James Buchli
Buchli in 1987
James Frederick Buchli

(1945-06-20) June 20, 1945 (age 78)
EducationUnited States Naval Academy (BS)
University of West Florida (MS)
Space career
NASA astronaut
RankColonel, USMC
Time in space
20d 10h 25m
SelectionNASA Group 8 (1978)
Mission insignia

James Frederick Buchli (born June 20, 1945, in New Rockford, North Dakota) is a retired United States Marine aviator and former NASA astronaut who flew on four Space Shuttle missions.

Early life and education

Buchli graduated from Fargo Central High School, Fargo, North Dakota, in 1963 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1967. He also earned a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering Systems from the University of West Florida in 1975.

Buchli is an associate member of Naval Academy Alumni, American Legion, Association of Space Explorers, and American Geophysical Union.

Military career

Buchli received his commission in the United States Marine Corps following graduation from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1967. He graduated from Basic Infantry Officer's Course and was subsequently sent to the Republic of Vietnam for a 1-year tour of duty, where he served as a Platoon Commander with the 9th Marine Regiment, and then as Executive Officer and Company Commander for B Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion. He returned to the United States in 1969 for naval flight officer training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. After earning his wings, he spent the next 2 years assigned to VMFA-122 at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. In 1973, he proceeded to duty with VMFA-115 at Royal Thai Air Base Nam Phong in Thailand, and again MCAS Iwakuni. Upon completing this tour of duty, he again returned to the United States and participated in the Marine Advanced Degree Program at the University of West Florida. He was assigned subsequently to VMFA-312 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, and in 1977, to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

He has logged over 4,200 hours flying time: 4,000 hours in jet aircraft, including combat in the F-4 Phantom II.

NASA career

Buchli became a NASA astronaut in August 1979, selected as part of Group 8. He was a member of the support crew for STS-1 and STS-2, and On-Orbit CAPCOM for STS-2. A veteran of four space flights, Buchli has orbited the Earth 319 times, traveling 7.74 million miles in 20 days, 10 hours, 25 minutes, 32 seconds. He served as a mission specialist on STS-51-C, STS-61-A, STS-29, and STS-48. From March 1989 till May 1992 he also served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office.

On September 1, 1992, Buchli retired from the Marine Corps and the NASA Astronaut Office to accept a position as manager of space station systems operations and requirements with Boeing Defense and Space Group, at Huntsville, Alabama. In April 1993, he was reassigned as Boeing deputy for payload operations, Space Station Freedom Program. Buchli currently serves as operations and utilization manager for space station, Boeing Defense and Space Group, at Houston, Texas.

Space flights

Awards and decorations

Buchli is a recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Vietnam Gallantry Cross with silver star. He is a 2019 inductee into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame.