James H. Newman bigraphy, stories - Astronauts

James H. Newman : biography

October 16, 1956 -

Astronaut James H. Newman conducts an EVA from the Space Shuttle Discovery. James Hansen Newman (Ph.D.) is an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut who flew on four Space Shuttle missions.


Category:1956 births Category:Living people Category:American astronauts Category:Dartmouth College alumni Category:Rice University alumni


Newman graduated from La Jolla High School, San Diego, California, in 1974; he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in physics from Dartmouth College in 1978, a master of arts degree and a doctorate in physics from Rice University in 1982 and 1984, respectively.

Personal data

Newman was born on October 16, 1956, in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (now the Federated States of Micronesia), but considers San Diego, California, to be his hometown. He is married to Mary Lee Pieper and has three children. He is the brother of Eric H. Newman who is the father of Will L Newman. He enjoys hiking, soccer, softball, squash, and soaring. His mother, Ms. Ruth Hansen, and his father, Dr. William Newman, are both residents of San Diego. Mary Lee’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Wylie Bernard Pieper, reside in Houston, Texas.


Newman is a member of the American Physical Society and Sigma Xi.

NASA career

After graduating from Rice University in 1984, Newman did an additional year of post-doctoral work at Rice. His research interests are in atomic and molecular physics, specifically medium to low energy collisions of atoms and molecules of aeronomic interest. His doctoral work at Rice University was in the design, construction, testing, and use of a new position-sensitive detection system for measuring differential cross sections of collisions of atoms and molecules. In 1985, Dr. Newman was appointed as adjunct professor in the Department of Space Physics and Astronomy at Rice University. That same year he came to work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where his duties included responsibility for conducting flight crew and flight control team training for all mission phases in the areas of Orbiter propulsion, guidance, and control. He was working as a simulation supervisor when selected for the astronaut program. In that capacity, he was responsible for a team of instructors conducting flight controller training.

Selected by NASA in January 1990, Newman began astronaut training in July 1990. His technical assignments since then include: Astronaut Office Mission Support Branch where he was part of a team responsible for crew ingress/strap-in prior to launch and crew egress after landing; Mission Development Branch working on the Shuttle on-board laptop computers; Chief of the Computer Support Branch in the Astronaut Office, responsible for crew involvement in the development and use of computers on the Space Shuttle and Space Station. Detailed to the Space Shuttle Program Office in March 1999 for a two year tour of duty, Newman served as the RMS Integration Manager responsible for the Orbiter robotic arm and the Space Vision System. He flew as a mission specialist on STS-51 (1993), STS-69 (1995), STS-88 (1998) and STS-109 (2002). A veteran of four space flights, Dr. Newman has logged over 43 days in space, including six spacewalks totaling 43 hours and 13 minutes. If Dr Newman could do it all over again, he really wishes he could fly on an ISS Expedition like fellow astronaut classmate Dan Bursch.

Effective December 1, 2002, Newman served as NASA’s Director, Human Space Flight Programs, Russia. As NASA’s lead representative to the Russian Aviation and Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos) and its contractors, his role is to continue oversight of all human space flight operations, logistics, and technical functions, including NASA’s mission operations in Korolev and crew training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City.

While still assigned to the Astronaut Office Newman has also worked in various assignments at NASA. Detailed to the Space Shuttle Program Office from March 1999 to March 2001, Newman served as the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) Integration Manager responsible for the Orbiter Canadian robotic arm and the Space Vision System.

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