Meet Astronaut Don ThomasApr 13, 2017 11:00 AM - Apr 17, 2017 06:00 PM Kennedy Space Center
NASA selects astronauts from a diverse pool of applicants with a wide variety of backgrounds from scientists to pilots. From the thousands of applications received, only a few are chosen to be a member of the elite NASA Astronaut Corps. Each day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visitors get the rare opportunity to meet veteran NASA astronauts.
Included with daily admission, the daily Astronaut Encounter briefings allow time for discussion, so bring your questions and your camera. Visitors also have the opportunity to get an astronaut’s autograph at The Space Shop at the Visitor Complex at various times during the day. See the Daily Schedule for times when you arrive.
With additional purchase, visitors can enjoy a n exclusive group presentation with a veteran astronaut that includes a question and answer session during Lunch With An Astronaut offered at noon daily.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Thomas completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Case Western Reserve University in 1977. He went on to Cornell University earning both a Master of Science degree and a doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering.
Thomas began his NASA career at the Johnson Space Center working as a materials engineer on the Space Shuttle program. In 1990 he was selected in NASA’s 13th group of astronauts. He went on to fly on four Space Shuttle missions; STS-65 aboard Columbia in 1994, STS-70 aboard Discovery in 1995, and STS-83 and STS-94 aboard Columbia in 1997. During his four missions he spent a total of 44 days in space and orbited the Earth 692 times.
From 1999-2000 he was NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia working at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City. From 2003-2006 he was the International Space Station Program Scientist directing and planning the experiments performed on the ISS.
From 2007-2015 Thomas headed up the Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University, an outreach initiative that targeted elementary, middle, and high school students to encourage them to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering. Today he is a professional speaker and continues his outreach efforts inspiring students to reach for the stars.
Meet Astronaut Don Thomas