Mediaite Talks to Fox News’ Kristin Fisher About Her Astronaut Parents on 50th Anniversary of Moon Landing
Only around 500 people have ever gone into space. Fox News correspondent Kristin Fisher had the unique experience growing up around two of them — her mom and dad.
Kristin’s mother Anna made headlines as the “first mom in space,” blasting off as a member of NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery flight when Kristin was just 14 months old. Her father, William, made it up to space a year later and conducted two space walks — including one that was the longest of its kind at the time.
Kristin interviewed her parents ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing to discuss their careers and the importance of the occasion.
Mediaite spoke with Kristin about growing up as the daughter of two astronauts and how her experiences have led to her career in journalism.
This Q&A initially ran in Mediaite’s daily newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
Talk a little bit about your experience interviewing your parents for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary.
It was very special and a bit surreal to be interviewing my parents about an event that fueled their dreams of becoming astronauts, while simultaneously living out a dream of my own. Anchoring a show all about space is something I’ve always wanted to do, and to get to do it with my parents by my side was something I’ll never forget.
Did your parents’ experiences as astronauts influence you in any way? What have you learned from speaking to them about their journeys?
It did, but it was how they became astronauts that influenced me even more. My father was rejected by NASA on two occasions before he was finally accepted to become an astronaut — the first time when he was only 12 years old (and he later flew that rejection letter into space). It taught me to find my passion early, pursue it relentlessly, and refuse to take no for an answer.
It also instilled in me a deep sense of adventure. I grew up hearing stories about my Pony Express riding great-great-great grandfather, and watching my parents ride rockets into space. I may not have followed directly in their footsteps, but I definitely inherited their desire to explore and explain our world.
What was it like growing up as the daughter of astronauts? Were you treated any differently? Were any of your other friends’ parents astronauts?
Anytime you have two parents who do the same thing, I think there’s a tendency to take it for granted. I did. I lived in a neighborhood with lots of other “Astro-tots” and it just seemed like a very normal and natural thing to have parents who went into space. It took me moving away to Boston for college to truly realize how unique and special it was. The older I get, the more embarrassed I become by my childhood complacency, and the more responsibility I feel to do my small part to inspire the next generation of space explorers.
Do you see any similarities between your work in journalism and your parents’ work as former astronauts?
As we were counting down to the start of the show on Saturday, our crew adopted a “T-minus” countdown in honor of the occasion. A few minutes out, my mom said, “This sounds and feels just like a launch!” I assured her that a real launch was infinitely cooler, but there’s definitely a similar sense of excitement and anticipation.
Did you ever want to be an astronaut? How did you get into journalism?
My parents never pressured me to follow in their footsteps, but I put a lot of pressure on myself to set a big goal and achieve it. “My parents are astronauts! What am I going to be?” I thought about that quite a bit as a kid.
Some of my earliest memories are of my mom waking me up in the middle of the night to watch a shuttle launch on TV. The coverage fueled my fascination with television news. I latched onto journalism at an early age and never looked back.
Kristin also had the opportunity to sit down with Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men on the moon, and Vice President Mike Pence.
Talk a little bit about what it was like speaking to a legend like Buzz Aldrin on such a momentous anniversary.
I couldn’t believe I was interviewing Buzz Aldrin inside the room that was his last stop before heading out to the launch pad 50 years ago. I wondered if he might be tired of talking about Apollo 11, but he was so eager to jump in that he interrupted my interview with the Vice President. At one point, my father pulled him aside to say, “I remember exactly what I was doing 50 years ago today.” Without missing a beat, Aldrin quipped, “Me too!”
You also spoke to Vice President Mike Pence. What does the U.S. have planned for the future of space exploration?
The Trump Administration wants NASA to return American astronauts back to the moon by 2024, and eventually go on to Mars. Previous administrations have pledged to do the same, but the plan was always killed by the next occupant of the Oval Office. In order for NASA to take the next giant leap, it needs a mission that can survive multiple administrations and enough money from Congress to pull it off.
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