Ken Bowersox

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Ken Bowersox
Ken Bowersox
Country: United States
Organization: NASA
selected on June 5, 1987
(12th NASA Group)
Calls: 5 space flights
Start of the
first space flight:
June 25, 1992
Landing of the
last space flight:
May 4, 2003
Time in space: 211d 14h 12min
EVA inserts: 2
EVA total duration: 13h 17min
retired on September 30, 2006
Space flights

Kenneth Duane "Ken" Bowersox (born November 14, 1956 in Portsmouth , Virginia , USA ) is a NASA official and former American astronaut .


Bowersox grew up in Bedford ( Indiana ) that left in 1974 from high school and attended the United States Naval Academy in Maryland . He finished his studies in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering. In the same year he received his officer license from the US Navy , which was followed by a degree in mechanical engineering with a master's degree from Columbia University in 1979 .

Military career

Subsequently, Bowersox was trained as a marine pilot. In 1981 he was assigned to the attack squadron 22, whose members call themselves "Fighting Redcocks". Stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise , he flew missions with the Vought A-7E "Corsair II" . Among other things, the unit patrolled the Pacific between September 1982 and May 1983.

Bowersox attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base and passed the exam in 1985. He then worked at the Navy's weapons testing center on the edge of the Mojave Desert . For a year and a half he worked in China Lake as a test pilot with type A-7E and McDonnell Douglas F / A-18 aircraft .

NASA activity

Bowersox came to NASA with the twelfth group of astronauts in June 1987 . He was one of seven candidates for the position of shuttle pilot. The one-year basic training ended in autumn 1988.


In late 1990, Bowersox, nicknamed "Sox," was set up for its maiden flight into low-earth orbit. Originally, he was supposed to be a mission specialist on STS-50 . When pilot John Casper was reassigned to another flight, Bowersox took his place. The mission took place in the summer of 1992 and was called the United States Microgravity Laboratory (USML). Experiments from the fields of materials science, process engineering and fluid physics were carried out on the shuttle flight, which was the longest to date, at 13 days and 19 hours.


Bowersox's second deployment as a pilot was with STS-61 in December 1993. It was the first repair mission of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The main mirror of the observatory, which had started three and a half years earlier, was faulty, which led to blurred images. It took five Spacecraft Operations (EVAs) and four astronauts to install the COSTAR correction instrument and WF / PC-II camera. In addition, the solar panels used to power the HST were replaced.


Three years after the first USML company, the follow-up mission was carried out in October / November 1995. Bowersox was appointed to command STS-73 . Many of the experiments carried out on the 16-day Spacelab flight were already on the STS-50.


STS-82 was the second HST repair flight. This time, Bowersox led the ten day mission in February 1997. As with STS-61, five EVAs were conducted (only four were planned). In addition to a tape recorder, which was replaced by a core memory, the HST received the NICMOS infrared camera and the STIS spectroscope . Two spectrographs have been expanded for this purpose.

In late 1997, Bowersox was appointed commander of the third permanent crew of the International Space Station (ISS). He trained with his Russian colleagues Deschurow and Tyurin until astronaut Culbertson surprisingly took over from Bowersox two years later .

ISS expedition 6

Since the spring of 2001, Bowersox has been preparing as commander of ISS Expedition 6 for a six-month deployment on the space station. Together with Don Pettit and Nikolai Budarin , he started the shuttle mission STS-113 towards the ISS at the end of November 2002. He made two exits with flight engineer Pettit: In mid-January 2003 they worked on the P1 carrier and carried out maintenance work in early April. After 156 days, the three spacemen returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-1 .

Bowersox has headed the Flight Crew Operations Directorate since March 2004 and decides on the composition of space flight crews at NASA.

NASA management

Bowersox was deputy head of manned spaceflight in the United States until July 2019, then acting head of that NASA division until December 2019. After Doug Loverro stepped down in May 2020, Bowersox took over the management function again on a provisional basis. The holder of this office is responsible for the American section of the International Space Station , for the commercial crew program and for the Artemis moon flight program.


He and his wife Ann, who is four years younger than him, have three sons.

He appeared as himself three times in the sitcom Listen, Who's That Hammering .

See also

Web links

Commons : Ken Bowersox  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jeff Foust: NASA shakes up exploration leadership. In: Spacenews. July 11, 2019, accessed July 11, 2019 .
  2. NASA's head of human spaceflight resigns ahead of historic SpaceX launch . The Verge, May 19, 2020.