Event Details
Payload Blog

Meet Astronaut Norm Thagard

Dec 23, 2021 - Dec 28, 2021 Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Astronauts are back! Join Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in welcoming back NASA’s veteran astronauts as part of our daily schedule and add-on enhancements.  

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 a veteran NASA astronaut. 

Meet the Astronaut of the Day at any of the following opportunities.  See the Daily Schedule for the times for each when you arrive. 

  • The daily Astronaut Encounter briefings allow time for a presentation from the astronaut and a question-and-answer session, so be prepared to ask him or her what you have always wanted to know.
  • Visitors can also get an astronaut’s autograph at The Space Shop and Shuttle Express at various times during the day.
  • During the all-new Chat With An Astronaut, enjoy a sampling of food and beverages while having a group conversation with the Astronaut of the Day about what it is really like to live and work in space.  This new add-on enhancement requires daily admission.


  • From Jacksonville, Florida 
  • Holds Bachelor’s and Master's Degrees in Engineering Science from Florida State University and received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Texas Southwestern Medical School. 
  • As a captain in the United States Marine Corps, he was designated as a Naval Aviator in 1968 
  • Flew 163 combat missions in the Vietnam War 
  • Has logged over 2,200 flight hours 
  • Selected by NASA in 1978 as part of the first group of space shuttle astronauts 
  • Has flown five spaceflights: 
    • STS-7 in 1983 - Deployed 2 satellites and the first deployment and retrieval of the SPAS-01 satellite. 
    • STS-51B in 1985- Spacelab-3 mission 
    • STS-30 in 1989 - Deploy of the Magellan satellite to Venus 
    • STS-42 in 1992- International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (Payload Commander) 
    • Mir-18 in 1995 - First American Cosmonaut Researcher with 115 days in space 
Astronaut Norm Thagard

Meet Astronaut Norm Thagard

MissionsSTS-7 Challenger

STS-51B Challenger

STS-30 Atlantis

STS-42 Discovery