Television broadcast of Apollo 11 inspired future astronaut


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Astronaut Winston E. Scott, a mission specialist, logged a total of 24 days, 14 hours and 34 minutes in space during his career. He served on two space shuttle missions in 1996 and 1997.

Courtesy of Nasa

I know exactly where I was on July 20, 1969. I was in my parent’s living room, at home from college, following my freshman year.

I was alone watching the grainy black and white TV pictures of Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descending to the lunar surface. My parents were at work and I cannot remember where my brother was.

This event occurred before I ever gave serious thought to pursuing a career in aviation/aerospace and eventually becoming an astronaut! I, at that time, was studying to become a professional musician. I was fascinated by the Moon landing and, I believe, mildly wishing I could do something similar but I gave no serious thought to actually doing it!

It is fascinating where fate often takes us. The seed for space flight must have been planted in my mind because I later studied engineering, became a U.S. Naval Aviator and NASA astronaut completing two space flights.

The Moon landings are arguably the greatest human accomplishments of all time. I am honored to have participated, as a space shuttle astronaut, in two space flights. Likewise, I am excited about the return of American astronauts to space following launch from U S soil.

Unlike that first moon landing, the small steps will be made by many diverse individuals and  the giant leaps for mankind will continue with America leading the exploration of space.

More facts about Winston Scott

Winston Scott served as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions, STS-72 in 1996 and STS-87 in 1997. He logged a total of 24 days, 14 hours and 34 minutes in space, including three spacewalks totaling 19 hours and 26 minutes. From 2003 to 2006, Scott was executive director of the Florida Space Authority, based at Kennedy Space Center. Concurrently, he was a part-time Florida Tech faculty member, teaching aeronautics courses. Scott began his career in the U.S. military. Following Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School, Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California and tactical jet training, Scott was assigned as a fighter pilot to Fighter Squadron Eighty Four flying the F-14 Tomcat fighter. He subsequently served as a test pilot at the Naval Aviation Depot in Jacksonville. He accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flight time and more than 200 shipboard landings. Scott retired from the U.S. Navy as a captain.

He currently is special assistant to the president at the Florida Institute of Technology.