Retired Air Force Col. Pamela Melroy was in command of the shuttle Discovery when it blasted into space Tuesday morning from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Melroy is only the second woman to command a space shuttle. The Discovery’s primary mission is to continue construction on the International Space Station, placing the new Harmony segment and moving a tower of solar arrays to a new location. Melroy received her commission through AFROTC, earning pilot wings in 1985 and flying the KC-10 for six years. After serving in Gulf War I, she entered test pilot training and served on the C-17 test force until her selection for astronaut training in December 1994. She retired from the Air Force in February 2007.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.