Marines who have gone on to become Astronauts

Essay by stinger85University, Bachelor'sA+, June 2002

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"Marine Corps Astronauts"

The United States Marine Corps has a long history with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which was established in 1958. John H. Glenn was the first Marine assigned to NASA's astronaut program in 1959. Since that time, there have continually been Marines serving with NASA.

Marine Corps Order (MCO) 3700.3A Astronaut Candidate Selection Program states: " NASA annually recruits astronaut candidates from both the civilian and military communities to support the space shuttle and space station programs. Approximately every two years, NASA board selects pilot and mission specialist astronauts candidates as needed. All positions are located at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and involve a one to two year training and evaluation program. The current Memorandum of Understanding between the DOD, the services, and NASA concerning astronauts governs the detailing of military personnel with NASA. The current tour length is 5 years with possible 1-year extensions.

Selected Marines will remain in an active duty status for pay, benefits, leave, and other military matters and can anticipate a return to normal career assignments upon completion of duty with NASA."

Once selected to the NASA training program the Astronaut "Candidate" goes through one to two years of training and evaluation. This includes orientation briefings and tours, scientific and technical briefings, instruction on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station systems and ground school to prepare for flight training. Candidates will then serve in a technical assignment until assigned to a space flight. After the initial training of up to two years, Marines serve in a support role for flight missions for a few more years. Most Marine Astronauts get their first opportunity to travel into space around the 3-6 year mark of their assignment.

There have been 19 Marine Officers selected into...