Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
John M. Grunsfeld, Ph.D., was selected as a NASA astronaut in March 1992. A five-flight veteran, he has logged more than 58 days in space, including 58 hours and 30 minutes of extravehicular activity (EVA) over the course of eight spacewalks.
Grunsfeld’s first flight was STS-67 aboard Endeavour as a Mission Specialist. Launched on March 2, 1995, this record-setting 16-day mission was the second flight of the Astro observatory, a unique complement of three ultraviolet telescopes. The crew conducted observations around the clock to study the far ultraviolet spectra of faint astronomical objects and the polarization of ultraviolet light coming from hot stars and distant galaxies.
Grunsfeld served as Flight Engineer on his second flight, STS-81 Atlantis. This mission, launched January 12, was the fifth flight to dock with the Russian space station Mir and the second to exchange U.S. astronauts. The crew transferred three tons of supplies and experiments, and conducted research in the orbiter’s Spacehab Laboratory.
Grunsfeld returned to space aboard Discovery on December 19, 1999. As a Mission Specialist on STS-103, the third Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission, Grunsfeld performed two of the three EVAs required to enhance HST scientific capabilities, installing three new rate sensors, a data recorder and a transmitter. The new hardware restored the Hubble, which had been inactive since the failure of its gyroscopes, to working order.
STS-109 Columbia launched on March 1, 2002 and was the fourth HST servicing mission. As Payload Commander, Grunsfeld was responsible for the five EVAs over five consecutive days required to upgrade the Hubble’s systems. He performed three of these spacewalks, installing a new solar array, power control unit, and a cryogenic cooler on the infrared camera.
STS-125 Atlantis, launched on May 11, 2009, was the fifth HST servicing mission. After 19 years in orbit, the telescope received a major renovation that included the installation of a new wide-field camera, a new ultraviolet telescope, new batteries, a guidance sensor, gyroscopes and other repairs. Grunsfeld served as the lead once again for the 5 EVAs required to perform repairs, and install a new wide field camera, a UV telescope, batteries, sensors and insulation blankets. Grunsfeld performed three of the EVAs.
Grunsfeld retired from NASA in December 2009 to become the Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute and a professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. He later rejoined NASA in 2012 and is currently the agency Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
Grunsfeld was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 29, 2015.