NASA astronaut and head of the agency’s science programs John Grunsfeld will soon join the ranks of iconic space explorers that include Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and Neil Armstrong.
Grunsfeld has been selected as one of four 2015 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees. He is best known as a robotics expert who conducted three missions to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. The quartet will be inducted during an official public ceremony on May 30th at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.
This year’s inductees include Steven Lindsey and Kent Rominger, two former military aviators who became space shuttle pilots and commanders on key shuttle missions to build the International Space Station; and M. Rhea Seddon, a medical doctor and payload commander on life sciences missions who was one of NASA’s first female astronauts. They comprise the 14th group of space shuttle astronauts named to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, bringing the total number of members to 91.
“I am both honored and humbled to join this prestigious group of extraordinary individuals, “said Grunsfeld. “I have had the privilege to be a member of many high-performance teams at NASA, both on and off the planet. Our journey in going beyond our home planet is a human endeavor, and in the greatest tradition of exploration, past, present, and future spacefarers will continue to be enduring catalysts for inspiration in our quest to unravel the mysteries of the Universe. "
This year not only marks the 25th anniversary of Hubble in orbit, but 25 years of Hall of Fame inductees. The organization was conceived in the 1980s by the six remaining Mercury astronauts as a place where space explorers could be remembered. Inductees include Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and space shuttle astronauts.
Each year, inductees are selected by a committee of Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians and journalists. The process is administered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, in Florida. To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction. Candidates must be a U.S. citizen and a NASA-trained commander, pilot or mission specialist who has orbited the earth at least once.
Grunsfeld was selected as a NASA astronaut in March 1992. A five-flight veteran (STS-67/Endeavour, STS-81/Atlantis, STS-103/Discovery, STS-109/Columbia and STS-125/Atlantis), he has logged more than 58 days in space, including 58 hours and 30 minutes of extravehicular activity (EVA) over the course of eight spacewalks.
On his last three missions, he worked to repair Hubble. As a mission specialist on STS-103 in December 1999, he performed two of the three EVAs required to restore the Hubble to working order after the failure of its gyroscopes.
As payload commander of STS-109/Columbia in March 2002, Grunsfeld was responsible for the five EVAs over five consecutive days required to upgrade Hubble’s systems. He performed three of these spacewalks, installing a new solar array, power control unit and other equipment. STS-125/Atlantis in May 2009 was the fifth and final Hubble servicing mission. Grunsfeld served as the lead once again for the five EVAs required to perform repairs and to install crucial new equipment. He performed three of the five spacewalks.
He retired from NASA in December 2009 to become the Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute and a professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. He rejoined NASA in 2012 as the Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Grunsfeld graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in physics. He subsequently earned a master's degree and, in 1988, a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago using a cosmic ray experiment on space shuttle Challenger for his doctoral thesis. From Chicago, he joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology as a Senior Research Fellow in Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy.
For a complete listing of inductees, visit: