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Capt. Jerry Linenger is a retired U.S. Navy flight surgeon and NASA astronaut. During what has been reported to be one of the most dangerous and dramatic missions in space history, Linenger spent nearly five months aboard the Russian space station Mir. He faced numerous life-threatening events and, in spite of many challenges, Linenger and his Russian crewmates accomplished all mission goals. In 1998, NASA awarded Linenger the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award conferred by NASA, citing his courage and outstanding service to his country. Linenger is author of "Off the Planet," which chronicles his time in space, and "Letters from Mir: An Astronaut's Letter to His Son."