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Space shuttle ties

To the Valley

Michael Baker: Born in Memphis, Tenn., but considers Lemoore to be his hometown, graduating from Lemoore High in 1971. Baker is NASA’s manager for international and crew operations for the International Space Station in Houston. He was commander for Atlantis in 1997 and Endeavour in 1994, and was the pilot of Columbia in 1992 and Atlantis in 1991. Baker trained to fly A-7s at Lemoore in 1977 and was deployed to Japan with Lemoore-based squadrons before becoming a test pilot in 1981.

Barbara Morgan: Born and raised in Fresno. A 1969 graduate of Hoover High School, she became a teacher and settled in Idaho. In 1985, she was named the backup to Christa McAuliffe in NASA’s Teacher in Space program. McAuliffe died along with six crewmates in the 1986 explosion of Challenger. Morgan returned to teaching and, in 1998, was selected by NASA as its first educator astronaut. In recent years, she has worked in different NASA branches, including serving in Mission Control as a prime communicator with crews in space. Expected to launch aboard Endeavour.

James “Ox” van Hoften: Born in Fresno but raised in the Bay Area. A Navy pilot, he joined NASA in 1978 and flew as a mission specialist on Discovery in 1985 and Challenger in 1984.

To Fresno State

Scott “Doc” Horowitz: Commanded Discovery in 2001 and is the associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. He previously flew as the pilot for Atlantis in 2000, Discovery in 1997 and Columbia in 1996. In 1991, Horowitz taught graduate-level courses in mechanical engineering as a professor for California State University, Fresno, before he was selected by NASA in 1992.

Rick Husband: Died Feb. 1, 2003, as Columbia was returning to Earth from a 16-day mission. Husband was the commander of the mission. He previously flew as the pilot of Discovery in 1999. Husband earned a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno, in 1990 through an extension program at Edwards Air Force Base. Husband was honored in 2002 as one of Fresno State’s distinguished alumni.

Donald McMonagle: Commander for Atlantis in 1994 and later became a senior space shuttle program manager. He previously flew as the pilot for Endeavour in 1993 and Discovery in 1991. McMonagle, now retired from the U.S. Air Force and NASA, earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno, in 1985 while he was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base.

Steven Nagel: Commander for Columbia in 1993 and Atlantis in 1991, piloted Challenger in 1985 and was a mission specialist for Discovery in 1985. Nagel, now retired from the U.S. Air Force, earned a master of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1978 from Fresno State and in 1994 was named one of the university’s distinguished alumni.

To Lemoore Naval Air Station

Dominic Antonelli: Chosen by NASA in 2000 to become an astronaut. He earned his Navy wings in 1991 and in the early 1990s flew F/A-18s with Lemoore’s VFA-146 aboard the carrier USS Nimitz.

Jeffrey Ashby: Commander aboard Atlantis in 2002. He previously piloted Endeavour in 2001 and Columbia in 1999. Ashby flew F/A-18s in the Navy and was the squadron commander of Lemoore’s VFA-94 aboard the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln before joining NASA in 1995.

Kenneth Bowersox: Expedition 6 commander aboard the International Space Station in 2002-03 and later served as NASA’s director of flight crew operations in Houston. He previously commanded the shuttle Discovery in 1997 and Columbia in 1995, and piloted Endeavour in 1993 and Columbia in 1992. After earning his Navy wings in 1981, Bowersox flew A-7s with Lemoore’s VA-22 aboard the carrier USS Enterprise.

Michael Coats: Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. He was commander for Discovery in 1991 and in 1989, and piloted Discovery in 1984. Coates flew A-7s with Lemoore’s VA-192 from 1970 to 1972, and in 1972 and 1973 was a flight instructor with Lemoore’s VA-122.

Stephen Frick: Piloted Atlantis in 2002 and is assigned to command a shuttle mission scheduled for December 2007. He earned his wings in 1988 and was with Lemoore training squadron VFA-125 when he was chosen by NASA in 1996.

Dominic Gorie: Commander aboard Endeavour in 2001 and is assigned to command a shuttle mission in early 2008. He previously piloted Endeavour in 2000 and Discovery in 1998. He flew F/A-18s with Lemoore’s VFA-132 in 1983 and 1984 aboard the carrier USS Coral Sea.

Lisa Nowak: Mission specialist on Discovery in July 2006. Nowak went through initial A-7 training at Lemoore after earning her Navy wings in 1987. Nowak was fired by NASA in March, a month after she was arrested on charges of attempted kidnapping in Florida. Authorities say she drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront a romantic rival.

William “Bill” Oefelein: Piloted Discovery in December 2006. Oefelein earned his Navy wings in 1990 and, after initial F/A-18 Hornet training, served with Lemoore squadron VFA-146 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. He was based at Lemoore until becoming a test pilot in 1995.

John Phillips: Expedition 11 science officer and flight engineer aboard the International Space Station in 2005. He previously flew as a mission specialist on Endeavour in 2001. After earning his Navy wings and training in 1974, Phillips flew A-7s with Lemoore squadron VA-155 aboard the carrier USS Oriskany.

Kenneth Reightler Jr.: Piloted Discovery in 1994 and 1991. After earning his Navy wings in 1974, he was an aerospace engineering officer who went through F/A-18 transition training with Lemoore’s VFA-125 in the early 1980s.

Frederick “Rick” Sturckow: Commander aboard Atlantis this summer and previously piloted Endeavour in 1998. Sturckow, a Marine Corps colonel, went through his initial F/A-18 Hornet flight training with Lemoore squadron VFA-125 in 1987 before his assignment to a Marine strike squadron in South Carolina.

Joe Tanner: Mission specialist aboard Atlantis in September 2006, performing a pair of spacewalks on a mission to the International Space Station. Tanner previously flew as a mission specialist on Endeavour in 2000, on Discovery in 1997 and Atlantis in 1994. Tanner flew A-7E Corsair attack jets with Lemoore squadron CA-94 aboard the USS Coral Sea after earning his Navy wings in 1975.

James Wetherbee: Commander aboard Endeavour in 2002, Discovery in 2001, Atlantis in 1997, Discovery in 1995 and Columbia in 1992, and piloted aboard Columbia in 1990. Wetherbee flew F/A-18 Hornets with Lemoore’s VFA-132 in 1984 before he was selected by NASA to become an astronaut.

Terrence Wilcutt: Commander aboard Atlantis in 2000 and is manager of safety and mission assurance for the space shuttle program in Houston. He previously flew as the commander of Endeavour in 1998 and pilot for Atlantis in 1996 and Endeavour in 1994. Wilcutt, a Marine pilot, was a weapons and air-combat instructor with Lemoore’s VFA-125 before becoming test pilot in 1986.

Donald Williams: Commander for Atlantis in 1989 and piloted Discovery in 1985. He later served as chief of mission support in NASA’s astronaut office. Williams earned his Navy wings in 1966 and flew A-4 Skyhawk attack jets with Lemoore’s VA-113 in two deployments to Vietnam. He later served two years as a flight instructor with Lemoore’s VA-125, before serving two more Vietnam deployments with Lemoore’s VA-97 aboard the USS Enterprise.

Sources: NASA astronaut biographies, U.S. Navy squadron records

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