ORLANDO, Fla. – Two veteran NASA astronauts will go down in history once again as they are inducted Saturday into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
James Buchli and Janet Kavandi are being honored for their demonstration of outstanding accomplishments to further NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery.
Buchli and Kavandi make up the 18th class of space shuttle astronauts to be inducted into the Hall of Fame bringing the total number of astronauts in this prestigious society to 99, according to a media release.
Buchli became an astronaut in 1978 after serving 25 years with the Marines and fighting in the Vietnam War.
He flew on four space shuttle missions and spent more than 21 days in space. He retired from the Astronaut Corps in 1992.
Buchli credits his family for his accomplishments.
"I have been very fortunate and blessed to have been given the opportunity to fly in space, to have been given my wife and my wonderful family, and to live in this great country," Buchli said.
Kavandi became an astronaut in 1994. She flew three shuttle missions and spent more than 35 days in space before retiring in 2008.
She's currently the center director of NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio and is well-known for helping surviving family members of the Columbia accident.
Kavandi said she is grateful to join this special society of space travelers.
"When I think about it family has been the key to everything: my inspiration, my motivation, my support," she said.
As NASA honored the past, Robert Cabana, the center director at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, took a moment to look forward to the future.
"By the end of this year, it is our goal to have crews flying to the International Space Station on U.S. rockets launched from U.S. soil and ending our independence on our international partners with both Boeing and SpaceX. So that's something to really look forward to," Cabana said.