The 31 NASA astronauts educated at MIT are listed below, in order of their selection by NASA.
David R. Scott (SM and EAA in aeronautics and astronautics, 1962), chosen by NASA in 1963, was the first MIT graduate to fly in space as pilot of Gemini 8, which performed the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit in 1966. He was the command module pilot of Apollo 9, which was the first orbital flight test of the Apollo lunar module. He commanded the Apollo 15 lunar landing mission in 1971, which landed in the Hadley-Apennine region, and he became the first astronaut to drive a lunar rover on the moon.
Buzz Aldrin (ScD in aeronautics and astronautics, 1963), selected by NASA in 1963, was the first MIT graduate to walk in space aboard Gemini 12 in 1966. As lunar module pilots of Apollo 11 in July 1969, he and Neil Armstrong accomplished the national goal of landing on the moon and became the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface.
Russell L. Schweickart (BS and MS in aeronautics and astronautics, 1963) was selected by NASA in 1963 and served as lunar module pilot on Apollo 9 in 1969, the first flight test of the Apollo lunar module in earth orbit. He conducted the first extravehicular activity (EVA) in the Apollo program.
Edgar D. Mitchell (ScD in aeronautics and astronautics, 1964) was selected in 1966. He became the sixth man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission to the Fra Mauro highlands region in February 1971.
Charles M. Duke Jr. (SM in aeronautics and astronautics, 1964) was selected by NASA in 1966 and explored the lunar surface during the Apollo 16 mission to the Descartes region of the moon in April 1972.
William B. Lenoir (SB 1961, SM 1962 and PhD 1965, all in electrical engineering) was selected in 1967 and flew on STS-5 in 1982, the first operational flight of the space shuttle. He was the first MIT graduate to fly on the space shuttle.
Philip K. Chapman (SM 1964 and ScD 1967 in aeronautics and astronautics) was selected by NASA in 1967. He retired in 1972 without making a spaceflight.
Anthony W. England (SB 1965, SM 1965 and PhD 1970 in earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences or EAPS) was selected as an astronaut in 1967 and flew on the Spacelab 2 mission in 1985.
Ronald E. McNair (PhD in physics, 1977) was selected in 1978, flew on STS-41B in 1984 and perished along with six crewmates in the Challenger space shuttle accident on January 28, 1986.
Frederick H. Hauck (SM in nuclear engineering, 1966) was selected in 1978, flew on STS-7 in 1983 and commanded STS-51A in 1984. He also commanded the first space shuttle mission after the Challenger disaster, STS-26 in 1988. He was also recently selected by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation as one of the four first shuttle astronauts to be inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Terry J. Hart (SM in mechanical engineering, 1969) was selected by NASA in 1978 and flew on STS-41C, which successfully repaired the Solar Max Satellite in 1984.
Franklin R. Chang-Diaz (ScD in nuclear engineering, 1977) was selected by NASA in 1980. He completed six space shuttle missions: STS-61C in 1986, STS-34 which deployed the Galileo spacecraft on its mission to Jupiter in 1989, STS-46 in 1992, STS-60 in 1994, STS-75 in 1996 and STS-91 in 1998. He has logged 1,269 hours in space and tied the record for number of space flights.
Kenneth D. Cameron (SB 1978 and MS 1979, aeronautics and astronautics) was selected in 1984. He piloted STS-37, which deployed the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory in 1991, and commanded STS-56 in 1993. He served as the first NASA Director of Operations in Star City, Russia in preparation for the first US missions to the Mir space station. In 1995, he commanded the second Shuttle-Mir docking mission.
Mark C. Lee (SM in mechanical engineering, 1980) was picked by NASA in 1984 and flew four missions: STS-30, which launched the Magellan spacecraft on its mission to map Venus in 1989, STS-47 in 1992, STS-64 in 1994 and STS-82, which serviced the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997. He has over 26 hours of EVA experience.
William M. Shepherd (SM in mechanical engineering and OCE in ocean engineering, 1978) was selected by NASA in 1984, and flew aboard STS-27 in 1988, STS-41 in 1990 and STS-52 in 1992. He served as commander of the first expedition crew to the International Space Station during a 141-day mission which was completed in March 2001. He is the first MIT alumnus to participate in a long-duration space mission.
Jerome Jay Apt (PhD in physics, 1976) was chosen by NASA in 1985 and flew four missions: STS-37 during which he performed an EVA to deploy the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory in 1991, STS-47 in 1992, STS-59 in 1994 and STS-79, which docked with the Mir space station in 1996.
Janice Voss (SM in electrical engineering, 1977 and PhD in aeronautics and astronautics, 1987) was selected in 1990 and has flown five space missions: STS-57 in 1994, STS-63, the first Shuttle-Mir rendezvous mission in 1995, STS-83 and STS-94 in 1997 and STS-99 in 2000, which used radar to create a high resolution map of the earth's surface. She is the first female graduate of MIT to fly in space.
Wendy Lawrence (SM in ocean engineering, 1988) was selected in 1992. She was a mission specialist aboard STS-67 in 1995, and participated in two Shuttle-Mir docking missions, STS-86 in 1997 and STS-91 in 1998.
Catherine G. "Cady" Coleman (SB in chemistry, 1983) was selected in 1992 and flew as mission specialist on STS-73 in 1995. She was responsible for the deployment of the Chandra X-ray Observatory from the space shuttle Columbia in July 1999.
John M. Grunsfeld (SB in physics, 1980), was selected by NASA in 1992 and has flown on three space missions: STS-67 in 1995, STS-81 in 1997, and STS-103 in 1999, when he performed two space walks to service the Hubble Space Telescope. He is now in training as payload commander for STS-109, the next Hubble servicing mission scheduled for launch in January 2002.
Pamela A. Melroy (SM in EAPS, 1984), was selected by NASA in 1995 and became the third woman to pilot a space shuttle (STS-92 in October 2000).
Ten astronauts with MIT educations have been selected as astronauts in the last five years and are now training for their first space missions. These include Edward M. Fincke (SB in aeronautics and astronautics and SB in EAPS, 1989), Michael J. Massimino (SM in 1988; ME in 1990 and PhD in mechanical engineering, 1992; and SM in the Technology and Policy Program in 1988), Daniel M. Tani (SB 1984 and SM 1988 in mechanical engineering), and Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper (SB 1984 and SM 1985 in mechanical engineering), who are all members of NASA Astronaut Group 16 chosen in May 1996.
Gregory E. Chamitoff (PhD in aeronautics and astronautics, 1992), Timothy J. Creamer (SM in physics, 1992), Nicholas J.M. Patrick (SM 1990 and PhD 1996 in mechanical engineering), and Neil W. Woodward III (SB in physics, 1984) are members of NASA Astronaut Group 17 chosen in June 1998. Dominic A. Antonelli (SB in aeronautics and astronautics, 1989) and Stephen G. Bowen (OE in ocean engineering, 1993) are members of NASA Astronaut Group 18 chosen in July 2000.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 6, 2001.