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Veteran Space Shuttle Astronauts Selected for 2011 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (January 11, 2011)Karol J. “Bo” Bobko and Susan J. Helms will join an elite group of American space heroes as they are inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® during a ceremony at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Saturday, May 7, 2011. They will be welcomed to the ranks of legendary space pioneers like Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Jim Lovell, Sally Ride and John Young – distinguished members of this unique Hall of Fame.
This is the tenth group of space shuttle astronauts named to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Earlier inductees represent the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs. The addition of Bobko, a shuttle commander who flew two orbiters' first flights; and Helms, a spacewalker who set a world record outside the International Space Station, will bring the number of space explorers enshrined in the Hall of Fame to 79.
During his 19 years in the astronaut program, Karol J. “Bo” Bobko, (Colonel, USAF, Ret.), flew on three space shuttle missions and logged more than 386 hours in space. Bobko served as pilot during the first voyage of space shuttle Challenger aboard STS-6 in April 1983. The crew deployed the first of a new series of communication satellites and conducted the first space shuttle spacewalk. The mission used the first light weight external tank and solid rocket booster castings.
In April 1985, Bobko served as the commander of STS-51D. The mission was to deploy two communication satellites. When one of the satellites (LEASAT-3) malfunctioned, a daring attempt was made to activate the spacecraft which required an additional spacewalk and operation with the shuttle’s robotic arm. After five days in space, Bobko successfully landed space shuttle Discovery in spite of a blown main landing gear tire. In October 1985, Bobko flew on STS-51J, the first flight of space shuttle Atlantis and the second Department of Defense mission for the space shuttle.
Bobko retired from NASA and the U.S. Air Force in 1988. Currently, he serves as President of the U.S. Chapter of the Association of Space Explorers.
Five-time space shuttle astronaut Susan J. Helms, (Major General, USAF), has logged 5,064 hours in space and holds the world record for the longest spacewalk.
In January 1993, Helms launched aboard STS-54 as a mission specialist. The primary objective of this mission was to deploy a $200 million Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-F). The crew also demonstrated the physics principles of everyday toys to elementary school students across the United States.
Her second mission was aboard STS-64 in September 1994 as a flight engineer and the primary Remote Manipulator System (RMS) operator. This flight validated the design and operation of the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE) by gathering data about the Earth’s troposphere and stratosphere.
From June 20 to July 7, 1996, aboard STS-78, Helms was the payload commander and flight engineer on the longest space shuttle mission to date, and the first mission to combine a full microgravity studies agenda and comprehensive life science investigation. Helms flew again aboard STS-101 in May 2000 and performed critical repairs to extend the life of the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) on the International Space Station.
From March to August 2001, Helms lived onboard the International Space Station as a member of the Expedition-2 crew. Helms installed the Quest Joint Airlock to the Unity module using the newly installed Canadarm2. A Soyuz crew visited the station, including the first space tourist. Helms also performed a world record 8 hour and 56 minute spacewalk to install hardware to the external body of the laboratory module.
After a 12-year career with NASA, Helms returned to the U.S. Air Force in July 2002. In 2006, she assumed the duties of Commander of the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base. Helms is currently the Director of Plans and Policy, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
The 2011 inductees were selected by a committee of current Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, historians, and journalists. The process is administered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction year and must be retired at least five years from the NASA astronaut corps. Candidates must be a U.S. citizen, NASA-trained, commander, pilot or mission specialist and must have orbited the earth at least once.
About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens at 9 a.m. Closing times vary by season. The Visitor Complex is open daily except December 25 and certain launch days. Admission includes the Shuttle Launch Experience, Kennedy Space Center Tour, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, all exhibits, and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®. Admission is $41 + tax for adults and $31 + tax for children ages 3-11.  For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit
About the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation participated in creating a venue where space travelers could be remembered – the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which opened in 1990. Today, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation serves as a consultant for the Hall of Fame, which includes supervising the selection of astronauts for enshrinement. The Foundation's mission is to aid the U.S. in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships to exceptional college students pursuing degrees.  To date, the Foundation has awarded $3 million to deserving students nationwide. For more information, call 321-455-7015 or visit