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Astronaut Declines Presidential Invitation, Science Her Excuse

Sandra Magnus

She sends regrets, from orbit

Image via Wikipedia

Astronaut Sandra Magnus won't be joining her six fellow crewmates in the presidential inauguration parade in which they've been invited to march next month. But she's got good reason: She's busy doing experiments in areas ranging from low-gravity materials science work and human physiology, 350 kilometers up in space. She was dropped off on the International Space Station last month by the space shuttle Endeavor during a repairs-and-renovation mission. "But I'm sure she'll be doing it in spirit," says NASA spokesperson Bob Jacobs. Magnus will be in orbit until February.

Joining the astronauts on the Earthwalk will be a conceptual model of a lunar rover and astronaut and engineer Gregory Chamitoff, whom Magnus replaced on the space station. This is not the first time NASA has marched in an inaugural parade, but it's the first in recent memory to include astronauts, Jacobs says. And a lunar rover hasn't been rolled out for a parade since Richard Nixon's second inauguration in 1973.