- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2002

Astronaut Paul Lockhart flew to the International Space Station last week as part of a multinational space shuttle crew. But he thinks his wife is doing more for the country.
Mary Lockhart, a colonel in the Air Force reserve, is an expert on the effect of weather conditions on precision munitions and night vision goggles.
"You can imagine with everything which has gone on in the world right now, she's in high demand," said Col. Paul Lockhart, who retired from the U.S. Air Force as lieutenant colonel. "What she's got going is of probably greater interest to national interest than what I'm doing right now, at least in the short term."
If you're the commander of an Air Force strike force in Afghanistan, then Col. Mary Lockhart can help ensure missions are effective regardless of weather conditions. Commanders call Col. Mary Lockhart when they need to know how a storm will affect a pilot's night vision goggles or what it will do to the accuracy of guided missiles.
"Our program helps the commander make those go/no go decisions and choose the best weapons system for the time they need to go," said Col. Mary Lockhart, who works for Air Combat Command at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
"We have programs that we use to determine the optimal time, taking into consideration time of day, atmospheric conditions on when would be the best time to plan a mission."
As Col. Mary Lockhart continues to aid Air Combat Command in Nevada with tactical decisions in the war on terror, Col. Paul Lockhart coordinates three spacewalks over the next several days as pilot of Endeavour's STS-111 mission. They reached the International Space Station on Friday.
Yesterday, on the second full day of joint operations with five crews at the station, Col. Paul Lockhart oversaw STS-111's first spacewalk, which required spacewalkers Franklin Chang-Diaz of the United States and Philippe Perrin of France to relocate and temporarily stow micrometeoroid debris shields.
Mr. Chang-Diaz also took a visual and photographic survey of one of the station's four Control Moment Gyros, which provide altitude control for the station. This gyro has had some mechanical failure, but the other three are in good shape.
On his first trip to space, Col. Paul Lockhart will join the crew in performing two more spacewalks to continue station assembly and maintenance work. They are scheduled to return June 17.
Col. Mary Lockhart, who typically teleconferences daily from her Houston home when not on active duty at the Nevada base, took a longer-than-expected vacation to support her spouse as he prepared for Endeavour's launch from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
"Everybody needs a vacation, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my family," she said last week. "He's waited a long time for this. When I get back to Houston I'm going to be able to keep in touch and find out what's happening [with my work]."
But even as she prepared for her husband's departure, hosting a party for several hundred family members and friends as well as a birthday bash for their 6-year-old daughter, it was impossible for Col. Mary Lockhart to keep her mind off the weather.
The STS-111 mission's blast off, originally scheduled for May 30, was scrubbed because of bad weather.
"The [launch weather forecasters] did a good job forecasting. It was an awesome call. They had thunderstorms and exceeded [the limits]," Col. Mary Lockhart said.
Six days later, Col. Paul Lockhart rocketed into space, and Col. Mary Lockhart resumed her responsibilities as a member of a team relied upon by the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines.


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