Jack Ohman

Jack Ohman: NASA, I have the right stuff

NASA has announced that it’s hiring astronauts for the first time since 2011.

The requirements are rather daunting. For example, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering (that’s math), biological science (more math), physical science (math, again), or mathematics (lots and lots of math).

Also, applicants must have at least three years of related work in their field, and it would be useful if you had 1,000 hours of flying a jet (not your toy drone). Preference is given to those with advanced degrees (even more math).

Oh, and you have to be between 5-foot-2 and 6-foot-3. (I’m 5-foot-11. Check!)

When I was growing up in the 1960s, most all of my friends wanted to be astronauts. That was No. 1, followed by Tom Seaver.

I think the reason most of my friends wanted to be astronauts is that they would become famous.

Now, not so much.

The only astronaut I can think of off the top of my head is Capt. Mark Kelly, and he’s retired and married to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

But in the 1960s, everyone knew the names of all the Mercury astronauts: Shepardglenncarpentercooperschirragrissomslayton. One word. Now, they are anonymous. It’s not their fault.

When kids live in an environment where the media culture is breathlessly awaiting the release of the new “Star Wars” movie, and the 2017 release of yet another iteration of the TV show “Star Trek,” why should they care?

But I do.

Now that NASA is hiring, I have thrown together my résumé for consideration:

1960-72: Watched all Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions either on TV or on YouTube. Check out the main engine shutdown on Gemini 6. Cool!

1960-2011: Father was research scientist, and I often spoke to him about science-related topics.

1999: Graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor’s degree in history. (Honors Program) (non-math) (I was only 38!)

1963-2015: Logged over 1,000 hours in commercial aircraft such as Boeing 767, 747, 737, 727 and 707s. Also have many hours in A320 Airbus, MD-80s, DC-10s, L-1011s, DC-9s, Convair 440s and 880s, as well as DC-3s. Received junior flight wings on many occasions, as well as free drinks.

1968-2012: Regular visitor to the National Air and Space Museum. Stood next to Friendship 7 and under Bell X-1. Also have been in the Spruce Goose, twice.

1995-2015: Watched movie “Apollo 13” 27 times, but mostly the last hour.

1971-2015: Owner of various telescopes, such as a J.C. Penney 3-foot refractor, a Meade 10-inch and 12-inch Schmidt Cassegrain, and current owner of a Celestron 8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain. Familiar with many constellations. Saw Pluto in one of my telescopes, for real.

2013-15: Have viewed International Space Station Sacramento flyovers more than 20 times (naked eye and binocular).

1984: Met Gen. Chuck Yeager in Portland as he set a record in a new type of jet. Shook hand that flew Glamorous Glennis. Yeager commented on my youthful appearance.

2014-15: Proud owner of a briefcase owned by my hero Stan Lebar, who was the chief engineer on the Apollo moon camera, given to me by his sons Scott and Mark Lebar.

1968-2015: Uncanny ability to do impressions of moon landing sequences (complete with squelch noises) particularly the last two minutes of the 1969 Eagle landing.

Look. I know the astronaut process is rigorous, but I haven’t even thrown in my cartooning, as well as my high-mediocre fly fishing skill-set. In 2011, when NASA opened up applications, they got 6,300 applicants and hired eight. No cartoonists.

NASA, consider this a formal application.

Or I’ll draw something mean about you.

  Comments