Meet Astronaut Charlie WalkerJul 21, 2022 - Jul 24, 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.
Charlie Walker has had many titles including forest firefighter, test engineer and medical test subject, but his claim to fame is being a payload specialist and first industry commercial astronaut for three space shuttle flights. Walker also spent many years on the ground helping with payload preparation and on-pad processing activities at Kennedy Space Center, Florida and in-flight support at Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas.
An accomplished aeronautical engineer, Walker began his career earning a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 1971. He worked for various government agencies and developed computer-controlled manufacturing systems.
Walker holds a patent for the continuous flow electrophoresis (CFES) device which he worked on as a founding member of the Space Manufacturing team (later renamed Electrophoresis Operations in Space, EOS). He has researched and written numerous papers, newspaper articles, and book contributions on the EOS electrophoresis program, space development, commercialization and space history. He joined the McDonnell Douglas Corporation in 1977 as a test engineer. From 1979 to 1986, he was chief test engineer, payload specialist, and first industry commercial astronaut. This led to training NASA astronaut crews in the operation of the CFES and for Walker to become an astronaut himself.
Meet Astronaut Charlie Walker