James D. Halsell, Jr., (Colonel, USAF) became the Manager, Launch Integration, at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., effective July 17, 2000. In this capacity he is responsible for all aspects of Space Shuttle preparation, launch execution, and return of the orbiter to KSC. He is chair of the Mission Management Team for resolution of all prelaunch technical and operational issues, and is the final authority for the launch decision.
Halsell was born on September 29, 1956, in West Monroe, Louisiana, where his parents, Don and Jean Halsell, reside. Halsell received a Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering from the United States Air Force Academy in 1978, a Master of Science degree in management from Troy University, Ala., in 1983, and a Master of Science degree in space operations from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1985.
Halsell graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, in 1979. An F-4 pilot qualified in conventional and nuclear weapons deliveries, he served at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1980-1981, and Moody Air Force Base, Valdosta, Georgia, from 1982-1984. In 1984-1985, he was a graduate student at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. He then attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and during the next 4 years performed test flights in the F-4, the F-16, and the SR-71 aircraft.
Halsell was selected as an astronaut by NASA in January 1990. A five-flight veteran, Halsell has logged over 1,250 hours in space. He was the pilot on the STS-65 Spacelab mission (July 8-23, 1994) and the STS-74 Mir docking mission (November 12-20, 1995). He served as commander on the STS-83 (April 4-8, 1997) and the STS-94 (July 1-17, 1997) Spacelab missions, and the STS-101 mission to the International Space Station (May 19-29, 2000). From February-August 1998, Halsell served as NASA Director of Operations at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Russia.
Halsell's accomplishments have earned him many notable awards. He graduated first in USAF test pilot school and was awarded the Liethen-Tittle award for the best overall record for flying and academic performance (1986). He was the recipient of two Defense Meritorious Service Medals (1995, 1996), the Distinguished Flying Cross (1998), five NASA Space Flight Medals (1994, 1995, 1997, 2000), and recently was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2001) and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2002).
Halsell is married to the former Kathy D. Spooner of Merritt Island, Florida. The Halsell's have two children and reside on Merritt Island.