After spending two years in space, NASA astronaut James Oberg said he was “sickened” by his own actions and “dumbfounded” by what he said were the failures of the agency’s leadership.
“I was just dumbfounded,” Oberg, a veteran of five space shuttle missions, told The Associated Press from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“The Bigest Secret of a Universe is the failure of leadership and the lack of oversight and accountability.
That was my biggest shock.
It just was so disappointing.”
The astronaut has spent more than two years orbiting the Earth in a NASA space shuttle mission, and in that time he has worked with the International Space Station crew and astronauts in more than 80 countries.
He has visited nearly all of them.
He was among about 20 Americans, including NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, to watch Oberg perform an astronaut salute.
The two men were joined by the rest of the crew.
Oberg is the first American to hold the space station’s second and third space shuttle cargo berths.
He and Kimbough will stay in orbit for a year and a half after their next mission, NASA said Friday.
The space station crew will continue on until late March or early April, when the space shuttles are scheduled to return to Earth.
“This is a great day for the space industry, and the American people, to be able to welcome a veteran astronaut to the station,” said Kimboug, who is currently aboard the International Station in Russia.
“To see a man who has been in space for more than 25 years, who has dedicated so much of his life to serving this country, it is very special to be part of this.”
The two American astronauts will remain in space aboard the space shuttle for about eight months while they are being prepared to return.
Kimbou and Oberg will return to the International Plantation in Virginia for a couple of weeks of vacation and relaxation before resuming their missions, NASA officials said.
Ogg said he will have no regrets.
“What I want to say is I am very proud of my time in space,” he said.
“It was a lot of fun.
It was a very difficult environment.
You go out and have fun, and you have the freedom to do anything you want, and it was just a very, very fun experience.”