Dr. Janet Kavandi shares her experiences in space with Heber High School students

On Friday, Dr. Janet Kavandi spoke to students at Heber Springs High School about her experiences as a NASA astronaut.  Kavandi is currently the Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations for the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Using a video of her experiences, Kavandi gave students a rare look into the process by which astronauts are prepared for their journey into space and what it is like to see our planet from above.  She also related the sorrow she felt at losing fellow astronauts and friends in the tragic Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003. 

Kavandi was born in Springfield, MO and received her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Washington-Seattle in 1990.  Among her list of accomplishments was the experience of working in the International Space Station, most notably as a mission specialist during the final Shuttle-Mir docking mission.  According to her official 2011 NASA biography, Kavandi has ‘logged more than 33 days in space, traveling more than 13.1 million miles in 535 Earth orbits’.

Kavandi’s presentation of her experiences with the shuttle program comes at the end of a long era for the program.  It began in the late 1960’s and came to an end on August 31, 2011.  Her presentation gave students a first person perspective on one of the highlights of American achievements that is now a part of our national past.