Join us April 6, 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to honor veteran astronauts who will be selected to receive one of the highest honors in their industry.
Dr. Janet Kavandi was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 1995. She left the active Astronaut Corps in 2008. She is most well-known in the astronaut community for her leadership of the Astronaut Corps and Flight Crew Operations, and for her service to the surviving family members of the Columbia accident. She helped to lead NASA’s safe Return-to-Flight after Columbia, and she oversaw the final flights of the Shuttle Program. She now manages a major NASA research center that advances the state-of-the-art for aerospace power generation and propulsion.
Dr. Kavandi’s first flight, STS-91, was aboard Discovery in June 1998. She served as a Mission Specialist, where she participated in the last joint operations on the Russian Space Station, Mir. She also worked with particle physicists at CERN to prepare for operation of the Space Shuttle’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment, designed to detect and identify high-energy cosmic particles. Her second flight, STS-99, was aboard Endeavor in February 2000. She served as a Mission Specialist and as the flight engineer for the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). During this mission, the international crew conducted radar mapping operations of more than 47 million miles of the Earth’s land surface to provide a highly accurate three-dimensional topographical map. The data is used for maps on smart phones as well as for terrain avoidance software in military aircraft. Her final flight was STS-104 aboard Atlantis in July 2001. She was a Mission Specialist and served as the flight engineer, prime robotics operator, and prime transfer and logistics operator for the 7A assembly flight to the International Space Station. Once aboard the Station, the crew installed the joint airlock “Quest”, along with pressurized oxygen and nitrogen tanks. The airlock enabled U.S. spacewalks using the Extravehicular Mobility Unit. She also assisted with three successful spacewalks as prime robotics operator, and she filmed footage for the “Space Station 3D” IMAX movie.
Dr. Kavandi was valedictorian of her Carthage Senior High School class in Carthage, Missouri. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Missouri Southern State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. She earned a Master of Science Degree in Chemistry from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and a Doctorate in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Washington. Prior to her time at NASA, she worked at Eagle Picher Industries in battery development for defense applications, and at the Boeing Aerospace Company, where she designed power systems for both space and defense programs.
Dr. Kavandi is an expert in her field and is a critical leader in the NASA community. After the Columbia accident, Kavandi was instrumental in providing long-term support to the astronauts’ families for more than a decade. She served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office during the safe Return-to-Flight of the Space Shuttle. She was Deputy Director and then Director of Flight Crew Operations during the final assembly of the International Space Station and for the final flights of the Space Shuttle. She also served as Deputy Director – Health and Human Performance, responsible for NASA flight surgeons and human research investigations on the International Space Station. She currently serves as the Center Director of the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center, overseeing research and development of space and aeronautics propulsion, power generation, communication, microgravity sciences and materials, along with leading development of the Orion Service Module and the Gateway Power and Propulsion Element. She is a member of the Senior Executive Service and a crucial member of NASA’s Senior Leadership Team.
In total, Janet has spent more than 33 days in space and has completed more than 535 Earth orbits. She is married to John Kavandi, and they have two adult children.