Michael E. Fossum : biography
Michael Edward Fossum (born December 19, 1957 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota) is an American astronaut. He flew into space on board the NASA Space Shuttle missions STS-121 and STS-124 and served as a mission specialist of Expedition 28 and commander of Expedition 29 aboard the International Space Station.
The first time Fossum became interested in being an astronaut was at age 12 while watching the Apollo 11 moon landing. He rekindled this dream while he was assigned by the Air Force at Johnson Space Center during the early 1990s.
In January 1993, Fossum was employed by NASA as a Systems Engineer. His primary responsibilities were to evaluate the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for use as an emergency escape vehicle for the new international space station. Later in 1993, Fossum was selected to represent the Flight Crew Operations Directorate in an extensive redesign of the International Space Station (ISS). After this, he continued work for the crew office and Mission Operations Directorate in the area of assembly operations. In 1996, Fossum supported the Astronaut Office as a Technical Assistant for Space Shuttle, supporting design and management reviews. In 1997, he served as a Flight Test Engineer on the X-38, a prototype crew escape vehicle for the ISS, which was under development in house by the Engineering Directorate at NASA-JSC and flight tested at NASA Dryden.
Fossum was selected by NASA as an Astronaut Candidate in June 1998, having applied during almost every selection period since 1988 (7 times). He reported for training in August 1998. Fossum previously served as the Astronaut Office Lead for ISS flight software development. As a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control, Fossum supported several flights, including Lead CAPCOM for ISS Expedition 6. A veteran of three space flights, STS-121 in 2006, STS-124 in 2008 and Expedition 28/29 in 2011, Fossum has logged more than 194 days in space, including more than 48 hours of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) in seven spacewalks.
Michael Fossum spent his early life in McAllen, Texas. He graduated from McAllen High School in 1976. He then attended the University of Texas–Pan American in Edinburg, Texas and later went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1980, followed by a Master of Science degree in systems engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1981. In 1997, Fossum received a Master of Science degree in physical science from the University of Houston–Clear Lake.
Fossum with a Texas A&M helmet Fossum is married to the former Melanie J. London and they have four children together. In his spare time he enjoys activities with his family and pastimes such as jogging and backpacking.
As an Eagle Scout, he is also very involved with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) as well as the Order of the Arrow and is the Scoutmaster of Troop 1598 based in Webster,TX. The BSA has honored him with its Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. On May 30, 2007, Fossum was invited to be the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony at Philmont Scout Ranch, starting off the ranch's 2007 season by relating to the staff there how his experiences both in scouting and at Philmont helped him overcome many challenges in his life.
He still keeps a close affiliation with Texas A&M University and the University's Corps of Cadets, from which he graduated in 1980. Since returning from his first mission in 2006, he has been involved in many different Texas A&M speaking events, including Elephant Walk, Aggie Muster, JCAP (Corps of Cadets), and the presentation of an Aggie flag flown on STS-121 at a Texas A&M football game. On March 6, 2010, Fossum became the youngest person inducted into the Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor. In 2011, NASA worked with the Texas A&M School of Engineering to host a live interview from the ISS between Fossum and Aggie students.
A Junior High School in McAllen, Texas has been named after Fossum.
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