Charles J. Precourt

Charles Joseph Precourt (born June 29, 1955) is a retired NASA astronaut. His career in flight began at an early age, and spans his entire lifetime. He served in the US Air Force, piloted numerous jet aircraft, and piloted and commanded the Space Shuttle. Notably, he piloted or commanded several missions which involved docking with the Russian Mir space station and was heavily involved in Russian/US Space relations as well as the International Space Station collaboration. He retired from the USAF with the rank of Colonel.

Charles J. Precourt
Charles Precourt KSC39A.jpeg
Charles Joseph Precourt

June 29, 1955 (age 63)
Space career
NASA Astronaut
Current occupation
vice president for Advanced Strategic Programs, Orbital ATK
Previous occupation
Test Pilot
RankColonel, USAF
Time in space
38d 20h 16m
Selection1990 NASA Group
MissionsSTS-55, STS-71, STS-84, STS-91
Mission insignia


Precourt was born on June 29, 1955, in Waltham, Massachusetts and considers Hudson, Massachusetts to be his hometown. He graduated from Hudson High School, Hudson, Massachusetts, and received a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the United States Air Force Academy in 1977. In 1988, he received a master of science degree in engineering management from Golden Gate University. He received a master of arts degree in national security affairs and strategic studies from the United States Naval War College in 1990. While at the United States Air Force Academy, Precourt also attended the French Air Force Academy in 1976 as part of an exchange program. He is fluent in French and Russian.

Precourt retired from NASA in 2004 and is a Vice President at Orbital ATK in Utah.

Personal life

He is married to the former Lynne Denise Mungle of St. Charles, Missouri, who works with Coldwell Banker Real Estate, and coordinates many charity and volunteer events. They have three daughters, Michelle, Sarah, and Aimee. Precourt and his wife enjoy golfing, downhill skiing, and flying light aircraft. He flies a Varieze, an experimental aircraft that he built.

Precourt became a grandfather following the births of two grandsons in 2009 and 2010.


Special honors

Military decorations include:

Legion of Merit ribbon
Legion of Merit
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon
Defense Superior Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster)
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal ribbon
Meritorious Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster)
National Defense Service Medal ribbon
National Defense Service Medal

NASA awards include:

NASA Distinguished Service Medal
USA - NASA Excep Rib
NASA Exceptional Service Medal and

NASA Outstanding Leadership Ribbon
NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
NASA Space Flight Medal (with three oak leaf clusters)

Charles Precourt was inducted into the NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 5, 2012[1] in a ceremony that took place the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.


Precourt graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in 1978. Initially he flew as an instructor pilot in the T-37, and later as a maintenance test pilot in the T-37 and T-38 aircraft. From 1982 through 1984, he flew an operational tour in the F-15 Eagle Eagle at Bitburg Air Base in Germany. In 1985 he attended the United States Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Upon graduation, Precourt was assigned as a test pilot at Edwards, where he flew the F-15E, F-4 Phantom II, A-7 Corsair II, and A-37 Dragonfly aircraft until mid 1989, when he began studies at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon graduation from the War College, Precourt joined the astronaut program. His flight experience includes over 7,500 hours in over 60 types of civil and military aircraft. He holds commercial pilot, multi-engine instrument, glider and certified flight instructor ratings. Precourt retired from the Air Force on March 31, 2000.

NASA experience

Selected by NASA in January 1990, Precourt became an astronaut in July 1991. His other technical assignments to date have included: Manager of ascent, entry, and launch abort issues for the Astronaut Office Operations Development Branch; spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM), providing the voice link from the Mission Control Center during launch and entry for several Space Shuttle missions; Director of Operations for NASA at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, from October 1995 to April 1996, with responsibility for the coordination and implementation of mission operations activities in the Moscow region for the joint U.S./Russian Shuttle-Mir Program.

From May 1996 to September 1998, he served as Acting Assistant Director (Technical), Johnson Space Center. From October 1998 through November 2002, Precourt was Chief of the Astronaut Corps, responsible for the mission preparation activities of all space shuttle and future International Space Station crews and their support personnel. From November 2002 until his 2004 retirement from NASA, Precourt served as the Deputy Manager for the International Space Station, responsible for the day-to-day management of ISS operations, on orbit assembly and the interfaces with NASA contractors and the International Partners.

A veteran of four space flights, he has logged over 932 hours in space. He served as a mission specialist on STS-55 (April 26 to May 6, 1993), was the pilot on STS-71 (June 27 to July 7, 1995), and was the spacecraft commander on STS-84 (May 15–24, 1997) and STS-91 (June 2–12, 1998), the final scheduled Shuttle-Mir docking mission, concluding the joint U.S./Russian Phase I Program.

Space flight experience

STS-55 Columbia launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 26, 1993. Nearly 90 experiments were conducted during this German-sponsored Spacelab D-2 mission to investigate life sciences, materials sciences, physics, robotics, astronomy and the Earth and its atmosphere. STS-55 also flew the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) making contact with students in 14 schools around the world. After 160 orbits of the earth in 240 flight hours, the 10-day mission concluded with a landing on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on May 6, 1993.

STS-71 (June 27 to July 7, 1995) was the first Space Shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir, and involved an exchange of crews (seven-member crew at launch, eight-member crew on return). The Atlantis Space Shuttle was modified to carry a docking system compatible with the Russian Mir Space Station. It also carried a Spacehab module in the payload bay in which the crew performed various life sciences experiments and data collections. STS-71 Atlantis launched from and returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Mission duration was 235 hours, 23 minutes.

STS-84 Atlantis (May 15–24, 1997) carried a seven-member international crew. This was NASA’s sixth Shuttle mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. During the 9-day flight, the crew conducted a number of secondary experiments and transferred nearly 4 tons of supplies and experiment equipment between the Space Shuttle and the Mir station. STS-84 Atlantis launched from and returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Mission duration was 221 hours and 20 minutes.

STS-91 Discovery (June 2–12, 1998) was the 9th and final Shuttle-Mir docking mission and marked the conclusion of the highly successful joint U.S./Russian Phase I Program. The crew, including a Russian cosmonaut, performed logistics and hardware resupply of the Mir during four docked days. They also conducted the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment, which involved the first of its kind research of antimatter in space. Mission duration was 235 hours, 54 minutes.


  1. ^ [1] Collect Space

Preceded by
Kenneth D. Cockrell
Chief of the Astronaut Office
Succeeded by
Kent Rominger
Bernard A. Harris Jr.

Bernard Anthony Harris Jr. (born June 26, 1956 in Temple, Texas) is a former NASA astronaut. On February 9, 1995, Harris became the first African American to perform an extra-vehicular activity (spacewalk), during the second of his two Space Shuttle flights.

Carl E. Walz

Carl Erwin Walz (Colonel, USAF, Ret.) (born September 6, 1955) is a former NASA astronaut currently working for Orbital Sciences Corporation's Advanced Programs Group as Vice President for Human Space Flight Operations. Walz was formerly assigned to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. He was the Acting Director for the Advanced Capabilities Division in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, and was responsible for a broad range of activities to include Human Research, Technology Development, Nuclear Power and Propulsion and the Lunar Robotic Exploration Programs to support the Vision for Space Exploration.

Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) is an American engineer, former astronaut and former Director of the Johnson Space Center. Ochoa became director of the center upon the retirement of the previous director, Michael Coats, on December 31, 2012. In 1993 Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman in the world to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery.

Janice E. Voss

Janice Elaine Voss (October 8, 1956 – February 6, 2012) was an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. Voss received her B.S. in engineering science from Purdue University, her M.S. in electrical engineering from MIT, and her PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT. She flew in space five times, jointly holding the record for American women. Voss died in Arizona on February 6, 2012 from breast cancer.

Kenneth Cockrell

Kenneth Dale "Taco" Cockrell (born April 9, 1950) is an American astronaut and a veteran of five space shuttle missions.

List of Mir visitors

This is a list of visitors to the Mir space station in alphabetical order. Station crew names are in bold. The suffix (twice) refers to the individual's number of Mir visits, not his or her total number of space flights. Entries without a flag symbol indicate that the person was a citizen from the bloc of countries comprising the former Soviet Union at launch.

List of human spaceflights, 1991–2000

This is a detailed list of human spaceflights from 1991 to 2000, including the continuation of Russian space station Mir and the American Space Shuttle program, and the first flights to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Soviet Union broke up at the end of 1991. From this date onwards the former USSR constituent republics are shown as separate nationalities.

List of human spaceflights to Mir

Mir (Russian: Мир, IPA: [ˈmʲir]; lit. Peace or World) was a Soviet and later Russian space station, operational in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001. With a mass greater than that of any previous space station, Mir was the first of the non-monolithic, third generation of space stations, constructed from 1986 to 1996 with a modular design. The station was the largest artificial satellite orbiting the Earth until its deorbit on 21 March 2001, a record now surpassed by the International Space Station (ISS). Mir served as a microgravity research laboratory in which crews conducted experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and spacecraft systems in order to develop technologies required for the permanent occupation of space.Following the success of the Salyut programme, Mir represented the next stage in the Soviet Union's space station programme. The first module of the station, known as the core module or base block, was launched in 1986, and was followed by six further modules (Kvant-1 (1987), Kvant-2 (1989), Kristall (1990), Spektr (1995), the docking module (1995) and Priroda (1996)), all launched by Proton rockets (with the exception of the docking module). When complete, the station consisted of seven pressurised modules and several unpressurised components. Power was provided by several solar arrays mounted directly on the modules. The station was maintained at an orbit between 296 km (184 mi) and 421 km (262 mi) altitude and travelled at an average speed of 27,700 km/h (17,200 mph), completing 15.7 Earth orbits per day.Human spaceflights were vital to the operation of Mir, allowing crews and equipment to be carried to and from the space station. Mir was visited by a total of 39 manned missions, comprising 30 Soyuz flights (1 Soyuz-T, 29 Soyuz-TM) and 9 Space Shuttle flights. These missions carried both long-duration crew members flying principal expeditions (ranging from 70 days up to Valeri Polyakov's 14-month stay beginning in January 1994, which still holds the record for the longest continuous spaceflight by a single person) and short-term visitors (who spent about a week aboard the station). Many of the crew who visited Mir used different spacecraft to launch than they did to land; the first such examples were Aleksandr Viktorenko and Muhammed Faris who flew up in Soyuz TM-3 (launched 22 July 1987) and landed a week later in Soyuz TM-2 on 30 July 1987. The largest crew aboard Mir simultaneously (not including Shuttle-Mir missions) was 6, which first occurred with the launch of Soyuz TM-7 on 26 November 1988 and lasted for just over three weeks.

In this list, unmanned visiting spacecraft are excluded (see List of unmanned spaceflights to Mir for details), and long-duration crew members are listed in bold. Times are given in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). "Time docked" refers to the spacecraft and does not necessarily correspond to the crew.

NASA Astronaut Group 13

NASA Astronaut Group 13 (the Hairballs) was a group of 23 astronauts announced by NASA on 17 January 1990. The group name came from its selection of a black cat as a mascot, to play against the traditional unlucky connotations of the number 13.

Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award

The Naval War College Distinguished Graduate leadership Award was established in 1996 by the Trustees of the Naval War College Foundation to honor United States Naval War College graduates who have attained positions of prominence in the field of national security.


Precourt is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Anthony Precourt, American sports team owner

Charles J. Precourt (born 1955), American astronaut

Steve Precourt (born 1960), American politician


STS-55 (Space Transportation System 55), or D-2 was the 55th overall flight of the US Space Shuttle and the 14th flight of Shuttle Columbia. This flight was a multinational Spacelab flight involving 88 experiments from eleven different nations. The experiments ranged from biology sciences to simple earth observations.


STS-71 was the third mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program and the first Space Shuttle docking to Russian space station Mir. It started on 27 June 1995 with the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle delivered a relief crew of two cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin to the station and recovered Increment astronaut Norman Thagard. Atlantis returned to Earth on 7 July with a crew of eight. It was the first of seven straight missions to Mir flown by Atlantis.

For the five days the shuttle was docked to Mir they were the largest spacecraft in orbit at the time. STS-71 marked the first docking of a space shuttle to a space station, the first time a shuttle crew switched members with the crew of a station, and the 100th manned space launch by the United States. The mission carried Spacelab and included a logistical resupply of Mir. Together the shuttle and station crews conducted various on-orbit joint US/Russian life science investigations with Spacelab along with the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment-II (SAREX-II) experiment.


STS-84 was a manned spaceflight mission by Space Shuttle Atlantis to the Mir space station.


STS-91 was the final Space Shuttle mission to the Mir space station. It was flown by Space Shuttle Discovery, and launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 2 June 1998.

Society of Experimental Test Pilots

The Society of Experimental Test Pilots is an international organization that seeks to promote air safety and contributes to aeronautical advancement by promoting sound aeronautical design and development; interchanging ideas, thoughts and suggestions of the members, assisting in the professional development of experimental pilots, and providing scholarships and aid to members and the families of deceased members.

Thomas David Jones

Thomas David Jones (born January 22, 1955) is a former United States astronaut. He was selected to the astronaut corps in 1990 and completed four space shuttle flights before retiring in 2001. He flew on STS-59 and STS-68 in 1994, STS-80 in 1996 and STS-98 in 2001. His total mission time was 53 days 48 minutes. He works as a planetary scientist, space operations consultant, astronaut speaker, and author.

William G. Gregory

William George "Borneo" Gregory (born May 14, 1957), is an American retired NASA astronaut and United States Air Force lieutenant colonel.

William S. McArthur

William Surles McArthur Jr. (born July 26, 1951) is a retired United States Army colonel and NASA astronaut and a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and one expedition to the International Space Station via the Russian Soyuz capsule.

Mission Specialists

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