Event Details
Payload Blog

Meet Astronaut John-David Bartoe

Jan 07, 2022 - Jan 09, 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.



Dr. John-David Bartoe is an astrophysicist and a veteran of one shuttle flight. He earned a B.S. in Physics from Lehigh University, along with a M.S., and Ph.D. in Physics from Georgetown University.

Bartoe worked as an astrophysicist at the Naval Research Laboratory. During his time there, he specialized in solar research and was selected by NASA to fly as a payload specialist on STS-51F Challenger which launched July 29, 1985. This was the Spacelab 2 mission, and the main purpose was to confirm that the Spacelab systems were performing efficiently. The crew also conducted various experiments involving plasma physics, solar physics and astronomy.

From 1990 through 1994, Dr. Bartoe served as Director of Operations and Utilization in the Space Station Office of NASA Headquarters. In 1993, he began working as the ISS Research Manager where he oversaw programs surrounding the research capability, research hardware, and research plans of the ISS. He remained in this position until 2005.

Dr. Bartoe received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and the NASA Skylab Achievement Award. He is also a member of the Association of Space Explorers and the Chairman of the Space Stations Committee of the International Astronautical Federation. Bartoe currently works as an independent aviation and aerospace professional.

Astronaut John Bartoe

Meet Astronaut John-David Bartoe

MissionsSTS-51F Challenger