This page is dedicated to our chapter’s very own astronaut, Shannon Walker! You can read about her training experiences, time spent in Russia, and much more! We hope you enjoy, and that through her story you are inspired to pursue your own dreams!
Training journal: 2004 – 2005
Shannon’s mother —
“Shannon Walker was chosen for the astronaut candidate
class of 2004. On June 14, 2004 Shannon started her
astronaut training, and these are her stories. As time permitted,
Shannon wrote a week by week description of the training that
she and fellow astronauts underwent. There were eleven
astronauts in the 2004 class — nine men and two women.
Shannon has been a general aviation pilot since 1995.
For all you pilots, if you don’t have time to read anything
else, read Week 13 in the beginning section of her training.
Russia training: 2007
Shannon’s mother —
“In the spring of 2007 Shannon was assigned by NASA to a long duration space flight. This assignment entails a six month stint on the International Space Station and a round trip ride on the Russian Soyuz rocket. Being assigned to a Station flight means that much of her training will be conducted in the countries of the Station’s International Partners, and the majority of the time away from home would be in Star City, Russia. Star City is where the Russian cosmonauts train, and is about 30 miles outside of Moscow.
“Because she would be launching on a Soyuz, she had to undergo the Russian equivalent of the U.S.’s initial astronaut training. Namely, her first year of training would be mostly in Russia learning the systems of the Soyuz and the Russian Segment of the Station. Her training in Russia, of course, is conducted in Russian. So, before she began the formal Russian systems training, NASA sent her to Russian language immersion training. She lived with a host family in Moscow and spent all day, every day, in Russian language lessons.
“This is a link to a page on NASA’s website that will provide some background information on the Soyuz.
The arm patch:
“As the first class selected under the ‘Vision of Space Exploration,’ the members of Class 19 drew upon the same tenants that guide NASA. The perspective of the Earth depicts the partner countries involved in the International Space Station (ISS), where continued research provides the knowledge and experience needed to venture beyond the Earth for extended periods of time. Drawing from our Shuttle support and historical background, the star on Florida represents a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) launch, which transforms into the silver and gold Astronaut symbol. This vehicle will return Astronauts to the Moon, which is pictured just beyond the Earth. With the completed ISS, the CEV, and the return to the Moon, the class selected in 2004 will also contribute to the human exploration of Mars, which is pictured just beyond the Moon. Beyond the planets, fourteen stars, representing the fourteen class members, are arranged into the constellation, Carina, the keel of the Argonaut’s ship. As the Argonauts sailed through unknown waters to accomplish their quest for the ancient-Greek hero, Jason, the Astronauts venture into space for their missions.
“This class is the first to include several educator astronauts, so the open book symbolizes not only this position, but also the foundation education holds in space exploration. On the pages of the book are the Roman numerals that identify this to be the 19th class. The United States flag and Japanese flag depict the two countries from which the class members originate. Completing the patch is the central theme of NASA’s mission, in Latin, which reads: ‘for the sake of exploring, inspiring, and teaching.’
“These are Shannon’s weekly journals of her long duration spaceflight training.”