Lieutenant Colonel Charles D. “Sam” Gemar will join HDNet’s exclusive HD coverage of NASA's launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and her six-astronaut crew starting Sunday at noon (EST).
Launch time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., and the network said it will air an abbreviated encore presentation Monday at 8 p.m.
Gemar, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, was selected by NASA in 1985 and became an astronaut after completing a one-year training and evaluation program.
He has since logged more than 580 hours in space, flying in 1990 aboard Atlantis, in 1991 aboard Discovery and in 1994 aboard Columbia, with the latter representing the second-longest Space Shuttle mission to date.
Gemar joins Greg Dobbs, chief correspondent for HDNet World Report and lead commentator for HDNet’s previous Shuttle Launch broadcasts.
HDNet added that its HD coverage will aid NASA engineers as they look for any release of the protective foam from the outer surface of the shuttle’s external tank that may occur during the launch.
“To be able to aid in the analysis of the launch process makes this partnership with NASA about a lot more than just great television -- it means we’re helping to make space travel safer for future generations,” HDNet chairman Mark Cubansaid in a prepared statement.