Meet Astronaut Don ThomasMay 18, 2020 - May 22, 2020 Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
NASA selects astronauts from a diverse pool of applicants with a wide variety of backgrounds from scientists to pilots. From the thousands of applications received, only a few are chosen to be a member of the elite NASA Astronaut Corps. Each day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visitors get the rare opportunity to meet veteran NASA astronauts.
You may meet the Astronaut of the Day at any of the following opportunities. See the Daily Schedule for times when you arrive.
- The daily Astronaut Encounter briefings allow time for a presentation from the astronaut and a discussion, so bring your questions and your camera.
- Visitors can also get an astronaut’s autograph at The Space Shop at various times during the day.
- With an additional purchase, visitors can enjoy an exclusive buffet lunch and group presentation during Dine With An Astronaut. Offered at noon daily, lunch includes a question and answer session and photo opportunities!
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Thomas completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Case Western Reserve University in 1977. He went on to Cornell University earning both a Master of Science degree and a doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering.
Thomas began his NASA career at the Johnson Space Center working as a materials engineer on the Space Shuttle program. In 1990 he was selected in NASA’s 13th group of astronauts. He went on to fly on four Space Shuttle missions; STS-65 aboard Columbia in 1994, STS-70 aboard Discovery in 1995, and STS-83 and STS-94 aboard Columbia in 1997. During his four missions he spent a total of 44 days in space and orbited the Earth 692 times.
From 1999-2000 he was NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia working at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City. From 2003-2006 he was the International Space Station Program Scientist directing and planning the experiments performed on the ISS.
From 2007-2015 Thomas headed up the Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University, an outreach initiative that targeted elementary, middle, and high school students to encourage them to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering. Today he is a professional speaker and continues his outreach efforts inspiring students to reach for the stars.
Meet Astronaut Don Thomas