Astronaut Biography: Michael E. Fossum

Astronaut Biography: Michael E. Fossum
Michael E. Fossum, mission specialist for STS-124, poses for a preflight photo. (Image credit: NASA)

NAME: Michael Fossum
NASA Astronaut

PERSONALDATA: Born December 19, 1957 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and grew upin McAllen, Texas. Married to the former Melanie J. London. They have 4children. He enjoys family activities, motorcycle riding, and backpacking.Mike?s main hobby is serving as Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop. His mother,Patricia A. Fossum, resides in Houston, Texas. His father, Merlyn E. Fossum, isdeceased.

EDUCATION: Graduated from McAllen High School, McAllen, Texas, in 1976. Bachelor of science in mechanical engineeringfrom Texas A&M University, 1980. Master of science in systemsengineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, 1981. Master of sciencein physical science (space science) from the University of Houston-Clear Lake,1997.

SPECIALHONORS: Scoutingawards: Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Beaver, and Vigil Member of the Orderof the Arrow. Distinguished Military Graduate from Texas A&M University and Squadron Commander in the Corpsof Cadets. Awarded the USAF Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak LeafClusters and various other service awards. Distinguished Graduate from the USAF Test Pilot School, Class 85A .

EXPERIENCE:Fossum received his commission in the US Air Force from Texas A&M University in May 1980.

After completinghis graduate work at the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1981, he wasdetailed to NASA-Johnson Space Center where he supported Space Shuttleflight operations . He was selected for Air Force Test Pilot School at EdwardsAir Force Base, California, where he graduated in 1985.

Aftergraduation, Fossum served at Edwards AFB as a Flight Test Engineer in the F-16Test Squadron, working on a variety of airframe, avionics, and armamentdevelopment programs. From 1989 to 1992, he served as a Flight Test Manager atDetachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center. Fossum resigned from active duty in1992 in order to work for NASA and is currently a Colonel in the USAF Reserves.He has logged over 1000 hours in 34 different aircraft.

NASAEXPERIENCE: InJanuary 1993, Fossum was employed by NASA as a systems engineer. His primaryresponsibilities were to evaluate the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for use as anemergency escape vehicle for the new space station. Later in 1993, Fossum wasselected to represent the Flight Crew Operations Directorate in an extensiveredesign of the International Space Station.

After this,he continued work for the crew office and Mission Operations Directorate in thearea of assembly operations. In 1996, Fossum supported the Astronaut Office asa Technical Assistant for Space Shuttle, supporting design and managementreviews. In 1997, he served as a Flight Test Engineer on the X-38, a prototypecrew escape vehicle for the new Space Station, which was under developmentin-house by the Engineering Directorate at NASA-JSC and being flight tested atNASA-Dryden.

Selected byNASA in June 1998, he reported for training in August 1998. Astronaut CandidateTraining included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific andtechnical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International SpaceStation systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Fossumhas previously served as the Astronaut Office Lead for Space Station flightsoftware development.

As aCapsule Communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control, Fossum supported severalflights, including Lead CAPCOM for Space Station Expedition-6. Mike Fossumcompleted his first space flight on STS-121 in 2006, logging over 306 hours inspace, including over 21 hours in 3 EVAs. Fossum is assigned to the crew ofSTS-124 as the lead spacewalker. The STS-124 mission to the International SpaceStation will be the second of three flights that will launch components tocomplete the Japanese ?Kibo? laboratory. Launch is targeted for May 2008.

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE:STS-121 (July 4-17, 2006), was areturn-to-flight test mission and assembly flight to the International SpaceStation. During the 13-day flight the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery testednew equipment and procedures that increase the safety of space shuttles, andproduced never-before-seen, high-resolution images of the Shuttle during andafter its July 4 th launch. The crew also performed maintenance on the spacestation and delivered and transferred more than 28,000 pounds of supplies andequipment, and a new Expedition 13 crew member to the station.

Mike Fossumand Piers Sellers performed 3 EVAs to test the 50-ft robotic arm boom extensionas a work platform. They removed and replaced a cable that provides power,command and data and video connections to the station?s mobile transporter railcar. They also tested techniques for inspecting and repairing the reinforcedcarbon-carbon segments that protect the shuttle?s nose cone and leading edge ofthe wings. The STS-121 mission was accomplished in 306 hours, 37 minutes and 54seconds.

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