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John Howard Casper

four-time Space Shuttle astronaut

NASA photo of John Casper

Biographical Data

Born July 9, 1943, in Greenville, South Carolina

Married Beth Taylor
Children four


Graduated from Chamblee High School, Chamblee, Georgia, in 1961

Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science United States Air Force Academy, 1966
Master of Science in Astronautics Purdue University, 1967
Air Force Air War College, 1986

Military Experience

Earned pilot wings at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in 1968.
F-100 training at Luke AFB, Arizona.

Flew 229 combat missions with the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam.

Flew F-100 and F-4 aircraft while assigned to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom.

Graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, and then became Chief of the F-4 Test Team. Flew initial performance and weapons separation tests for the F-4G Wild Weasel aircraft and avionics tests for F-4E and A-7 aircraft.

As Operations Officer and later Commander of the 6513th Test Squadron, conducted flight test programs to evaluate and develop tactical aircraft weapons systems.

As Deputy Chief of the Special Projects Office at the Pentagon, developed USAF positions on requirements, operational concepts, policy and force structure for tactical and strategic programs.

NASA Career

Selected as an astronaut in May 1984.

Pilot on STS-36 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in February-March, 1990, which carried classified Department of Defense payloads

Commander of STS-54, Space Shuttle Endeavour, in January 1993, which deployed a NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite. Flight was also the first to shut down and restart a fuel cell in flight, a procedure that could conceivably need to be carried out aboard the Space Station.

Commander of STS-62, Space Shuttle Columbia, in March 1994, which carried the United States Microgravity Payload and Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology payloads.

Commander of STS-77, Space Shuttle Endeavour, in May 1996, which performed a record number of rendezvous sequences.

Director of Safety, Reliability, and Quality Assurance at the Johnson Space Center, in which capacity was responsible for all safety, reliability and quality activities for JSC's human spaceflight programs, including the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle, Space Launch Initiative, and Crew Return Vehicles. Also responsible for planning, directing and implementing an effective institutional safety program to prevent injuries, loss of life, or loss of capital assets.

Following the Columbia accident in February 2003, he became the NASA Mishap Investigation Team's deputy for the debris recovery operation. Also Co-Chair of the Return-To-Flight Planning Team, which was charged with addressing all actions necessary to comply with the Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendations.

He is currently with the Orion Program as special assistant for Program Integration.


Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Association of Space Explorers
Society of Experimental Test Pilots
USAF Academy Association of Graduates

Honors and Awards

Air Force Commendation Medal (6)
Air Medal (11)
Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Legion of Merit Award (2)
NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2)
NASA Exceptional Service Award
NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership
NASA Space Flight Medal (4)
National Intelligence Medal of Achievement
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry

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This page was last updated on 05/27/2017.