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Chris Rink
(757) 864-6786

Written by:
Bob Allen
(757) 864-6176

RELEASE : 98-026
NASA Langley Research Scientist Chosen For Astronaut Training

NASA Langley research scientist Leland D. Melvin is among 25 people chosen for astronaut training by the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Leland MelvinImage to right: Leland Melvin. Credit: NASA/Jeff Caplan. Click on the image to read Leland's astronaut bio.

Melvin will report to the Johnson Space Center on Aug. 24 to begin training and evaluation as a mission specialist. After about one year of training, he and the other members of the 1998 astronaut class will receive technical assignments within the Astronaut Office in preparation for flight assignments aboard the space shuttle and up to eight months at a time aboard the International Space Station.

"I'm ready to do whatever it takes to support the country and the Agency," said Melvin.

Melvin currently works in NASA Langley's Non-Destructive Evaluation Sciences Branch where he serves as the Principal Investigator on the development of the Fiber Optic Sensing System (FOSS). The FOSS will be used to check for hydrogen leaks in the aft compartment of the space shuttle. In addition, Melvin is the X-33 Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring (IVHM) program manager. The IVHM system is a network of optical fiber sensors that will be used to quickly and accurately determine the condition of space vehicles upon their return from orbit. It is envisioned that IVHM will often eliminate the need for complicated and time-consuming inspections that occur between space flights.

The X-33 program is a joint NASA/industry effort to produce a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) that will cost less to operate and require less turnaround time between flights. The RLV will use composite cryogenic fuel tanks to fly into space and back without the need for external tanks or disposable solid-rocket boosters.

Melvin was born Feb. 15, 1964 in Lynchburg, Va. He earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Richmond in 1986 and a master's degree in materials science from the University of Virginia in 1991.

The Astronaut Class of 1998 includes eight pilot and 17 mission specialist candidates, including Barbara Morgan, who was named as an educator mission specialist in January. Of the 25 class members, 21 are male and four are female.

Melvin is available for interviews by calling the NASA Langley News Media Office at (757) 864-6786.

For interview requests, please follow NASA's Astronaut Appearance Request Guidelines.

+ Leland Melvin's astronaut biography

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text-only version of this release