Ken Bowersox
Official portrait, 1987
Born
Kenneth Dwane Bowersox

(1956-11-14) November 14, 1956 (age 67)
Other namesSox
EducationUnited States Naval Academy (BS)
Columbia University (MS)
Space career
NASA astronaut
RankCaptain, USN
Time in space
211d 14h 12m
SelectionNASA Group 12 (1987)
Total EVAs
2
Total EVA time
13h 17m
MissionsSTS-50
STS-61
STS-73
STS-82
STS-113 (up)
Expedition 6
Soyuz TMA-1 (down)
Mission insignia

Kenneth Dwane "Sox" Bowersox (born November 14, 1956) is a United States Navy officer, and a former NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of five Space Shuttle launches and an extended stay aboard the International Space Station.[1] When he launched on STS-73 at the age of 38 years and 11 months, he became the youngest person to command a Space Shuttle.

Early life and education

Bowersox was born November 14, 1956, in Portsmouth, Virginia,[2] but considers Bedford, Indiana his home town. As a young boy, his family lived in Oxnard, California for seven years and he attended Rio Real Elementary School.[3] Bowersox was active in the Boy Scouts of America, and is an Eagle Scout.[4] He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, before receiving his commission in 1978. A year later, in 1979, he received a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University in New York City, New York. Bowersox attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and graduated with Class 85A.[5] He served as a test pilot on A-7E and F/A-18 aircraft, and was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1987. Bowersox holds the rank of Captain in the United States Navy.

NASA career

He was selected as an Astronaut Pilot by NASA in 1987.

STS-50

Main article: STS-50

Bowersox making a sandwich during STS-50

Bowersox's first mission was STS-50 aboard the Columbia, where he served as the pilot.[6] The mission launched on June 25, 1992, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida at 16:12:23 UTC.[7]: 2  Its primary objective was to conduct experiments in the U.S. Microgravity Laboratory 1 (USML-1), a Spacelab module dedicated to the study of microgravity. This module housed experiments related to fluid dynamics, crystal growth, combustion, and biological processes.[7]: 23–26 

The mission concluded with a landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility, Florida on July 9, 1992, at 11:42:27 UTC.[7]: 5 

STS-61

Main article: STS-61

Bowersox (center) and crewmates in orbit during STS-61

Bowersox's second mission was STS-61 aboard the Endeavour, in which he served as the pilot.[8] The mission was launched on December 2, 1993, from Launch Complex 39B at 09:27:00 UTC.[9]: 2  The mission's primary objective was the first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope, during which astronauts performed a series of spacewalks to repair and upgrade the telescope's systems, thereby restoring its optical performance and extending its operational lifespan.[9]: 1  STS-61 concluded with the Endeavour landing successfully at the Shuttle Landing Facility on December 13, 1993, at 05:25:37 UTC.[9]: 4 

STS-73

Main article: STS-73

Bowersox pictured during STS-73, prior to re-entry

Bowersox's third mission was STS-73 aboard the Columbia, where he served for the first time as the mission commander.[10] The mission was launched on October 20, 1995, from Launch Complex 39B at 13:53:00 UTC.[11]: 3  STS-73's primary objective was to conduct a series of experiments in the U.S. Microgravity Laboratory-2 (USML-2), focusing on materials science, biotechnology, combustion science, and fluid mechanics in the unique microgravity environment of space.[11] The mission concluded with Columbia landing successfully at the Shuttle Landing Facility on November 5, 1995, at 11:45:21 UTC.[11]: 8 

STS-82

Main article: STS-82

Bowersox in the mid deck during STS-82

Bowersox's fourth mission in space was STS-82 aboard the Discovery, where he served as the mission commander. The mission launched on February 11, 1997, from Launch Complex 39A at 08:55:17 UTC.[12]: 3  STS-82 was the second servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.[13] During the mission, astronauts performed a series of spacewalks to install new instruments and conduct repairs on the telescope.

The tasks undertaken aimed to enhance the telescope's operational capabilities. Following the completion of its objectives, STS-82 concluded with Discovery landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility on February 21, 1997, at 08:32:00 UTC.[13]

ISS Expedition 6

Main article: Expedition 6

Bowersox pictured on the ISS

Bowersox served as the commander of Expedition 6 to the International Space Station (ISS). Alongside him were crewmates Nikolai Budarin and Donald Pettit.[14] As commander, Bowersox was responsible for the overall success of the mission and the safety of his crew.[15]

The expedition commenced with the crew's launch aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour from Launch Complex 39A on November 23, 2002, at 00:49 UTC.[14] They docked with the ISS on November 25, 2002, at 21:59 UTC.[16] During their stay, the crew conducted several scientific experiments in the microgravity of space and performed two spacewalks to continue outfitting and maintenance on the ISS.[15] Originally set to return aboard STS-114, the Expedition 6 crew's descent was shifted to the Russian Soyuz TMA-1 spacecraft due to the Columbia tragedy. They landed near Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on May 4, 2003, at 02:04 UTC.[17]

After NASA

Bowersox retired from NASA on September 30, 2006. On June 16, 2009 he was appointed vice president of Astronaut Safety and Mission Assurance at SpaceX. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame on June 8, 2010, four days after the first successful launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.[18][19]

It was reported on January 17, 2012, that Bowersox resigned from SpaceX in late December 2011.

Bowersox appeared on three episodes of the American TV show Home Improvement. Series 3, Episode 24, titled "Reality Bytes", aired 18 May 1994.

NASA administration

In July 2019, Bowersox became NASA's Acting Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate, replacing William Gerstenmaier.[20] In May 2020, Bowersox again became NASA's Acting Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate, replacing Douglas Loverro.[21]

Awards and decorations

Bowersox is a recipient of the National Defense Service Medal with award star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and NASA Space Flight Medal with four award stars.

On October 26, 1995, Bowersox threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Game 5 of the 1995 World Series.

References

  1. ^ Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (October 2019). "Kenneth D. Bowersox" (PDF). Biographical Data. Houston, Texas: NASA. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Men on station say they've wept". The Star Press. Associated Press. February 12, 2003. Archived from the original on August 25, 2023. Retrieved August 25, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Murillo, Sandra (February 8, 2003). "Pupils Feared for Pen Pal in Space". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  4. ^ "Scouting and Space Exploration". Boy Scouts of America. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  5. ^ USAF Test Pilot School 50 Years and Beyond. Privately Published. 1994. p. 240.
  6. ^ Ryba, Jeanne (31 March 2010). "STS-50". Mission Archives. NASA. Archived from the original on 6 May 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "STS-50 Space Shuttle Mission Report" (PDF). NASA. August 1992. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 May 2022. Retrieved 26 August 2023.
  8. ^ Ryba, Jeanne (31 March 2010). "STS-61". Mission Archives. NASA. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  9. ^ a b c "STS-61 Space Shuttle Mission Report" (PDF). NASA. February 1994. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 April 2023. Retrieved 26 August 2023.
  10. ^ Ryba, Jeanne (1 April 2010). "STS-73". Mission Archives. NASA. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  11. ^ a b c "STS-73 Space Shuttle Mission Report" (PDF). NASA. December 1995. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 April 2023. Retrieved 26 August 2023.
  12. ^ Debris/Ice/TPS Assessment and Integrated Photographic Analysis of Shuttle Mission STS-82 (PDF) (Technical report). NASA. April 1997. Retrieved 27 August 2023.
  13. ^ a b "STS-82". Mission Archives. NASA. November 23, 2007. Archived from the original on May 7, 2021. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center; Petty, John Ira (23 November 2002). "STS-113 Mission Control Center Status Report #1". Johnson News. Houston, Texas: NASA. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Expedition 6 Press Kit" (PDF). NASA. NASA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2023.
  16. ^ "STS-113 Mission Control Center Status Report #5". Johnson News. Houston, Texas: NASA. 25 November 2002. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 26 August 2023.
  17. ^ "A hard but safe landing". European Space Agency. ESA. 12 May 2003. Archived from the original on 6 May 2023. Retrieved 26 August 2023.
  18. ^ NASA TV airing U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction on June 5 http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/jun/HQ_M10-085_Astro_Hall_of_Fame.html
  19. ^ Best, Keilani (June 6, 2010). "Astronauts Enter Hall". Florida Today. Cocoa, Florida. p. 1B – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ Grush, Loren (July 10, 2019). "Head of NASA's human exploration program demoted as agency pushes for Moon return". The Verge. Archived from the original on April 3, 2023.
  21. ^ Feldscher, Jacqueline (19 May 2020). "NASA's human spaceflight chief ousted just before big launch". Politico. Archived from the original on 27 May 2023. Retrieved 19 May 2020.

Attribution

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.