology of nutritional and metabolic diseases, with emphasis on the physiological biochemistry of energy, electrolyte, and fluid metabolism. In 1986 he was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 1988 assumed the duties of section chief of Clinical Pathology in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University. Fettman spent one year (1989–1990) on sabbatical leave as a Visiting Professor of Medicine at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the University of Adelaide, South Australia, where he worked with the Gastroenterology Unit studying the biochemical epidemiology of human colorectal cancer. He was appointed to the Mark L. Morris Chair in Clinical Nutrition at Colorado State University and received a joint appointment in the Department of Clinical Sciences in 1991, and was promoted to Full Professor of Pathology in 1992. Fettman is a George H. Glover distinguished faculty member of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and was named the 1994 Sigma Xi honored scientist at Colorado State University, the 1994 Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Lecturer at Cornell University, and a Bard College Distinguished Scientist for 1995.
Fettman was selected as a NASA payload specialist candidate in December 1991, as the prime payload specialist for Spacelab Life Sciences-2 in October 1992. He then flew on STS-58 in October 1993. Since the flight, he has made over seventy public appearances representing space life sciences research before higher education, medical, veterinary, and lay organizations, and visited over twenty K-12 schools around the United States and Canada. He is presently a member of the NASA Advisory Council Life and Biomedical Sciences and Applications Advisory Subcommittee.
He has published over 100 research articles in refereed scientific journals.
His flight in 1993 was the first time that there were 2 Jews in space, with David Wolf
STS-58 (October 18, 1993)
John Mace Grunsfeld, STS-125 walk in space
Aboard ISS, STS 109
Grunsfeld was selected by NASA in March 1992 as an astronaut candidate and reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1992. He completed one year of training and qualified for flight selection as a mission specialist. Grunsfeld was initially detailed to the Astronaut Office Mission Development Branch and was assigned as the lead for portable computers for use in space. Following his first flight, he led a team of engineers and computer programmers tasked with defining and producing the crew displays for command and control of the International Space Station (ISS). As part of this activity he directed an effort combining the resources of the Mission Control Center (MCC) Display Team and the Space Station Training Facility. The result was the creation of the Common Display Development Facility (CDDF), responsible for the onboard and MCC displays for the International Space Station, using object-oriented programming techniques. Following his second flight, he was assigned as Chief of the Computer Support Branch in the Astronaut Office supporting Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs and advanced technology development. Following STS-103, he served as Chief of the Extravehicular Activity Branch in the Astronaut Office. Following STS-109, Grunsfeld served as an instructor in the Extravehicular Activity Branch, and worked on the Orbital Space Plane, exploration concepts, and technologies for use beyond low earth orbit in the Advanced Programs Branch. He served as NASA Chief Scientist assigned to NASA Headquarters from 2003 to 2004. In December 2011, he was appointed associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA's headquarters in Washington, replacing Ed Weiler.
Grunsfeld appeared on the PBS NOVA episode "Deadly Ascent", which showed him climbing Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, in June 2000. Grunsfeld, along with Dr. Howard Donner, (a consultant to NASA) conducted research into the effects of body temperature at high altitudes by using internal thermometers swallowed in pill form. He was able to climb to an altitude of 17,200 feet before acute altitude sickness forced him to turn back.
In June 2004, Grunsfeld returned to McKinley while on vacation from NASA and successfully led a team that summitted. He is the only astronaut to have climbed all the way to the top of Mount McKinley.STS-67 (March 2, 1995), STS-81 (January 12, 1997), STS-103 (December 19, 1999), STS-109 (March 1, 2002), STS-125 (May 11, 2009)
STS-105 lifts off
Walking in space, STS 82
Scott Horowitz graduated from Newbury Park High School, Newbury Park, California, in 1974; received a bachelor of science degree in engineering from California State University at Northridge in 1978; a master of science degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1979; and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1982 and worked as a scientist for Lockheed Company where he performed background studies and analyses for experiments related to aerospace technology to validate advanced scientific concepts. In 1983, he graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. From 1984 to 1987, he flew as a T-38 instructor pilot and performed research and development for the Human Resources Laboratory at Williams Air Force Base. The following two years were spent as an operational F-15 Eagle Fighter Pilot in the 22nd Tactical Fighter Squadron stationed at Bitburg Air Base in Germany. In 1990, Scott attended the United States Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was subsequently assigned as a test pilot flying A-7s and T-38s for the 6512th Test Squadron at Edwards. Additionally, from 1985 to 1989, Scott served as an adjunct professor at Embry Riddle University where he conducted graduate level courses in aircraft design, aircraft propulsion and rocket propulsion. In 1991, as a professor for California State University, Fresno, he conducted graduate level courses in mechanical engineering including advanced stability and control.
Horowitz was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1992, and piloted missions STS-75 (1996), STS-82 (1997) and STS-101 (2000). He commanded mission STS-105, a visit to the International Space Station for equipment and crew transfer.
Horowitz has been active in advocating reorienting NASA's focus to human exploration of Mars, with the goals of permanent human outposts and settlements on the red planet. Horowitz is a member of the steering committee of the Mars Society. On one of his space shuttle flights as commander, he had the Mars Society's Martian flag hoisted up a mast out of the space shuttle payload bay, and flew the shuttle under the flag of Mars. He later presented the Martian flag that had flown above the space shuttle to Robert Zubrin at a conference of the Mars Society.
Horowitz retired from the United States Air Force and NASA in October, 2004. He returned to NASA in September, 2005 to become the Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, in charge of the return of America to the Moon during the next decade.
STS-75 (February 22, 1996), STS-82 (February 11, 1997), STS-101 (May 19, 2000), STS-105 (August 10, 2001)
Aboard the ISS
Aboard the space shuttle
Selected by NASA in April 1996, Polansky reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he was initially assigned as a member of the Astronaut Support Personnel team at the Kennedy Space Center, supporting Space Shuttle launches and landings. He served as pilot on STS-98 (2001) and has logged over 309 hours in space. He was next assigned as a CAPCOM. Polansky was Chief of the CAPCOM Branch from April 2002 to December 2002. He served as Chief Instructor Astronaut from April 2003 to January 2004. He has also served as Chief of the Return to Flight and Orbiter Repair Branches. Polansky's last shuttle flight was in the position of "Commander" on Mission STS-127, an assembly flight to the International Space Station.
STS-98 (February 7, 2001), STS-116 (December 9, 2006), STS-127 (July 15, 2009)
Although considered a secular Jew, Ramon reportedly sought to follow Jewish observances while in orbit. In an interview he said, "I feel I am representing all Jews and all Israelis." He was the first spaceflight participant to request kosher food. He reportedly sought advice from a Chabad Lubavitch rabbi, Zvi Konikov, about how to observe the Jewish Sabbath in space, as the period between sunrises in orbit is approximately 90 minutes. This was referenced by the words "Jerusalem we have a problem" in Rabbi Konikov's speech at the Kennedy Space Center Memorial for Columbia on February 7, 2003.
Ramon was the space shuttle payload specialist of STS-107, the fatal mission of Columbia, in which he and six other crew members were killed in the re-entry accident. Ramon is the only foreign recipient of the United States Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Ilan Ramon was a Colonel (Aluf Mishne) and fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, with thousands of hours flying experience. In 1974, he graduated as a fighter pilot from the Israel Air Force (IAF) Flight School. From 1974–76 he participated in A-4 Basic Training and Operations. 1976–80 was spent in Mirage III-C training and operations. In 1980, as one of the IAF's establishment team of the first F-16 Squadron in Israel, he attended the F-16 Training Course at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. From 1981–83, he served as the Deputy Squadron Commander B, F-16 Squadron.
In 1981 he was the youngest pilot taking part in Operation Opera, Israel's strike against Iraq's unfinished Osiraq nuclear reactor. The facility was destroyed, killing ten Iraqi soldiers and one French researcher.
After attending the Tel Aviv University, he served as Deputy Squadron Commander A, 119 Squadron, flying the F-4 Phantom (1988–90). During 1990, he attended the Squadron Commanders Course and between 1990 and 1992, commanded 117 Squadron, flying the F-16. From 1992–94, he was Head of the Aircraft Branch in the Operations Requirement Department. In 1994, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and assigned as Head of the Department of Operational Requirement for Weapon Development and Acquisition. He stayed at this post until 1998. Ramon accumulated over 3,000 flight hours on the A-4, Mirage III-C, and F-4, and over 1,000 flight hours on the F-16.
Ramon was survived by his wife Rona and their four children, who were in Texas at the time of the accident. His eldest son, Captain Asaf Ramon, died on September 13, 2009, aged 21, during a routine training flight while piloting his F-16A, 3 months after graduating from the IAF flight school as the top cadet in his class.
Garrett Erin Reisman self portrait
(note the Yankees logo on his sleeve!)
In the ISS
Reisman was the first Jewish crew member on the International Space Station. He sent a greeting from space to the people of Israel during the celebration of Israel's 60th Independence Day in May 2008. He also did an entertaining, high definition video of "A day in the life of a space station crew member" while on board as well as demonstrating in the large, and at the time empty, Kibo section, that humans cannot "swim" in the microgravity of orbital space.
Reisman was a member of the STS-132 mission that traveled to the International Space Station aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis from May 14 to 26, 2010. He participated in two spacewalks during this mission.
A self-proclaimed member of the "Colbert Universe", Reisman was interviewed live from space on the May 8, 2008 episode of The Colbert Report after being seen wearing a "WristStrong" bracelet. On July 24, 2008, after returning to Earth, Reisman appeared in person on The Colbert Report as that night's featured guest. Reisman presented Stephen Colbert with the WristStrong bracelet he had worn while in space.
Reisman filmed a cameo appearance as a Colonial Marine for the series finale episode of Battlestar Galactica. Space.com reported that his scene, in which "someone throws up on him and then he dies", might not be in the final edit of the episode which aired March 20, 2009.
In the podcast for the final (as aired) episode, producer Ron Moore confirmed that one of the people seen in the background of a scene where a Raptor arms its nuclear payload (shortly before being destroyed) was Reisman.
Reisman was a childhood classmate of actress Jane Krakowski. In May, 2010, Krakowski said on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that she and Reisman exchanged e-mails while he was in space on Space Shuttle Atlantis. At the request of the crew, many of whom were 30 Rock fans, Krakowski provided an autographed script of the show which was brought into space.
When he got to the space station, via the space shuttle Endeavor, he was quick to put up a mezuzah in the bunk where he slept.
"I did not consult any rabbi, so I hope I did not get into any trouble," he says.
STS-123/124 (March 11, 2008), STS-132 (May 14, 2010), ISS Expedition 16 and 17
Gregory Chamitoff, STS-134 EVA
STS-134 EVA3 choreographer
As an undergraduate student at Cal Poly, Chamitoff taught lab courses in circuit design and worked summer internships at Four Phase Systems, Atari Computers, Northern Telecom, and IBM. He developed a self-guided robot for his undergraduate thesis project. While at MIT and Draper Labs (1985–1992), Chamitoff worked on several NASA projects. He performed stability analyses for the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope, designed flight control upgrades for the Space Shuttle autopilot, and worked on the attitude control system for Space Station Freedom. His doctoral thesis developed a new approach for robust intelligent flight control of hypersonic vehicles. From 1993 to 1995, Chamitoff was a visiting professor at the University of Sydney, Australia, where he led a research group in the development of autonomous flight vehicles, and taught courses in flight dynamics and control. He has published numerous papers on aircraft and spacecraft guidance and control, trajectory optimization, and Mars mission design.
He was assigned to Expedition 17 and flew to the International Space Station on STS-124, launching 31 May 2008. He was in space 198 days, joining Expedition 18 after Expedition 17 left the station, and returned to Earth 30 November 2008 on STS-126. Chamitoff served as a mission specialist on the STS-134 mission.
As part of his personal allowance, Chamitoff brought the first bagels into space, 3 bags (18 sesame seed bagels) of Fairmount Bagels with him, from his cousin's bagel bakery.
While Richard Garriott was aboard the ISS at the beginning of Expedition 18, Chamitoff and Garriott filmed the first magic show in space, and along with Yury Lonchakov, Michael Fincke and Richard Garriott, filmed the first science-fiction movie made in space, "Apogee of Fear".
Greg Chamitoff took 2 specially designed mezuzot created by Judaica designer Laura Cowan on Expedition 17. Click here for the story!.
Chamitoff served as a mission specialist on STS-134, the penultimate Space Shuttle mission, during which he made two spacewalks.
STS-124/126 (May 31, 2008), STS-134 (May 16, 2011), ISS Expedition 17 and 18
Battling the Gorn
Kirk's ancestors pioneered the American frontier, and his Midwest roots tied him closely to American history, a lifelong interest. He had an older brother, George Samuel Kirk, although "Sam" and his wife Aurelan died at Deneva in 2267; their one son and Kirk's nephew Peter survived them. As a child of 13, Kirk witnessed the massacre of 4,000 people during a famine by the governor of Tarsus IV, nicknamed Kodos the Executioner.
A romantic at heart, Kirk never formed a lasting, romantic relationship due to his devotion to career - especially during his captaincy of the U.S.S. Enterprise. He did father a son with Dr. Carol Marcus, David, but was asked to avoid his upbringing and did not know he had matured into a scientific genius until 2285-86, when the young man was killed by Klingons on the Genesis planet he'd help to create. Kirk long grieved for the boy's death, and that he had only a few months to know his progeny. He also regretted not having married a woman named Antonia whom he dated for about two years, from 2282 to 2284.
A family friend named Mallory helped gain Kirk entry to Starfleet Academy, and he soon had the rare treat of earning starship duty as a first-year cadet with the brevet rank of ensign while aboard the U.S.S. Republic. There Kirk was close friends with Benjamin Finney, for whose murder Kirk was later tried, but was tormented by an upperclassman, Finnegan. As an older cadet he served as an instructor, where Gary Mitchell was one of his students and later his best friend, saving his life on Dimorus. His heroes included Abraham Lincoln and Captain Garth, whose missions were required reading in class, as were the works of Dr. Roger Korby. Kirk had the distinction of being the only cadet ever to beat the "no-win" Kobayashi Maru scenario; he had secretly reprogrammed the simulation computer, making it possible to win and earning himself a commendation for original thinking.
After graduation, Kirk's first assignment was the U.S.S. Farragut as a newly-promoted lieutenant, a tour distinguished by his command of a survey mission to Tyree's planet Neural in 2254 and his guilt-plagued discovery of the creature dubbed a "cloud vampire" which led to the deaths of his captain and 200 shipmates - although he realized that there was nothing he could have done to save them. Kirk once contracted and recovered from Vegan choriomeningitis, but still carries microorganisms of it in his blood.
Kirk's historically rapid rise to a captaincy and command of a loyal and respectful 430-member crew are reflected in the awards and commendations he had garnered by 2267, including the Palm Leaf of the Axanar Peace Mission, the Grankite Order of Tactics, a Class of Excellence award, the Prantares Ribbon of Commendation, First and Second Class, the Medal of Honor, a Silver Palm with Cluster, the Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry, the Karagite Order of Heroism and several Awards of Valor.
It was on this Enterprise that he assembled a crew and forged friendships with fellow officers who would themselves become Starfleet legends: First Officer and Science Officer Spock, Dr. Leonard McCoy, engineer Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu, Pavel Chekov, Uhura. Even after the end of their five-year mission, it almost became a cliche that only Kirk and his crew could save the Federation from a new crisis - or at least Earth. That is exactly what happened in the case of V'Ger in 2271 and the whale-calling aliens in 2286.
Kirk had accepted a promotion to admiral in charge of fleet operations upon his initial return, but accepted a reduction to captain when he regained command of the Enterprise in 2271 to thwart V'Ger, relieving Will Decker after recommending him for the "center seat." Some 14 years later after another five-year command mission and a return to Academy teaching, he used Spock's cadet ship to thwart a grab by his onetime nemesis Khan Noonian Singh for the experimental Genesis device. That mission in turn set off a chain of events that led to Kirk's reunion with Carol Marcus and his son David, David's death, Spock's sacrifice to save the ship and his storage of his katra in McCoy's mind, and the discovery that Spock's body had regenerated on the Genesis Planet.
Bucking the odds once again, Kirk's loyal officers all risked their careers and lives to steal the Enterprise, retrieve Spock's body for refusion with his katra, and face down a Klingon crew in their way bent on taking Genesis - which included the destruction of Kirk's beloved starship. With the stolen Klingon Bird-of-Prey and Spock on the road to recovery, the officers opted to return to face punishment - but not before time-traveling to retrieve extinct whales to save Earth from an alien probe's onslaught while searching for them. Once again, Kirk was rewarded rather than punished, and given command of the all-new U.S.S. Enterprise-A that year.
Heavily involved with early peace negotiations with the Klingons, Kirk's expose of a terrorist conspriacy trying to sabotage the talks helped bring about greater peace in the galaxy just prior to his retirement from Starfleet in 2293. While aboard for the ceremonial christening of the U.S.S. Enterprise-B, Kirk volunteered to launch a torpedo manually from the underarmed, understaffed ship during an unexpected rescue mission, but was pronounced dead when his section was ripped open by discharges from the Nexus, a temporal energy ribbon, and his body was never recovered. In actuality, he survived that incident by gaining access to the Nexus - and a timeless, perfect life within it for decades. He was finally shaken from endless Nexus fantasies in 2371, when Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D persuaded him to help stop the obsessed El-Aurian, Dr. Tolian Soran, from destroying Veridian III. They stopped the madman's plot, but Kirk was killed in the fight and buried in a plain grave atop a tall butte on the rocky planet.
William Shatner was born in Montreal, Canada in 1931. Shatner's grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Austria, Poland, Hungary, and Ukraine and Shatner was raised in Conservative Judaism. He attended Willingdon Elementary School, in Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG-Montreal) and Baron Byng High School, in Montreal, as well as West Hill High School in NDG. He is an alumnus of the Montreal Children's Theatre. He also attended McGill University in Montreal, where he studied economics and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. In June 2011, McGill awarded him with an honorary doctorate of letters. The Students' Society of McGill University building on McTavish Street is popularly (though not officially) named "Shatner".
Live long and prosper
Leonard Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts in the West End, to Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Iziaslav, Russian Empire (now Ukraine). His father, Max Nimoy, owned a barbershop in the Mattapan section of the city. His mother, Dora Nimoy (nee Spinner), was a homemaker. Nimoy began acting at the age of eight in children's and neighborhood theater. His parents wanted him to attend college and pursue a stable career, or even learn to play the accordion—which, his father advised, Nimoy could always make a living with—but his grandfather encouraged him to become an actor. His first major role was at 17, as Ralphie in an amateur production of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing!. Nimoy took drama classes at Boston College in 1953 but failed to complete his studies, and in the 1970s studied photography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has an MA in Education from Antioch College and an honorary doctorate from Antioch University in Ohio.
Walter Marvin Koenig was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of businessman Isadore Koenig and his wife Sarah (nee Strauss). Koenig's parents were Russian Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union; his family lived in Lithuania when they emigrated, and shortened their surname from "Konigsberg" to "Koenig". Koenig's father was a communist who was investigated by the FBI during the McCarthy era. Koenig attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa with a pre-med major. He transferred to UCLA and received a BA in psychology. After a professor encouraged Koenig to become an actor, he attended the Neighborhood Playhouse with fellow students Dabney Coleman, Christopher Lloyd, and James Caan.
In a press release, the studio's publicity department falsely ascribed the inclusion of Chekov to an article in Pravda that complained about the lack of Russians in Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry asked him to "ham up" his Russian accent to add a note of comic relief to the series. Chekov's accent has been criticized as inauthentic, in particular Koenig's substituting the 'w' sound in place of a 'v' sound (e.g, "wodka" for "vodka"). Koenig has said the accent was inspired by his father, who had the same difficulty with the 'v' sound.
Adama is a native of the planet Caprica, which is where he graduated from the military academy of "The Colonial Service." In a novelization based on an episode of the series, an excerpt from his journal says he served aboard the Battlestar Cerberus in his younger years and named his son Apollo after a friend who died fighting the Cylons.
Adama was married to Ila. The two had a sea-side house on a hill on the planet of Caprica. However, Adama spent most of his married life in space fighting the Cylons, leaving Ila behind on Caprica.
They had three children, the oldest son Apollo (fighter pilot based on the Galactica), a daughter Athena (bridge crew member of the Galactica, fighter pilot, teacher) and a younger son Zac (fighter pilot).
Both his wife Ila and his son Zac were killed in the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies.
Soon after the destruction of the Twelve Colonies Apollo married Serina near the planet Kobol. So Adama became step-grandfather of Boxey. Serina died on Kobol.
Adama considers Starbuck (who is an orphan) as member of his family.
Adama flew with his executive officer Colonel Tigh in their younger days, and later served with Commander Kronus aboard the battlestar Rycon.
As well as being a career military officer, Commander Adama is also a member of the Council Of The Twelve, the governing body of the Colonies. He was as much a politician as a military commander; evidently, the Colonial Service Academy offered courses in political science and diplomacy as well as military training.
From the start, Adama was mistrustful of the Cylons at the time of the Peace Conference to end the Thousand Yahren War. He was the only battlestar commander to keep his ship on battle-stations drill, and as a result, the Galactica was the only battlestar to survive the Cylon sneak attack. (Another battlestar, the Pegasus, was later discovered to have survived, and to have raided Cylon outposts for a year after the destruction of the colonies. However, it appeared in only two episodes before it mysteriously disappeared, its fate ambiguous.) Despite the destruction and great personal loss, Adama was able to organize the survivors in an escape from the Cylons and lead them on the search for Earth. In fact the word Adama means Earth in the Hebrew language.
Adama is a fair and beloved leader, with almost unquestioned authority. He is a deeply religious man, and his visit to the planet Kobol and the Fleet's encounter with the Ship of Lights strengthened his belief that someday Earth would be found.
Lorne Greene was born in Ottawa, Ontario, to Russian Jewish immigrants, Daniel, a shoemaker, and Dora Green (Grinovsky). He was called "Chaim" by his mother, and his name is shown as "Hyman" on his school report cards. In his biography, the author, his daughter Linda Greene Bennett, stated that it was not known when he began using "Lorne", nor when he added an "e" to Green.
Greene was the drama instructor at Camp Arowhon, a summer camp in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada, where he grew his talents.
Greene began acting while attending Queen's University in Kingston, where he also acquired a knack for broadcasting with the Radio Workshop of the university's Drama Guild on the campus radio station CFRC. He gave up on a career in chemical engineering and, upon graduation, found a job as a radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
Greene was assigned as the principal newsreader on the CBC National News. The CBC gave him the nickname "The Voice of Canada"; however, his role in delivering distressing war news in sonorous tones following Canada's entry into World War II in 1939 caused many listeners to call him "The Voice of Doom". During his radio days, Greene invented a stopwatch that ran backwards. It helped radio announcers gauge how much time was left, while speaking. He also narrated documentary films, such as the National Film Board of Canada's Fighting Norway (1943). In 1957 Greene played the prosecutor in Peyton Place.
Actress and theater producer Katharine Cornell cast him twice in her Broadway productions. In 1953, he was cast in The Prescott Proposals. In that same year, she cast him in a verse drama by Christopher Fry, The Dark is Light Enough.
Greene began appearing in isolated episodes on live television in the 1950s. In 1953, he was seen in the title role of a one-hour adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. In 1955 he was Ludwig van Beethoven in an episode of the TV version of You Are There.
The first of his continuing TV roles was as the patriarch Ben Cartwright in the western series Bonanza (1959-1973), making Greene a household name. He garnered the role after his performance as O'Brien in the CBS production of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
In 1973, after the cancellation of Bonanza following a 14-year run, Greene joined Ben Murphy in the ABC crime drama, Griff, about a Los Angeles, California, police officer, Wade "Griff" Griffin, who retires to become a private detective. When Griff failed to gain sufficient ratings and was cancelled after thirteen episodes, Greene thereafter hosted the syndicated nature documentary series Last of the Wild from 1974 to 1975. In the 1977 miniseries Roots, he played the first master of Kunta Kinte, John Reynolds. Through the 1970s, Greene was the spokesman for Alpo Beef Chunks dog food commercials, one of the possible origins of the phrase "Eating your own dog food". In 2007, TV Guide listed Ben Cartwright as the nation's second most popular TV Father (behind Cliff Huxtable).
Greene was also known for his role as Commander Adama, another patriarchal figure, in the science fiction feature film and television series Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979) and Galactica 1980 (1980). Greene's typecasting as a wise father character continued with the 1981 series, Code Red as a Fire Department Fire Chief whose command includes his children as subordinates. Greene also made an appearance with Michael Landon on an episode of Highway to Heaven.
In the 1960s, Greene capitalized on his image as "Pa" Benjamin Cartwright by recording several albums of country-western/folk songs, which Greene performed in a mixture of spoken word and singing. In 1964, Greene had a #1 single on the music charts with his spoken-word ballad, "Ringo" (which referred to the real-life Old West outlaw Johnny Ringo, not about Ringo Starr of the Beatles), and got a lot of play time from, "Saga of the Ponderosa", which detailed the Cartwright founding of the famous ranch. In the 1980s Greene devoted his energies to wildlife and environmental issues. He was the host and narrator of the nature series, Lorne Greene's New Wilderness, a show which promoted environmental awareness. He also appeared in the HBO mockumentary The Canadian Conspiracy, about the supposed subversion of the United States by Canadian-born media personalities. For nearly a decade, Greene co-hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. He is also fondly remembered as the founder of Toronto's Academy of Radio Arts (originally called the Lorne Greene School of Broadcasting).
Greene was married twice, first to Rita Hands of Toronto (1938-1960, divorced). Some reports list the start of their marriage as 1940. They had two children, twins born in 1945, Belinda Susan Bennet (nee Greene) and Charles Greene.
His second wife was Nancy Deale (1961-1987, Greene's death), with whom he had one child, Gillian Dania Greene, born January 6, 1968 in Los Angeles, California.
Greene died in 1987 of complications from pneumonia in Santa Monica, California. He was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City.
Brent Jay Spiner was born February 2, 1949 in Houston, Texas, to Sylvia and Jack Spiner, who owned a furniture store. After his father's death, Spiner was adopted by Sylvia's second husband, Sol Mintz, whose surname he used between 1955 and 1975. Spiner was raised Jewish. He attended Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas. Spiner became active on the Bellaire Speech team, winning the national championship in dramatic interpretation. He attended the University of Houston where he performed in local theatre. Spiner moved to New York City, where he became a stage actor, performing in several Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including The Three Musketeers and Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. He had a nonspeaking background role in the film Stardust Memories as one of the silent Felliniesque "grotesques" on Sandy Bates's train car. Spiner appeared as a media technician in "The Advocates", a second season episode of the Showtime cable series The Paper Chase. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles, where he appeared in several pilots and made-for-TV movies. He played a recurring character on Night Court, Bob Wheeler, patriarch of a rural family. In 1986, he played a condemned soul in "Dead Run", an episode of the short-lived revival of Rod Serling's series The Twilight Zone on CBS. He made two appearances as characters in season 3 (1986) of the situation comedy Mama's Family, playing two different characters. Spiner's first and only starring film role was in Rent Control (1984). In the Cheers episode "Never Love a Goalie, Part II", he played acquitted murder suspect Bill Grand. Spiner also had a role in a Tales from the Darkside episode, "A Case of the Stubborns", as a priest who experiences a crisis of faith. He portrayed Jim Stevens in the made-for-TV movie Manhunt for Claude Dallas.
In 1987, Spiner started his 15-year run portraying Lieutenant Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which spanned seven seasons and four feature films. As a main character, he appeared in all but one of the series' 178 episodes; he was not in the episode "Family". He reprised his role in the spin-off films, Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). Although billed as the final Trek movie for the TNG cast, the ambiguous ending of Star Trek: Nemesis suggested a possible avenue for the return of Data. However, Spiner has opined that he is too old to continue playing the part, as Data embodies a "childlike innocence" that Spiner can no longer credibly exhibit, as his appearance had already begun to lose that quality by the time he filmed his last Trek films. In addition to the series and films he voiced his character in several Star Trek video games, such as Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity, Star Trek: Hidden Evil and Star Trek: Bridge Commander.
We seem to recall information that one of these
space-faring Jews put on tefillin while in orbit, but
can't find any reference to this in our searches. We'd
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