Challenge and Discovery
Astronaut Rick Hauck’s Life of Rigor and Wonder

Vesterheim is thrilled to share the story of U.S. Astronaut Rick Hauck, who has Norwegian heritage, with members and visitors through the next issue of Vesterheim magazine and the current exhibit What’s New?!

For Captain Federick “Rick” Hamilton Hauck, the experience of circling high above the Earth during three shuttle flights was the culmination of many years of hard work, setbacks, victories, and joy. Being in space, Rick writes:

. . . is like leaving your family to go on a long camping trip with your best friends, and not being sure you will come home. It is putting every last iota of your faith into the men and women who built your spacecraft and the big rocket you are sitting on. . . . It is exploring a frontier. It is being simultaneously awed, thrilled, hopeful, and afraid. It is seeing more stars than you have ever seen before. It is watching the sun explode at sunrise and snuff out at sunset every ninety minutes. It is marveling at the beauty of the oceans, the deserts, the mountains, the jungles, and the forests. It is rediscovering earth. It is the joy of returning home again. It is the moment your dreams come true. Being in space is becoming a child again. (From Mach 25 and Home: The Memoir of Captain Rick Hauck, Navy Pilot and Astronaut, as told by Rick Hauck to writer Nancy Shohet West.)

These experiences are what people ask Rick about most, but the life that led up to them is fascinating and complex. Previous Vesterheim editor, Charlie Langton, has been working directly with Rick on an article for Vesterheim magazine that details Rick’s life experiences and his deep connection to his Norwegian heritage. We are grateful to Rick for generously sharing his story and to Charlie for beautifully crafting it into writing! This issue, supported by The Rydell-Mortenson Charitable Foundation, will be mailed to Vesterheim members in June 2024. Are you a member? If not, become a Vesterheim member now, to enjoy more about Rick’s life journey, as well as other articles about thrilling journeys!

In addition to the magazine article, the exhibit What’s New showcases the variety of objects that have been added to Vesterheim’s collection in the last five years. These objects enhance the geographic breadth and depth of the collection and include some that mark important events in history like the 1984 Space Shuttle Discovery mission commanded by Rick Hauck. The exhibit is made possible by a generous gift to the Vesterheim Annual Fund from Christine Tuve Burris and Jim Burris and is open at Vesterheim through April 28, 2024, so visit the museum soon to see a space shuttle instrument panel guide and a patch from the 1984 Space Shuttle Discovery, plus a gallery full of beautiful art and interesting history!

U.S. Captain Frederick “Rick” Hamilton Hauck. Photo courtesy NASA.