Local Couple's Son-In-Law to Pilot Space Shuttle Endeavour - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/10/08

Local Couple's Son-In-Law to Pilot Space Shuttle Endeavour

The space shuttle Endeavour is set to launch early Tuesday morning.

You will have to rise in the dead of night to catch the launch scheduled for 1:28 a.m. Tuesday morning.

While most will probably sleep right through it, one Bob and Arlene Harbaugh will be glued to their television praying that their son-in-law, Gregory Johnson has a safe journey into space.

"Right after he and my daughter were married he and I were sitting in the living room and I was interested in what his plans for the future were and I asked him, 'Greg what do you plan to do with your life?" And he kind of smiled and said, 'Well I'd like to either be an astronaut or president" and we laughed about it because neither one of those was possible.

Nearly 19 years later Bob Harbaugh is grinning because he is actually about to witness his son-in-law Gregory Johnson launch into space.

Johnson is married to the Harbaugh's daughter, Cari a Coronado High School graduate. The couple have three children together.

The Harbaugh's say they can rightly tell people their son-in-law is truly out of this world.

"I don't know if I'm most proud of Greg for who he is or what he is. He is the most fabulous person," says Bob.

On his first trip to outer space, Johnson will serve as pilot of the space shuttle Endeavour. The 16 day mission will be the longest shuttle visit ever.

"We're all anxious for him. This is something he wants to do so bad. I'd just as soon he stay on the ground personally but he wants to go into space," says Bob.

"It's scary but he's very confident in himself. He wants it so bad. He has to go. He's very verbal. I just turn it over to God and let God take care of him," says Arlene.

For the past week the Harbaugh's have watched Johnson share more about the mission on the NASA channel.

"They've made a lot of improvements in their safety devices since the last accident. It's probably safer where he's going than running around on the streets of Lubbock," says Bob.

Bob believes it's fate that Johnson is flying on the Shuttle Endeavour. You see long before Johnson was an astronaut, Bob's daughter, Cari gave him a model of a space shuttle which has sat on his desk now for more than a decade.

"When we were informed he'd been assigned to this flight into space, they mentioned he was going to fly the Endeavour and one day I looked at the model and that's the name on the model Endeavour and I thought that was ironic," says Bob.

The Harbaugh's say Johnson already hopes to one day return to space.

"He hopes he'll go on another one he's anxious already for the next one and he hasn't finished this one. He'd like to command one," says Bob.

And the Harbaugh's have no doubt he will. Besides, they say Johnson no longer has to reach for the stars because he will soon have landed among them.

Again, the seven member crew is set to launch at 1:28 a.m. Tuesday morning. Their mission to the space station includes delivering the first section of a laboratory from Japan - and a two armed robot from Canada.

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