In this video by veteran space photographer Scott Andrews, astronaut Alan Poindexter recalls the dramatic sights, sounds and feelings of his first space shuttle mission. Before joining NASA, Poindexter (who’s the son of former National Security Advisor Admiral John Poindexter) was an F-14 fighter pilot and test pilot for the U.S. Navy. He made his first trip to orbit as pilot on the STS-122 mission to the space station in February 2008.
Poindexter also commanded the STS-131 flight in April 2010. Three of the seven astronauts on that mission—Jim Dutton, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki—made their first flight, the last rookies of the space shuttle era. With just three missions remaining after STS-131, NASA plans to fly all-veteran crews from now on.
Video: Scott Andrews (5:06)