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#1 Yervant1


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:28 AM


News from Armenia and Diaspora - Noyan Tapan
23-01-2013 00:02:58 | USA |

Many people know that James Bagian is the world's only American
astronaut of Armenian descent. The former doctor, engineer, athlete,
pilot and current Director of the VA National Center for Patient Safety
doesn't have special ties with Armenia, but his fellow Armenians feel
a sense of pride when they hear his last name.

The first time Armenians heard of James Bagian was in 1981. Although
the U.S. and the USSR were in a Cold War, the Soviet and American
governments discussed the possibility of organizing a joint space
shuttle flight as a show of good will. The Soviet astronaut was
29-year old Armenian from Ashtarak, Vladimir Gevorgyan, while the U.S.

astronaut was 29-year old James Bagian from Philadelphia. As a
response to this, the U.S. "Armenian Observer" made a joke and asked
if Gevorgyan and Bagian "were going to speak Armenian in space".

Unfortunately, this project was not implemented. Despite his
qualification as a probe astronaut, the Soviet government did not let
Vladimir Gevorgyan go on the space shuttle flight (Gevorgyan died in
2008 at 56 years of age). His fellow Armenian, James Bagian, was more
successful He has been a member of the group of U.S. astronauts since
1980 and attracted Armenians' attention once again when he joined
the "Challenger" space shuttle in 1986. But in the end, Bagian did
not take part in the space shuttle flight and he was fortunate. As
everybody knows, the "Challenger" space shuttle blew up two minutes
after launching. The fact that Bagian did not join the "Challenger"
reminded many Armenians that it is not right to joke about the
misfortune of Armenians.

James Bagian was famous among Armenians and people all over the world
thanks to his first space shuttle flight in 1989. It was March 13-18
that year when Bagian flew to space in the "Discovery" space shuttle
as an expert in medical-biological research as part of the "Space
Shuttle" program. The flight took four days, 23 hours and 38 minutes.

As the shuttle flew over Armenia, the astronaut uttered the words
"voghchuyn" (greetings) and "khaghaghutyun" (peace) in Armenian. Those
days Armenians were living with the hopes of the liberation of Artsakh
and the appearance of their fellow Armenian in space filled them with
new spirits. In addition to that, it was during those days when Zori
Balayan met with Bagian in the U.S. and said that Bagian had roots
tracing back to Artsakh.

James Bagian's grandfather, Kevork Bagian, was from Karabakh. James'
father, Philip Bagian, was a pilot, captain and had received the
"Silver Cross" medal during WWII. His son James (born from his
American mother Rose) was born on February 25, 1952 in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. James attended the Central High School. He was extremely
hard-working with many interests and capabilities. In 1970, he was
accepted to the medical college of Philadelphia and practiced sports
with his dad at the pilot school. In 1973 James Bagian received his
Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel
University and worked at the 3M factory in Bristol, Pennsylvania.

James continued his education at the Thomas Jefferson University
and received his doctorate in medicine in 1977. In 1974-1978 Bagian
participated in many contests and received awards and athletic
rankings. In 1976-1978 he worked as a mechanical engineer at the U.S.

Naval Air Test Center based in Maryland. In 1978 he worked as a flight
surgeon and research medical officer at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space
Center, while concurrently completing studies at the USAF Flight
Surgeons School and USAF School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio,
Texas. In July 1980 Bagian became a NASA astronaut. Bagian received his
Professional Engineers Certification in 1986, and was board-certified
in aerospace medicine by the American College of Preventive Medicine
in 1987.

James Bagian left NASA in 1995 and is currently involved in

professional biomedical research. He is married to Tandi Benson and
they have four children. He loves riding bicycles, walking tourism,
hiking, as well as swimming, parachuting and repairing cars. Bagian
is also a member of the Detroit Science Center's Board of Trustees.

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#2 onjig



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Posted 01 September 2014 - 11:41 PM

Interesting, first I've read of this. Thanks

#3 Yervant1


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Posted 16 April 2019 - 09:28 AM

Armedia, Armenia
April 14 2019
My Family Was Always Proud of its Armenian Heritage: James Bagian - The Only Armenian in the World, who Has Traveled into Space (EXCLUSIVE)
"Armedia" IAA presents an exclusive interview with James Bagian, the only Armenian in the world, who has traveled into Space.
- Mr Bagian, what made you want to become an astronaut?
I had always been interested in aviation from the time I was a little boy.  My father, Philip Bagian, had been a highly decorated fighter pilot in World War 2 and I suppose I developed my interest from the stories he would tell my brother and me about the enjoyment, challenge, and satisfaction he experienced from flying. Having developed an avid interest in aviation at such a young age it was only natural to become interested in spaceflight and becoming an astronaut.
-You have logged over 337 hours in space. What is the outer space like? What feelings did You experience?
-Seeing the Earth from space with your own eyes gives a much greater appreciation for the planet than pictures or videos are capable of imparting. The beauty and seeing the Earth, its land masses, and oceans with no political boundaries definitely impresses one that all the peoples of the Earth and their activities ultimately can impact everyone regardless of where they live.
I was also impressed with the tremendous technical achievement that launching a spacecraft is and how fortunate I was to have been allowed to make my flights as well as the debt of thanks I felt to all of the people whose good work made the experience possible for me to have.
-What is the most memorable moment for you in space?
-I most vividly remember the first time I was in orbit and looked out of the window at the horizon to see the thin blue line that was the atmosphere that envelopes the Earth. It was a beautiful electric blue color and it was particularly striking to me because of how small and fragile it appeared especially as I contemplated how all the people on Earth depend on it for our survival every day.
-Please, tell us about your family and their Armenian traditions.
-Grandparents on my father’s side emigrated to the United States just after 1900. My father and his brothers and sister were the first ones in their family born in the United States.  They were always proud of their Armenian heritage and I fondly remember spending times together with my family enjoying Armenian delicacies and hearing from my father’s parents stories about "the old country".
-As we know, you have not been to Armenia yet. Would you like to ever visit Armenia?
-You are correct, I have never been to Armenia but I would be interested to do so.

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