KENNEDY SPACE CENTER -- The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame welcomed two new faces to be part of the elite group, veteran NASA astronauts Thomas D. Jones, Ph.D. and Capt. Scott D. Altman.
- 17th class of space shuttle astronauts inducted
- Thomas D. Jones, Scott D. Altman join Hall of Fame
- Link: U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
They comprise the 17th class of space shuttle astronauts to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, bringing the total number of astronauts in this prestigious society to 97.
Both inductees served missions on space shuttle Atlantis.
Jones spent 11 years with NASA, during which he flew on four space shuttle missions to Earth orbit.
Altman was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1995.
For both inductees, the mission to outer space started with looking up at the sky.
Jones said a family trip and a black and white TV changed his life.
"Apollo 11 takes off and I beg my parents to see them landing so we went to a motel and we saw the moon walks in July of '69," he said.
Before flying in space several times, Altman was a Navy fighter pilot and was even in the popular movie "Top Gun" doing aerial acrobatic flight.
"I heard Top Gun 2 is coming, my phone is on, he joked.
Each year, inductees are selected by a committee of Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians and journalists.
To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction.