Astronaut Biography: Michael E. Fossum
Michael E. Fossum, mission specialist for STS-124, poses for a preflight photo.
Credit: NASA

NAME: Michael Fossum
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born December 19, 1957 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and grew up in McAllen, Texas. Married to the former Melanie J. London. They have 4 children. 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, is deceased.

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

SPECIAL HONORS: Scouting awards: Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Beaver, and Vigil Member of the Order of the Arrow. Distinguished Military Graduate from Texas A&M University and Squadron Commander in the Corps of Cadets. Awarded the USAF Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters 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 completing his graduate work at the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1981, he was detailed to NASA-Johnson Space Center where he supported Space Shuttle flight operations . He was selected for Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, where he graduated in 1985.

After graduation, Fossum served at Edwards AFB as a Flight Test Engineer in the F-16 Test Squadron, working on a variety of airframe, avionics, and armament development programs. From 1989 to 1992, he served as a Flight Test Manager at Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center. Fossum resigned from active duty in 1992 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.

NASA EXPERIENCE: In January 1993, Fossum was employed by NASA as a systems engineer. His primary responsibilities were to evaluate the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for use as an emergency escape vehicle for the new space station. Later in 1993, Fossum was selected to represent the Flight Crew Operations Directorate in an extensive redesign of the International Space Station.

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

Selected by NASA in June 1998, he reported for training in August 1998. Astronaut Candidate Training included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Fossum has previously served as the Astronaut Office Lead for Space Station flight software development.

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

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

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

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