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2004 Astronaut Candidate
Shane Kimbrough, Mission Specialist

Shane Kimbrough, Mission Specialist. Photo credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center. Many people associate an astronaut career with adventure and glory, but for Shane Kimbrough, it's all about service.

"Service to this nation has always been important to me," Kimbrough says. "The benefits to society as a result of NASA's discoveries are phenomenal. That's what motivated me to want to work here."

Image left: 2004 Astronaut Candidate Shane Kimbrough. Click for High Resolution Image. Photo credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center.

Kimbrough, 36, has been selected to begin training this summer as a mission specialist in NASA's 2004 astronaut candidate class. It's a new job that won't take him far from home. He already works for NASA in Houston, as an engineer helping to train astronauts how to land the Space Shuttle.

"My family is ecstatic about my selection," he says. "It is especially nice to be in one place for a while."

Kimbrough has moved around a lot, first as the son of a soldier and now as a U.S. Army officer. He graduated high school at The Lovett School in Atlanta and is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in aerospace engineering and was captain of the baseball team. He earned a Master's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

As an Army pilot, Kimbrough trained to fly both airplanes and helicopters and was assigned to fly Apache helicopters. He served in the first Gulf War, Desert Storm in 1991, as a platoon leader in an Apache company. "It was one of the most interesting experiences of my life," he says. "It truly opened my eyes to how fortunate we are as a country."

MAJ. SHANE KIMBROUGH (U.S. ARMY), Mission Specialist

AGE: 36

BORN: Killeen, Texas

EDUCATION: BS, Aerospace Engineering, U.S. Military Academy, 1989; MS, Operations Research, Georgia Tech, 1998

CURRENT JOB: Flight Simulation Engineer on the Shuttle Training Aircraft, Johnson Space Center

QUICK FACT: Was captain of the baseball team at West Point and served as an Apache platoon leader during Desert Storm

QUOTE: "I have been fascinated by space travel since I was a kid. I want to explore the unknown."

In his Army career, he also taught math at West Point, including courses such as calculus and statistics. "What an incredibly rewarding experience to interact with the cadets who are now Army officers, defending our country overseas."

Kimbrough, now an Army major, is now married and a father of three. He says his hero is his 90-year-old grandfather.

Kimbrough is setting his sights on the new Vision for Space Exploration. "Once I finish my first year of astronaut training," he says, "I hope to be assigned to several technical jobs so I can improve myself, professionally. But then I'd be thrilled to take on any space mission -- even to the moon or Mars.

"I have been fascinated by space travel since I was a kid," he says. "I want to explore the unknown."