On this day in Alabama history: Astronaut James Voss was born

On this day in Alabama history: Astronaut James Voss was born
Astronaut James Voss poses for a photo in the Zarya Functional Cargo Block FGB module aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2001. Voss spent more than a year on the ISS and performed the longest spacewalk to date as part of his mission. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

March 3, 1949

James Shelton “Jim” Voss flew on five space shuttle missions, spent time aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and conducted the longest spacewalk – 8 hours and 56 minutes. Voss was born in Cordova on March 3, 1949, and raised by his grandparents in Opelika. He received his bachelor’s degree at Auburn University in 1972 and pursued a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering sciences at the University of Colorado. Before he began his career with the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), Voss served in the U.S. Army, retiring as a colonel. NASA selected Voss as an astronaut candidate in 1988 and after a year of training, he qualified as a mission specialist on shuttle flights. Voss was a mission specialist and payload commander aboard Atlantis (1991 and 2000), Discovery (1992 and 2001) and Endeavour (1995). He orbited the Earth 551 times in his first four shuttle flights and spent 163 days aboard the ISS in 2001. He performed spacewalks and assembly tasks and operated the ISS’s robotic arm. After his last spaceflight, Voss became the deputy for flight operations in the Space Station Program Mission Integration and Operations Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. He retired from NASA in 2003.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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