Event Details
Payload Blog

Meet New Veteran NASA Astronaut Kay Hire

Mar 04, 2019 - Mar 08, 2019 Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Join us in welcoming a new Astronaut of the Day to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

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.


You may meet the Astronaut of the Day at any of the following opportunities.  See the Daily Schedule for times when you arrive.

  • The daily Astronaut Encounter briefings allow time for a presentation from the astronaut and a discussion, so bring your questions and your camera.
  • Visitors can also get an astronaut’s autograph at The Space Shop at various times during the day.
  • With an additional purchase, visitors can enjoy an exclusive buffet lunch and group presentation during Dine With An Astronaut. Offered at noon daily, lunch includes a question and answer session and photo opportunities!

Don’t miss this special astronaut guest!

Astronaut Bio:

A veteran of two space flights, Astronaut Kay Hire, is the first female in the U. S. Military to be assigned to a combat aircrew, and is the first astronaut to be selected from the Kennedy Space Center workforce. Originally from Mobile, Alabama, she graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1981 with only the second year to include women, then went on to earn her Naval Flight Officer wings. She conducted worldwide airborne oceanographic research missions, flying to 25 countries. In May 1993, she was assigned to a combat aircrew with Navy Patrol Squadron Sixty-Two (VP-62) where she flew aboard the P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. Achieving the rank of Navy Captain, she served in multiple leadership roles throughout her 35 year Navy career spanning from operational missions to scientific research and technology development.

Hire joined the Kennedy Space Center team as a Space Shuttle Engineer in 1989. She helped prepare and launch more than 40 space shuttle missions. She was Supervisor of Space Shuttle Orbiter Mechanical Systems and Launch Pad Swing Arms engineers when she was selected by NASA to become an astronaut. In 1995, she began training at the NASA Johnson Space Center, as a member of Astronaut Group 15. Hire flew as a mission specialist on space shuttle Columbia mission STS-90. She was the flight engineer, experiment operator and experiment subject on the life sciences research mission lasting nearly 17 days. She flew again on space shuttle Endeavour mission STS-130, as the robotic arm operator and cargo loadmaster. She used the robotic arm to install the seven-windowed Cupola onto the International Space Station (ISS), and she led the transfer of 4500 pounds of cargo. Today, the Cupola provides stunning views of Earth and is featured in many photographs of the ISS.

Following the retirement of the space shuttle, Hire served in management positions at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. She retired from NASA in February 2019. Currently, she is self-employed focused on encouraging students to pursue Science Engineering Technology and Mathematics (STEM).

Hire earned a bachelor of science degree from the U. S. Naval Academy, and a master of science in Space Systems Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology. She has accumulated more than 3400 flight hours in various aircraft, and 711 hours in space.

Astronaut Kathryn P. (Kay) Hire, mission specialist

Meet New Veteran NASA Astronaut Kay Hire

Rocket Launch: March 2, 2019 2:49 AM EST | Commercial Crew SpaceX Demonstration Mission 1 (UNCREWED)

Rocket Launch: TBD April 2019 | SpaceX Falcon Heavy Arabsat 6A

Fly With An Astronaut Jack Lousma