Encyclopedia Astronautica
Akers



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Akers
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Akers, Thomas Dale 'Tom' (1951-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-41, STS-49, STS-61, STS-79.

Grew up in Eminence, Missouri. Total EVA Time: 1.24 days. Number of EVAs: 4.

Official NASA Biography - 1997

NAME: Tom Akers (Colonel, USAF)
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA:
Born May 20, 1951, in St. Louis, Missouri, but raised and educated in his hometown of Eminence, Missouri. Married to the former Kaye Lynn Parker of Eminence, Missouri. They have two children. He enjoys hunting, fishing, restoring automobiles, and spending time with his family. His parents, Walter and Arlie Akers, are both deceased.

EDUCATION:
Graduated from Eminence High School, Eminence, Missouri, in 1969; received bachelor and master of science degrees in applied mathematics from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1973 and 1975, respectively.

SPECIAL HONORS:
High School Valedictorian. Graduated Summa Cum Laude with a class rank of #1 from University of Missouri-Rolla. Named a Distinguished Graduate of USAF Officer Training School, Squadron Officers School, and Test Pilot School. Recipient of the Department of Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal; USAF Meritorious Service Medal; USAF Commendation Medal; USAF Achievement Medal; NASA Distinguished Service Medal; two NASA Exceptional Service Medals; four NASA Space Flight Medals. Awarded an honorary Doctorate of Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1992.

EXPERIENCE:
Akers was a National Park Ranger at Alley Springs, Missouri, during the summer seasons from 1972 through 1976. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1975, he spent four years as the high school principal in his hometown of Eminence. Joining the Air Force in 1979, his first assignment after Officer Training School was to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, as an air-to-air missile data analyst where he also taught night classes in Math and Physics for Troy State University. In 1982 he was selected to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. On completing one year of training as a flight test engineer, in 1983 he was reassigned to Eglin Air Force Base, where he worked on a variety of weapons development programs, flying F-4, F-15, and T-38 aircraft until he was selected for the astronaut program. He has logged over 2,500 hours flying time in 25 different types of aircraft.

NASA EXPERIENCE:
Akers was selected for the astronaut program in 1987. Since then, he has served as: Astronaut Office focal point for Space Shuttle software development; astronaut representative during Shuttle software testing in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL); supported launch activities at the Kennedy Space Center; astronaut representative for EVA activities (space walks); Deputy Director of Mission Operations; Acting Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations, and Assistant Director (Technical) of Johnson Space Center. Akers left the astronaut program and NASA in August of 1997 to return to the USAF as the commander of the USAFROTC Detachment 442 at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE:
A veteran of four space flights (STS-41 in 1990, STS-49 in 1992, STS-61 in 1993, STS-79 in 1996), Akers has accumulated over 800 hours of space flight including over 29 hours of space walking experience.

On STS-41, October 6-10, 1990, he was responsible for the mission's primary payload, the Ulysses spacecraft. The STS-41 crew successfully deployed the interplanetary probe and started it on its four-year journey via Jupiter to investigate the polar regions of the Sun.

STS-49, May 7-16, 1992, was the maiden flight of the new Space Shuttle Endeavour. The STS-49 crew successfully completed four EVA's (space walks), three rendezvous, and a variety of secondary objectives. Akers was one of a three-member EVA team who successfully captured the stranded INTELSAT (International Telecommunications Satellite). This was the first 3-person EVA and the longest EVA (8.5 hours) in history. Akers also performed a second EVA on this flight to evaluate Space Station Freedom construction techniques.

On STS-61, December 2-13, 1993, Akers again served as an EVA crew member. During the 11-day mission, the crew captured the Hubble Space Telescope and restored it to full capacity through a record five space walks by four astronauts. Akers performed two of these bringing his total EVA time to 29 hours and 40 minutes.

STS-79, September 16-26, 1996, was the fourth Shuttle mission to rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir. Akers was the flight engineer and responsible for the transfer of over 3.5 tons of supplies to and from the Mir. This mission also marked the first exchange of U.S. astronauts on Mir - leaving John Blaha and returning Shannon Lucid home after her record six month stay in space.

AUGUST 1997

Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri.
Status: Inactive.


Born: 1951.05.20.
Spaceflights: 4 .
Total time in space: 33.95 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 12 - 1987 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Gaffers (acronym for 'George Abbey Final Fifteen' - the last group selected with George Abbey as Director of Flight Crew Operations). The class motto: 'What's the rush?' since there was expected to be along wait for flights after the Challenger disaste More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-41 Crew: Akers, Cabana, Melnick, Richards, Shepherd. Manned five crew. Deployed Ulysses spacecraft. More...
  • STS-49 Crew: Akers, Brandenstein, Chilton, Hieb, Melnick, Thornton, Thuot. First flight of shuttle Endeavour. First three-person spacewalk. First active dual rendezvous of two orbiting spacecraft (Endeavour and Intelsat-6). Retrieved Intelsat 6 and attached new SRM. First deployment of a drag chute on the orbiter fleet. More...
  • STS-61 Crew: Akers, Bowersox, Covey, Hoffman, Musgrave, Nicollier, Thornton. Manned seven crew. Hubble repair mission. Conducted the most EVAs on a Space Shuttle Flight to that date. More...
  • Mir NASA-2 Crew: Blaha. Blaha relieved Lucid as NASA resident on the Mir station. Backup crew: Linenger. More...
  • STS-79 Crew: Akers, Apt, Readdy, Walz, Wilcutt. Carried Spacehab Double Module, containing supplies for the Mir. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Mir The Mir space station was the last remnant of the once mighty Soviet space programme. It was built to last only five years, and was to have been composed of modules launched by Proton and Buran/Energia launch vehicles. These modules were derived from those originally designed by Chelomei in the 1960's for the Almaz military station programme. As the Soviet Union collapsed Mir stayed in orbit, but the final modules were years late and could only be completed with American financial assistance. Kept flying over a decade beyond its rated life, Mir proved a source of pride to the Russian people and proved the ability of their cosmonauts and engineers to improvise and keep operations going despite all manner of challenges and mishaps. More...
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Bibliography
  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Akers Chronology


1987 June 5 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 12 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Akers; Allen, Andy; Bowersox; Brown; Chilton; Davis; Foale; Harbaugh; Jemison; McMonagle; Melnick; Readdy; Reightler; Runco; Voss. The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights.. 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.. First selection after the Challenger accident. 1962 applicants, 117 finalists. Reported to Johnson Space Center on August 17, 1987, to begin their one year training. Seven pilots and eight mission specialists. Two female mission specialists, including the first black woman astronaut. Ten military officers and five civilians (including three from NASA Johnson and one from NASA Marshall).


1990 October 6 - . 11:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-41.
  • STS-41 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Akers; Cabana; Melnick; Richards; Shepherd. Payload: Discovery F11 / Ulysses [IUS + PAM-S]. Mass: 22,140 kg (48,810 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Akers; Cabana; Melnick; Richards; Shepherd. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-41. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 4.09 days. Decay Date: 1990-10-10 . USAF Sat Cat: 20841 . COSPAR: 1990-090A. Apogee: 307 km (190 mi). Perigee: 300 km (180 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Manned five crew. Deployed Ulysses spacecraft. Payloads: Deploy Ulysses, Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet, Intelsat Solar Array Coupon, Solid-Surface Combustion Experiment, Investigations Into Polymer Membrane Processing, Chromo-some and Plant Cell Division in Space, Physiological Systems Experiment, Voice Command System, Radiation Monitoring Equipment III, Air Force Maui Optical Site.

1990 October 10 - .
1992 May 7 - . 23:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-49.
  • STS-49 - . Call Sign: Endeavour. Crew: Akers; Brandenstein; Chilton; Hieb; Melnick; Thornton; Thuot. Payload: Endeavour F01 / Intelsat 6 SRM. Mass: 14,786 kg (32,597 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Akers; Brandenstein; Chilton; Hieb; Melnick; Thornton; Thuot. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-49. Spacecraft: Endeavour. Duration: 8.89 days. Decay Date: 1992-05-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 21963 . COSPAR: 1992-026A. Apogee: 341 km (211 mi). Perigee: 268 km (166 mi). Inclination: 28.3000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Retrieved Intelsat 6 and attached new SRM. First active dual rendezvous of two orbiting spacecraft (Endeavour and Intelsat-Vl). First deployment of a drag chute on the orbiter fleet. Payloads: Intelsat-Vl reboost mission hardware, Assembly of Station by EVA Methods (ASEM), Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) Calibration Test, Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPl).

1992 May 14 - . 21:17 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-49-3 - . Crew: Thuot; Hieb; Akers. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.35 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thuot; Hieb; Akers. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-49. Spacecraft: Endeavour. Summary: Intelsat V1 finally captured in first three-person spacewalk..

1992 May 15 - .
  • EVA STS-49-4 - . Crew: Thornton; Akers. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.32 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thornton; Akers. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-49. Spacecraft: Endeavour. Summary: Tested tools and techniques for assembly of the International Space Station..

1992 May 16 - .
1993 December 2 - . 09:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-61.
  • STS-61 - . Call Sign: Endeavour. Crew: Akers; Bowersox; Covey; Hoffman; Musgrave; Nicollier; Thornton. Payload: Endeavour F05 / FSS. Mass: 8,011 kg (17,661 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Akers; Bowersox; Covey; Hoffman; Musgrave; Nicollier; Thornton. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-61. Spacecraft: Endeavour. Duration: 10.83 days. Decay Date: 1993-12-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 22917 . COSPAR: 1993-075A. Apogee: 576 km (357 mi). Perigee: 291 km (180 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 93.30 min. Manned seven crew. Hubble repair mission. Conducted the most EVAs (5) on a Space Shuttle Flight to that date. Payloads: Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Servicing Mission (SM) 1, IMAX Camera, IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS).

1993 December 6 - . 03:29 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-61-2 - . Crew: Thornton; Akers. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.28 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thornton; Akers. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-61. Spacecraft: Endeavour; HST. Summary: Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 1 - solar array replacement..

1993 December 8 - . 03:13 GMT - .
  • EVA STS-61-4 - . Crew: Thornton; Akers. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.28 days. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thornton; Akers. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-61. Spacecraft: Endeavour; HST. Summary: Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 1 - COSTAR installation..

1993 December 13 - .
1996 September 16 - . 08:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-79.
  • STS-79 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Blaha; Readdy; Wilcutt; Akers; Apt; Walz. Payload: Atlantis F17 / External Airlock/ODS. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Blaha; Readdy; Wilcutt; Akers; Apt; Walz. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-79; Mir NASA-2; Mir NASA-1; Mir EO-22. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 10.14 days. Decay Date: 1996-09-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 24324 . COSPAR: 1996-057A. Apogee: 386 km (239 mi). Perigee: 368 km (228 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.10 min. On September 19 Atlantis docked with the Russian Mir space station. Aboard Atlantis in the payload bay were the Orbiter Docking System, the modified Long Tunnel, and the Spacehab Double Module, containing supplies for the Mir. Astronaut John Blaha relieved Shannon Lucid as NASA resident on the complex. Atlantis undocked from the Mir complex on September 23 at 23:33 GMT. Valeriy Korzun, Aleksandr Kaleri and John Blaha remain on Mir. On September 26 Atlantis closed its payload bay doors, and at 11:06 GMT fired its OMS engines for a three minute long deorbit burn. After entry interface at 11:42 GMT the spaceship flew across Canada and the US for a landing at the Kennedy Space Center's Runway 15 at 12:13 GMT.

1996 September 26 - .
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