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Acaba, Joseph Michael
Credit: www.spacefacts.de
American geologist mission specialist astronaut 2004-on.

Status: Active 2004-on. Born: 1967-05-17. Spaceflights: 2 . Total time in space: 137.81 days. Birth Place: California.

Grew up in Anaheim, California. Educated UCSB; Arizona.

Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:JOSEPH M. ACABA
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA:  Born in 1967 in Inglewood, California, and raised in Anaheim, California, where his parents, Ralph and Elsie, still reside.  Enjoys outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, biking, kayaking and scuba diving. 

EDUCATION:  Esperanza High School, Anaheim, California, 1985; Bachelor of Science in Geology, University of California - Santa Barbara, 1990; Master of Science in Geology, University of Arizona, 1992

ORGANIZATIONS:  International Technology Education Association, Florida Association of Science Teachers, Association of Space Explorers

EXPERIENCE:  United States Marine Corps, Reserves.  Worked as a hydro-geologist in Los Angeles, California, primarily on Superfund sites, and was involved in the assessment and remediation of groundwater contaminants.  Spent two years in the United States Peace Corps as an Environmental Education Awareness Promoter in the Dominican Republic.  Manager of the Caribbean Marine Research Center at Lee Stocking Island in the Exumas, Bahamas.  Taught one year of high school science at Melbourne High School, Florida, and four years of middle school math and science at Dunnellon Middle School, Florida.

NASA EXPERIENCE:  Selected as a mission specialist by NASA in May 2004.  In February 2006, he completed astronaut candidate training that included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.  Upon completion of his training, Acaba was assigned to the Hardware Integration Team in the Space Station Branch, working technical issues with European Space Agency (ESA) hardware.  He was also a member of the Space Shuttle Branch, supporting shuttle launch and landing preparations at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. 

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE:  STS-119 Discovery (March 15 to March 28, 2009) was the 125th shuttle flight, the 36th flight of Discovery and the 28th shuttle flight to the International Space Station.  The primary objective of this flight was to deliver the final pair of power-generating solar array wings and truss element to the International Space Station.  Acaba accumulated 12 hours and 57 minutes of extravehicular activity (EVA) in two spacewalks.  STS-119 returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, having traveled 202 orbits and 5.3 million statute miles in 12 days, 19 hours and 29 minutes.

Expedition 31/32 launched at 9:01 a.m. Baikonur time on May 15, 2012, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Acaba landed their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 8:52 a.m. Kazakhstan time on September 17, 2012.  Acaba spent 123 days aboard the station as a Flight Engineer of the Expedition 31 and 32 crews.  Acaba supported the arrival of the first commercial resupply spacecraft, SpaceX's Dragon, in late May; an undocking, re-docking and final undocking demonstration of the Russian International Space Station Progress 47 cargo ship; the first single-day launch-to-docking demonstration of Progress 48 and the arrival and departure of the third Japanese cargo ship, HTV3.  Acaba served as intra-vehicular crew member for two U.S.-based spacewalks, helping to restore a critical power unit and exchange a faulty camera on the station's robotic arm.  Acaba also participated in numerous scientific research experiments and performed regular maintenance and operational tasks aboard the orbiting complex.  

Acaba has logged a total of 138 days in space during two missions.



Official NASA Biography - May 2004

Joe Acaba, Mission Specialist-Educator

AGE: 36

BORN: Inglewood, California

EDUCATION: BS, Geology, University of California-Santa Barbara, 1990; MS, Geology, Universtiy of Arizona, 1992

CURRENT JOB: Math and Science Teacher, Dunnellon Middle School, Dunnelon, Florida

QUICK FACT: Volunteered for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic

QUOTE: "When I found out I'd been chosen for astronaut training, I cut my long hair. It's made me the butt of a lot of jokes at school."

Even if he had not told them about his big news, Joe Acaba's students in Dunnellon, Fla. would have known something was up.

"When I found out I'd been chosen for astronaut training, I cut my long hair," Acaba says. "It's made me the butt of a lot of jokes at school."

Image left: 2004 Astronaut Candidate Joe Acaba. Click for High Resolution Image Photo credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center.

Dunnellon Middle School, where Acaba teaches 7th and 8th grade science and math, has been abuzz since he got word of his new mission. When he reports to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, he will be one of three educator astronaut candidates, training right alongside pilots, engineers, and researchers to be fully-trained, permanent members of the astronaut corps.

"I've always been intrigued by space travel," Acaba says. "My parents started me at a young age with 8mm films of the first man on the moon."

"Both of my parents were born in Puerto Rico. My dad moved to the States when he was about 10 and my mother moved when she was about 18. My dad is my hero. He came to the States with very little and worked hard to make sure we had what we needed," Acaba says. "He instilled a real work ethic in me."

That work ethic has helped Acaba earn two degrees in geology. He earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master's degree from the University of Arizona. After working as a hydrogeologist -- someone who studies water that is under ground -- Acaba spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, teaching the people about the environment. "Once I did that, I knew that education was what I wanted to do. The only job that could take me away from teaching is being an astronaut," he says. "Being an educator astronaut is the best of both worlds."

Acaba, 36, has been an educator for the past five years. He was born in Inglewood, California and raised in Anaheim along with two older brothers and a younger sister. He now has three children of his own. He says that as an educator astronaut, he hopes to reach out to minority students.

A science-fiction buff, Acaba is thrilled by the new Vision for Space Exploration and NASA's goals of returning humans to the moon and eventually continuing on to Mars. "It's something that's only been written about in books, but it's going to become a reality soon.

"As an educator, I think the most important thing for me is to fulfill the goal of inspiring the next generation. Motivating kids to learn is as important as the subject matter," he says.

More at: Acaba.

Family: Mission Specialist Astronaut, NASA Group 19 - 2004. Country: USA. Flights: STS-119, Soyuz TMA-22. Bibliography: 12, 5085.

1967 May 17 - .
  • Birth of Joseph Michael Acaba - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Acaba. Hispanic-American geologist mission specialist astronaut, 2004-on..

2004 May 6 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 19 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Acaba, Arnold, Ricky, Bresnik, Cassidy, Dutton, Hernandez, Kimbrough, Marshburn, Metcalf-Lindenburger, Satcher, Walker, Shannon.

    The group was selected to provide pilot and mission specialists for post-ISS spaceflights to the moon and beyond. Qualifications: Pilots: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degree desirable. At least 1,000 flight-hours of pilot-in-command time. Flight test experience desirable. Excellent health. Vision minimum 20/50 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 vision; maximum sitting blood pressure 140/90. Height between 163 and 193 cm.

    Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm.. Due to a surplus of astronauts and a dearth of missions, NASA cancelled the planned 2002 astronaut selection. The next call for applications was made in May 2003, with a due date of 1 July. 'Educator astronauts' were especially requested, and 1100 applications were received in this category. The final selection was two pilots and nine mission specialists; nine men and two women. Given the drastic reduction if shuttle flights and ISS crew size planned for the post-Columbia disaster period, the chances for astronauts from this group flying in the next decade seemed slim indeed. Also training in this group were three NASDA astronauts from Japan.

2009 March 15 - . 23:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle.
  • STS-119 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Acaba, Antonelli, Archambault, Arnold, Ricky, Phillips, Swanson. Payload: Discovery F35 /. Mass: 120,860 kg (266,450 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-119. Spacecraft Bus: Shuttle. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 12.81 days. Decay Date: 2009-03-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 34541 . COSPAR: 2009-012A. Apogee: 353 km (219 mi). Perigee: 335 km (208 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.40 min. Crew: Archambault, Antonelli, Phillips, Swanson, Acaba, Arnold. ISS assembly mission. Delivered to the ISS and installed the fourth starboard truss segment (ITS S6) and fourth set of solar arrays and batteries..

2009 March 21 - .
  • EVA STS-119-2 - . Crew: Acaba, Swanson. EVA Duration: 0.27 days. Nation: USA. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-119. The crew exited the Quest airlock at 16:50 GMT but were unable to deploy the UCCAS-1 payload attachment platform from the P3 truss, returning to the airlock at 23:16..

2009 March 23 - .
  • EVA STS-119-3 - . Crew: Acaba, Arnold, Ricky. EVA Duration: 0.27 days. Nation: USA. Program: ISS. Flight: STS-119. The crew emerged from the Quest airlock at 15:36 GMT but were unsuccessful in deploying the recalcitrant UCCAS-1 platform. Other work included relocating one of the CETA carts on the station exterior. The crew returned to the ISS at 22:00 GMT..

2011 November 14 - . 04:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-FG.
  • Soyuz TMA-22 - . Call Sign: Astraeus. Crew: Burbank, Ivanishin, Shkaplerov. Backup Crew: Acaba, Padalka, Revin. Payload: Soyuz 7K-STMA s/n 232. Mass: 7,200 kg (15,800 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RKA. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz TMA-22. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA. Duration: 165.31 days. Decay Date: 2012-04-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 37877 . COSPAR: 2011-067A. Apogee: 410 km (250 mi). Perigee: 376 km (233 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.40 min.

    Launch delayed two months to verify booster after launch failure of Progress M-12M in August 2011. After successful launch of Progress M-13M on 30 October, Soyuz TMA-22 was cleared for launch. Delivered the EO-29 crew to the ISS, docking at the Poisk module of the station at 05:24 GMT on 16 November. Undocked on 27 April 2012 at 08:15 GMT and landed in Kazakhstan at 11:45 GMT.

2012 May 15 - . 03:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-FG.
  • Soyuz TMA-04M - . Call Sign: Altair. Crew: Acaba, Padalka, Revin. Backup Crew: Ford, Kevin, Novitskiy, Tarelkin. Payload: Soyuz TMA s/n 705. Mass: 7,200 kg (15,800 lb). Nation: Russia. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz TMA-04M. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA. Duration: 124.99 days. Decay Date: 2012-09-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 38291 . COSPAR: 2012-022A. Apogee: 406 km (252 mi). Perigee: 392 km (243 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.50 min.

    Docked at the station's Poisk module on 17 May at 04:36 GMT. On 16 September at 23:09 GMT undocked from the station to return the crew to earth. Soyuz TMA-04M flew for 2 hr 47 min in a 403 km x 426 km orbit, then fired its engines for the deorbit burn at 01:56 GMT on 17 September to enter a 13 kmx 425 km reentry orbit. The crew landed safely in Kazakhstan at 02:23 GMT.

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