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Hundreds of people came out to NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Saturday to watch four space shuttle veterans be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame — and help celebrate the 34th wedding anniversary of the first astronaut couple.
"Well, this has never happened before," remarked Robert "Hoot" Gibson, a former shuttle commander, 2003 Hall of Fame inductee and, since 1981, the husband of astronaut Rhea Seddon. "This is the first time a spouse has had the wonderful opportunity that I have today to present my wife for induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame." Seddon, who logged 30 days in space over the course of her three shuttle missions, embraced her husband after he choked up while saying their life together was "beyond my wildest dreams."
Seddon was joined on stage by her fellow 2015 inductees, spacewalker John Grunsfeld and Steven Lindsey and Kent Rominger, both space shuttle commanders.
"I keep thinking I don't belong here," said Lindsey, who as commander led the final flight of space shuttle Discovery. "Because I look out in the audience of the astronauts who are here and I see so many who mentored me."
Like Lindsey, Rominger was humbled by the experience. Both men previously served as chief of NASA's astronaut office. Grunsfeld, who serves as NASA's associate administrator for science, was the last man to touch the Hubble Space Telescope at the conclusion of its final servicing mission in 2009.
All four new inductees were heroes, noted Charlie Bolden, NASA's administrator and a 2006 honoree.
"You have our deepest respect for all that you achieved in space, the example that you have set for others and most importantly, for the inspiration that you have given future generations to take us on a journey to Mars," he said.
This is a condensed version of a report from collectSPACE.com. Read the full report. Follow collectSPACE.com on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Copyright 2015 collectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.