Event Details
Payload Blog

Meet Astronaut Jack Lousma

Sep 30, 2020 - Oct 05, 2020 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.


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!

Astronaut Bio:

Jack Robert Lousma is an accomplished NASA astronaut and retired Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. As a marine, Lousma was an attack and reconnaissance pilot before being selected as an astronaut in 1966. He was one of 19 astronauts chosen by NASA that year. He has logged more than 7,000 hours of flight time, and 1,619 hours in space. Lousma completed B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aeronautical Engineering by 1965 and was awarded with three honorary doctorate degrees in 1973, 1982 and 1986. During his time with NASA, Lousma was awarded 4 NASA Distinguished Service Medals from NASA (twice), Department of Defense and U.S. Navy. He was also inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame October 4, 1997.

Prior to flying a NASA mission, Lousma served on the support crews for Apollo 9, 10 and 13. It was Jack Lousma who was serving as capsule communicator (CAPCOM) when Jim Lovell radioed in his fateful message from Apollo 13, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

On July 28, 1973, the Skylab 3 mission launched with Lousma as its pilot. The crew spent 59 days in orbit, exceeding expectations for their mission goals. They conducted 333 medical experiments, gaining more knowledge about the effects of weightlessness on the human body as well as other experiments in studies of the sun, earth resources, materials processing, and other technology evaluations. Lousma also performed two spacewalks outside Skylab totaling 11 hours.

Lousma was commander on STS-3 Columbia which launched March 22, 1982. This was the third orbital test flight of Columbia. While in orbit, they used the remote manipulator system (RMS) for the first time to maneuver a payload in space. In 1983, Lousma retired from NASA. He was a consultant to civilian and defense aerospace companies in the U.S. and Europe. He served on the boards of public and private organizations and was President of several startup companies developing high tech products and services. He and his wife have four children and eighteen grandchildren and are active in church and community affairs.

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