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James Donald Halsell Jr Status: Active. Trained as: Astronaut. Profession: Pilot. Sex: Male. Marital Status: Married. Birth Date: 29 September 1956. Birth City: West Monroe. Birth State: Louisiana. Birth Country: USA. Nationality: American. Group: 1990 NASA Group. Date Selected: 17 January 1990. Number of Flights: 5. Total Time: 52.44 days.

NASA Official Biography

NAME: James Donald Halsell, Jr., (Lieutenant Colonel, USAF)
NASA Astronaut

Born September 29, 1956, in West Monroe, Louisiana. He enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, light aircraft flying, running and exercising.

Graduated from West Monroe High School, West Monroe, Louisiana, in 1974; received a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in 1978, a master of science degree in management from Troy University in 1983, and a master of science degree in space operations from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1985.

Enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, light aircraft flying, running and exercising.

Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).

Graduated first in test pilot school class and awarded the Liethen/Tittle Trophy for the Best Overall Record for Flying and Academic Performance (1986). Recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1995), the Defense Superior Service Medal (1996), and the NASA Space Flight Medal (1995).

Halsell graduated from the USAF Academy in 1978, and from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, in 1979. An F-4 pilot, qualified in conventional 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. His thesis prototyped a space rescue transfer vehicle using off-the-shelf equipment. He then attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and during the next four years he performed test flights in the F-4, the F-16, and the SR-71 aircraft.

Selected by NASA in January 1990, Halsell became an astronaut in July 1991. Assigned to the Astronaut Office Mission Support Branch, he initially served as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in the Mission Control Center. Subsequently, he was assigned to the Astronaut Support Personnel team which helps to prepare the Space Shuttle vehicles for flights at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. A three flight veteran, Halsell has logged over 645 hours in space. He was the pilot on STS-65 (July 8-23, 1994) and STS-74 (November 12-20, 1995), and was mission commander on STS-83 (Apr 4-8, 1997).

On STS-65, the seven-member crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 8, 1994, and returned there on July 23, 1994, setting a new flight duration record for the Space Shuttle program. The STS-65 mission flew the second International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-2). During the 15-day flight the crew conducted more than 80 experiments focusing on materials and life sciences research in microgravity. The mission was accomplished in 236 orbits of the Earth, traveling 6.1 million miles in 353 hours and 55 minutes.

STS-74 was NASA's second Space Shuttle mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. During the 8-day flight the Atlantis crew successfully attached a permanent docking module to Mir and transferred over 2,000 pounds of food, water and scientific supplies for use by the cosmonauts. The STS-74 mission was accomplished in 129 orbits of the Earth, traveling 3.4 million miles in 196 hours, 30 minutes, 44 seconds.

STS-83, the Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL-1) Spacelab mission, was cut short because of problems with one of the Shuttle's three fuel cell power generation units. Mission duration was 95 hours and 12 minutes, traveling 1.5 million miles in 63 orbits of the Earth.

Halsell will command the crew of STS-94 a 16-day re-flight of the Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL-1) Spacelab mission aboard Columbia. The mission will focus on materials and combustion science research in microgravity. Launch is scheduled for the Summer of 1997.

APRIL 1997

Flight Log

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Last update 3 May 2001.
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