EDUCATION: Payton earned an undergraduate degree in astronautical engineering from the Air Force Academy and a Masters degree in astronautical/aeronautical engineering from Purdue University.
EXPERIENCE: Payton served over 23 years in the Air Force. During his Air Force career, Colonel Payton served in a variety of operational and managerial positions. These included pilot, instructor pilot, launch controller, spacecraft design manager, and technology developer. In 1985, he flew aboard Discovery as a payload specialist on the first military mission of the Space Shuttle program. Immediately prior to joining NASA, he was the Deputy for Technology in the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization responsible for the development and flight demonstration of advanced technologies such as DC-X, Clementine, and multiple lightweight interceptors.
Payton joined NASA in the spring of 1985 and managed the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) program containing the DC-XA, X-33, X-34, and future space transportation technologies. Payton was named Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology (Space Transportation Technology) at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, in October 1996.
Planned Department of Defense shuttle mission. Cancelled due to payload delays.
Planned Department of Defense or TDRS deployment shuttle mission. Cancelled due to IUS failure.
Manned five crew. Deployed USA 8 (Aquacade ELINT spacecraft). Orbits of Earth: 48. Landed at: Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Landing Speed: 342 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 839.00 m. Landing Rollout: 2,240.00 m. Payloads: Department of Defence classified payloads.