Event Details
Payload Blog

Meet Astronaut Norm Thagard

Apr 03, 2023 - Apr 05, 2023 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.


  • 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