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November 2: Jews in Space

November 2, 2014
20110411164307-2Jeffrey A. Hoffman, a NASA astronaut who made five space shuttle flights and traveled 21.5 million miles in space, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1944. Hoffman received his Ph.D in astrophysics from Harvard and is co-director of the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium as a professor at MIT. His space missions took place between 1985 and 1996, and included several space walks, repair of the Hubble telescope, and spinning a dreydl during Khanike, 1993, before a live satellite audience. Hoffman was the first American Jew in space [Correction: the first American Jewish man; to see our Jewdayo about Judith Resnik, click here.] and the second Jew [Correction: third] in the world after the Soviet Union’s Boris Volynov, who flew in 1969. With his fifth mission in 1996, he became the first astronaut to log 1,000 hours aboard space shuttles. To see a video about the mission to repair Hubble, look below. “It’s hard now, almost twenty years after the launch of Hubble, over fifteen years after our repair mission, and Hubble has done such incredible things, it’s hard to remember what a disaster it was for those first few years after Hubble was put in orbit in the spring of 1990. It was over the course of that summer that the spherical aberration was discovered. Hubble was the butt of jokes on late-night talk shows. It was denounced in the U.S. Congress. There were cartoons of the great disasters of history. Right next to the Hindenburg was Hubble.” —Jeffrey A. Hoffman