The Robinson Library
The Robinson Library >> Technology >> Astronautics >> Biography
Joseph Peter Kerwin

Skylab astronaut

NASA photo of Joseph P. Kerwin

Biographical Data

Born February 19, 1932, in Oak Park, Illinois.

Married Shirley Ann Good
Children 3 daughters


Graduated from Fenwick High School, Oak Park, in 1949.

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy College of the Holy Cross, 1953
Doctor of Medicine Northwestern University Medical School, 1957
Internship District of Columbia General Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Military Experience

Attended the U.S. Navy School of Aviation Medicine at Pensacola, Florida.
Commissed a Captain in the Navy Medical Corps in July 1958.
Designated a naval flight surgeon in the U.S. Navy in December 1958.

Earned his wings at Beeville, Texas, in 1962.

NASA Experience

Selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in June 1965.

Science-pilot for the Skylab II mission, May 25 to June 22, 1973.

In charge of the on-orbit branch of the Astronaut Office, where he coordinated astronaut activity involving rendezvous, satellite deployment and retrieval, and other Space Shuttle payload operations.

Senior science representative in Australia for NASA, 1982-1983, wherein he served as liaison between NASA's Office of Space Tracking and Data Systems and Australia's Department of Science and Technology.

Director, Space and Life Sciences, Johnson Space Center, 1984-1987. Was responsible for direction and coordination of medical support to operational manned spacecraft programs, including health care and maintenance of the astronauts and their families.

Post-NASA Career

Retired from the Navy and left NASA in 1987; joined Lockheed.

Managed Lockheed's Extravehicular Systems Project, providing hardware for Space Station Freedom, 1988-1990.

With two other Lockheed employees, invented the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), tested for use by space-walking astronauts on the International Space Station.

Served on the Assured Crew Return Vehicle team.

Served as Study Manager on the Human Transportation Study, a NASA review of future space transportation architectures.

Led the Houston liaison group for Lockheed Martin's FGB contract, the procurement of the Russian "space tug" element of the International Space Station, 1994-1995.

Joined Systems Research Laboratories in June 1996 to serve as Program Manager of the team which bid to win the Medical Support and Integration Contract at the Johnson Space Center. Was then hired as President of KRUG Life Sciences, the company which beat out Systems Research Laboratories for the contract, in April 1997.


fellow, Aerospace Medical Association
member, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
member of the Board of Directors, National Space Biomedical Research Institute

Astronaut Biographies

Skylab II

Questions or comments about this page?

The Robinson Library >> Technology >> Astronautics >> Biography

This page was last updated on 11/21/2017.