The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held on 30 May 2015 started at 2:00 p.m. under the Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Being inducted were, from left to right, Kent Rominger, Rhea Seddon, Steve Lindsey, and John Grunsfeld. Also on hand for the event were a large number of astronauts gong all the way back to the beginning of the Apollo program. Unfortunately, the Atlantis exhibit, while being symbolically appropriate, is not the best place to hold an event like this because oftentimes, especially with the introduction of all the astronauts, what was going on was impossible to see over the crowd which made it very frustrating. The event used to be held in the Astronaut Encounter Auditorium, which is a much better venue that allows the audience to see what is going on at all times. View the 2013 Ceremony in the Auditorium for a comparison.
The astronauts were well hidden away during their autograph event unless one wanted to wait in the long line weaving past the full size model of the Hubble Space Telescope to see them.
A high angle view shows the stage and seating being set up.
Space Shuttle Atlantis overhead provided a poignant reminder to the role all the inductees had in flying multiple Space Shuttle missions. Many of the astronauts being inducted flew on one or more of Atlantis’ 33 missions into space or one of the other Space Shuttles during their accumulated 135 missions flown during the length of the program.
NASA TV carried the event live. Here a Central Florida Boy Scout Troop prepares to present the colors for the singing of the National Anthem while NASA TV cameras look on.
Opening remarks were made by:
Top left: ceremony host and former CNN correspondent John Zarrella
Top right: former astronaut and current Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana (veteran of four Space Shuttle missions: STS-41, STS-53, STS-65, & STS-88)
Bottom left: former astronaut and current NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden (veteran of four Space Shuttle missions: STS-61C, STS-31, STS-45, & STS-60)
Bottom right: former astronaut and current Chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s Board of Directors Dan Brandenstein (veteran of four Space Shuttle missions: STS-8, STS-51G, STS-32, & STS-49)
First to be inducted was John Grunsfeld (veteran of five Space Shuttle missions: STS-67, STS-81, STS-103, STS-109, & STS-125). Grunsfeld flew on three missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope. He holds the distinction of being the last person ever to touch Hubble during a spacewalk on STS-125, which was the last Shuttle mission to work on the telescope in orbit. Pictures show at upper left, Grunsfeld seated while being introduced by former astronaut Steve Hawley (veteran of five Space Shuttle missions: STS-41D, STS-61C, STS-31, STS-82, & STS-93). Grunsfeld currently serves as NASA’s Chief Scientist, which led Hawley to quip, “I’m from headquarters. I’m here to help.” Upper right, Grunsfeld, like all the inductees, made a few remarks after receiving his medal, seen below flanked by Dan Brandenstein and Steve Hawley.
Steve Lindsey (veteran of five Space Shuttle missions: STS-87, STS-95, STS-104, STS-121, & STS-133) and John Grunsfeld share a laugh before Dan Brandenstein presents Lindsey with his medal. Lindsey was introduced by Mike Coats (veteran of three Space Shuttle missions: STS41D, STS-29, & STS-39). Lindsey commanded STS-133, the last flight and 39th flight overall for Space Shuttle Discovery, while Mike Coats served as pilot on Discovery’s first mission, STS-41D.
Kent Rominger (veteran of five Space Shuttle missions: STS-73, STS-80, STS-85, STS-96, & STS-100) shakes hands with John Zarrella while Steve Lindsey and John Grunsfeld look on. Below, Rominger, flanked by Dan Brandenstein and Bob Cabana, receives applause after being given his award. Rominger flew as pilot on three of his missions, and commanded the two others, including the first Space Shuttle mission to dock with the International Space Station, STS-96.
The final inductee, Rhea Seddon (veteran of three Space Shuttle missions: STS-51D, STS-40, & STS-58) is married to Robert “Hoot” Gibson (veteran of five Space Shuttle missions: STS-41B, STS-61C, STS-27, STS-47, & STS-71). Gibson noted that since they never flew a flight together, one always had to play the “astronaut hero” while the other had to play the “astronaut spouse” at various events, which led to many amusing incidents. They also noted they produced the first “astro tot” or child born to an astronaut couple. Seddon was one of the first six women to join the astronaut program and is noted for her medical experiments conducted in space.
A large portion of the crowd were from Seddon’s hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Here Seddon makes a few comments with Atlantis visible overhead.
The 2015 Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees take a final bow. From left, Kent Rominger, Rhea Seddon, Steve Lindsey, and John Grunsfeld.
All the astronauts present joined the inductees for a group photograph.
Almost everybody whipped out their cell phones to take photos of the assembled astronauts as 4:00 p.m. rolled around and the ceremony ended.