Vermont Astronaut: Duane Graveline

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With today’s final Space Shuttle mission a success earlier today, a final chapter in one of NASA’s most epic space endeavours moves on to a new chapter. Over the course of 30 years and one hundred and thirty-five missions (two of which ended disastrously), hundreds of astronauts have served from around the country, on board the shuttle and elsewhere.

Looking at NASA’s history, there’s only been a single astronaut from the State of Vermont: Duane Graveline.

NASA has the following biography of him:

Dr. Graveline entered the United Stated Air Force Medical Service after graduation from medical college and interned at Walter Reed Army Hospital from July 1955 through June 1956. Following internship he attended the primary course in Aviation Medicine, Class 566, at Randolph Air Force Base and was assigned to Kelly Air Force Base as Chief of the Aviation Medicine Service.

Dr. Graveline was granted the aeronautical rating of flight surgeon in February 1957. From September 1957 to June 1958 he attended Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health where he received his Master’s degree in Public Health.

He then attended the Aerospace Medical residency at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, completing his residency training in July 1960 at Brooks Air Force Base and receiving his specialty certification by the American Board in Preventative Medicine. At this time he was assigned to the Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory as research scientist with special interest in prolonged weightlessness deconditioning and countermeasures. In July 1962 he returned to Brooks Air Force Base where he continued his research, directed an analysis team on Soviet bioastronautics and was active as a NASA flight controller for the Mercury and Gemini missions.

Dr. Graveline is the author of fifteen professional publications and reports on biological deconditioning and weightlessness countermeasures. His research has involved bed rest and water immersion to study deconditioning. He did the original research on both the extremity tourniquet and lower body negative pressure techniques for use in prolonged zero gravity missions.

In June 1965, Dr. Graveline was selected with NASA’s fourth group of scientist astronauts and assigned to Williams Air Force Base for jet pilot training. He resigned due to personal reasons and returned to civilian life. Dr. Graveline practiced medicine as a family doctor in Burlington, Vermont during which time he also served as a flight surgeon for the Vermont Army National Guard. Since his retirement at age sixty Dr. Graveline has become a writer of medical and science fiction thrillers with five novels to his credit and a sixth in the works.

While he never went into space, it seems that Mr. Graveline played a key role in some of the background logistics for NASA during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo era flights, serving as a flight controller, but also studied space medicine that at the time, would have been revolutionary as NASA first went into the stars.

His website can be found here.

Winooski Teacher attends Space Program

Alyssa Gagne of Colchester, a teacher at St. Francis XavierSchool in Winooski, participates in Space Acacemy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

via the Burlington Free Press this morning, St. Francis Xavier School teacher Alyssa Gange was awarded a scholarship to attend astronaut training at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where the space program got its legs during the early days of the Cold War. From the Free Press:

The scholarship program was designed to provide teaching techniques for science and math and help teachers move beyond the standard math and science curriculum with supplemental teaching techniques.

Gagne learned about the program from a flier at a teacher’s conference last year, she said. She applied and said the many essays required were a bit challenging. “I must say it was a little rigorous, but I wanted the chance to experience some intensive hands-on learning that would give me a jump start for the new school year.”

The scholarship included tuition for the six-day program, round-trip airfare, meals, accommodation and program materials.

New units on rockets and sunspots, just to name a few, will be in the curriculum for her students this fall, Gagne said.

“I’m a new teacher and still so excited about all of it,” she said. “I thought this program would help me to understand how to bring lessons to life for my students and to get kids motivated about the history of space, but really, this program changed me as a teacher. It was a successful mission.”

Click the link for the full article. Looks like an oustanding, exciting and unforgettable experience. We’re jealous.

Geek Things for April 21

  • Raptor Encounter, 11AM, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Quechee. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 3 and under. (Birds)
  • Talk to the Trainer, 2PM, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Quechee. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 3 and under. (Birds)
  • Chess Club, 7PM, Faith United Methodist Church, South Burlington. $2-3. (Gaming)
  • ECHO Earth Weeks’ MudFest, 10AM–5PM, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Burlington. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 2 and under. (Kids)
  • Open Computer Time, 3–4:30PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Teens)
  • Booked for Lunch – “Reporting Vermont.” 12–1PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Talk)
  • Deborah Thomas – “Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.” 5pm, Special Collections Reading Room, Bailey/Howe Library, UVM, Burlington. Free. (Talk)
  • Polly Mahoney – “Life in the Yukon.” 7PM, Northwoods Stewardship Center, East Charleston. $5. (Talk)
  • Robert Braun – “Investments in Our Future: Exploring Space Through Innovations and Technology.” 11:30pm, Campus Center Theatre, University of Vermont in Burlington. Free. (NASA)
  • ‘Bat Boy: The Musical’, 7PM, Dibden Center for the Arts, Johnson State College, Johnson. $5; free for the JSC community. (Theater)
  • Footprints on the Land: Back to the Land (1960-2000). 1-3pm. Vermont History Museum, $5/$3 members, Pre-reg. 828-2180, Montpelier. (Kids)
  • Crazy Horse: Why the US Army Wanted to Kill Him and Why He Let Them Do It – Thomas Powers, 12-1pm, Kreitzberg Library Multipurpose Room, Norwich University, Free. (Talk)
  • Warmachine / Hordes, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games Gamespace, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • “Is There Courage to Change America’s Diet?”, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Given Carpenter Auditorium E131, UVM, Burlington. (Talk)
  • “Green Gone Wrong: How our Economy is Undermining the Environmental Revolution,” 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Davis Student Center, The Livak Ballroom, UVM, Burlington. (Talk)
  • Miniatures Camp, 9am – Fri, April 22, 3pm, The Gamers Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): Is It Working, 12:30 – 1:30pm, Franklin Environmental Center 103, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • The Progress of Palestinian-Israeli Negotiations: Towards The Rights of Israel: Negotiating the non-Negotiable, 7 – 9pm, Robert A Jones ’59 Conference Room, Middlebury Collete, Middlebury. (Talk)