Memorials to the Columbia Space Shuttle Crew - Rick Husband

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Since 02-04-03

Rick Husband, Formal
Rick Husband, shown here, will serve as the STS-107 Mission Commander on his second flight. He was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994. Most recently, he served as Chief of Safety for the Astronaut Office. Husband flew as pilot on STS-96 in 1999, the first ISS shuttle docking mission, and has logged 235 hours and 13 minutes in space. He will work with the Red Team.

IMG: Husband        
RICK HUSBAND, 45 Commander; Amarillo, Texas

Rick Husband was a devout Christian, a man who wasn’t embarrassed to discuss his faith on national TV. An Air Force colonel and the commander of the Columbia, he said one of the things he was most looking forward to about his second trip to space was learning more about Judaism from Ilan Ramon. Each astronaut was allowed to bring some personal effects on the mission; among the things Husband brought onboard were trinkets from Boys Ranch, a Christian home for at-risk kids located just outside his hometown of Amarillo, Texas.

He was also fiercely determined. He decided he was going to be an astronaut as a child; despite three rejections, he kept applying for the job. When he was finally chosen, he quickly rose to the top. He was the pilot on the first shuttle mission to dock with the International Space Station. Known as a phenomenal airman, he had flown more than 40 types of aircraft; colleagues said he exuded a quiet, almost egoless leadership. Soon after assembling his crew for the Columbia mission, Husband decided he wanted to make a very good crew into one of the best ever. He booked them on an 11-day outdoor survival trip, and in the years since the trip he’s kept in touch with John Kanengieter, the trip’s leader. While in space, he sent Kanengieter an e-mail: “He wrote, ‘I’m so proud of my crew, I could pop.’ He really talked like that.”

Husband, who was married with two children, was also known to break spontaneously into song. He was active in his church choir, but also would sing impromptu parodies and grew up lending his rich baritone to barbershop quartets. But it was his faith that sustained him. “Rick was right with God,” says Tammy Jernigan, who flew with Husband on his previous space trip. “He’s in heaven now.”