Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts

Susan J. Helms

Susan J Helms

Five-time space shuttle astronaut Susan J. Helms, (Major General, USAF), has logged 5,064 hours in space and holds the world record for the longest space walk.

Helms’ first mission was in January 1993, aboard STS-54 space shuttle Endeavour. The primary objective of this mission was to deploy a $200 million Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-F). Her second mission was aboard STS-64 in September 1994 as a flight engineer and the primary Remote Manipulator System (RMS) operator. From June 20 to July 7, 1996, aboard STS-78, Helms was the payload commander and flight engineer on the longest space shuttle mission to date. The mission included studies sponsored by ten nations and five space agencies. Helms flew again aboard STS-101 in May 2000 and performed critical repairs to extend the life of the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) on the International Space Station.

From March to August 2001, Helms became the first woman to live and serve aboard the International Space Station as a member of the Expedition-2 crew. Helms installed the Quest Joint Airlock to the Unity module using the newly installed Canadarm2. The crew welcomed a visiting Soyuz crew that included the first space tourist. Helms also performed a world record 8 hour and 56 minute spacewalk to install hardware to the external body of the laboratory module.

After a 12-year career with NASA that included 211 days in space, Helms returned to the U.S. Air Force in July 2002. In 2006, she assumed the duties of Commander of the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base. Helms is currently the Director of Plans and Policy, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Susan J. Helms was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 7, 2011.