Event Details
Payload Blog

Meet Astronaut Sam Gemar

Apr 18, 2022 - Apr 21, 2022 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 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.


Astronaut Bio

Astronaut Charles “Sam” Gemar is a man of many talents. Sam Gemar began the road to NASA in 1973, when he enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school, paving the road for his future in aviation. Gemar earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy in 1979, and went on to work at Ft. Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield as an Assistant Flight Operations Officer and Flight Platoon Leader for the 24th Combat Aviation Battalion.

NASA selected Gemar as an astronaut candidate in June 1985. On March 4, 1994, Gemar flew as a mission specialist aboard STS-62 Columbia. This shuttle flight accomplished 60 experiments in various areas including, protein crystals growth and robotics. It was also the lowest shuttle flight ever flown at an altitude of 105 nautical miles. The mission lasted 13 days, 23 hours and 16 minutes, making it the second longest shuttle flight in history. In total, Gemar has flown on three shuttle missions, logging more than 580 hours in space. Gemar has earned numerous awards and honors, including three NASA Space Flight Medals, two National Defense Service Medals and an honorary doctorate of Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He retired from NASA in 1998.

From 2006 until 2009, Gemar worked as an on air personality for HDNet and covered live space shuttle launches out of Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Currently, Gemar is vice chairman at KAW Nation Industries, LLC. Gemar during his free time dabbles in woodworking and enjoys jogging and traveling.

Astronaut Sam Gemar

Meet Astronaut Sam Gemar


STS-38 Atlantis

STS-48 Discovery

STS-62 Columbia