Encyclopedia Astronautica

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Bagian, Dr James Philip 'Jim' (1952-) American physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-29, STS-40.

In an attempt to curry favor with astronaut selector George Abbey, Bagian, wearing a Superman costume, was lowered by another astronaut from the roof down to Abbey's ninth floor office. He knocked on the window, sang Happy Birthday, then continued to the ground. Left the Astronaut Corps in August 1995 for a position with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Official NASA Biography - 1995

NAME: James P. Bagian (M.D., P.E.)
NASA Astronaut

Born February 22, 1952, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Married to the former Tandi M. Benson of Seattle, Washington. They have four children. He enjoys bicycling, backpacking, climbing, swimming, flying and racquet sports, as well as cabinet-making and automobile rebuilding. His parents, Philip and Rose Bagian, reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents, Boyd and Barbara Benson, reside in Seattle, Washington.

Graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1969; received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University in 1973, and a doctorate in medicine from Thomas Jefferson University in 1977.

Member of the Aerospace Medicine Association, the College of Emergency Physicians, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; life member of the Society of NASA Flight Surgeons; and member of Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Tau Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, and Alpha Omega Alpha.

U.S. Army ROTC Superior Cadet Award (1970); graduated first in class from Drexel University (1973); Orthopedics Prize from Jefferson University (1977); Honor Graduate (first in class) from USAF Flight Surgeons School (1979); Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Komarov Diploma (1989); Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award (1990); NASA Achievement Award for developing treatment of space motion sickness (1991); NASA Space Flight Award (1989 and 1991); NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1992); Society of NASA Flight Surgeons W. Randolf Lovelace Award for ''significant contribution to the practice and advancement of aerospace medicine'' (1992); American Astronautical Society's Melbourne W. Boynton Award for ''outstanding contributions to the biomedical aspects of space flight'' (1992).

Bagian worked as a process engineer for the 3M Company in Bristol, Pennsylvania, in 1973, and later as a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Maryland, from 1976 to 1978, and at the same time pursued studies for a doctorate in medicine. Upon graduating from Thomas Jefferson University in 1977, Dr. Bagian completed one year of general surgery residency with the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. He subsequently went to work as a flight surgeon and research medical officer at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1978, while concurrently completing studies at the USAF Flight Surgeons School and USAF School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio, Texas. He was completing a residency in anesthesiology at the University of Pennsylvania when notified of his selection by NASA for the astronaut candidate program. Dr. Bagian received his Professional Engineers Certification in 1986, and was board-certified in aerospace medicine by the American College of Preventive Medicine in 1987. Since 1981, Dr. Bagian has been active in the mountain rescue community and has served as a member of the Denali Medical Research Project on Mt. McKinley. He has also been a snow-and-ice rescue techniques instructor on Mt. Hood during this period. Dr. Bagian is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and is the pararescue flight surgeon for the 939th Air Rescue Wing. He is a USAF-qualified freefall parachutist, holds a private pilot's license and has logged over 1,500 hours flying time in propeller and jet aircraft, helicopters, and gliders.

Bagian became a NASA astronaut in July 1980. He took part in both the planning and provision of emergency medical and rescue support for the first six Shuttle flights. He also served as the Astronaut Office coordinator for Space Shuttle payload software and crew equipment, as well as supporting the development of a variety of payloads and participating in the verification of Space Shuttle flight software. In 1986, Dr. Bagian served as an investigator for the 51-L accident board. He has also been responsible for the development program and implementation of the pressure suit used for crew escape and various other crew survival equipment to be used on future Shuttle missions, and is in charge of Shuttle search and rescue planning and implementation for the Astronaut Office. Dr. Bagian has also been a member of the NASA Headquarters Research Animal Holding Facility Review Board. He has authored numerous scientific papers in the fields of human factors, environmental and aerospace medicine. A veteran of two space flights (STS-29 in 1989 and STS-40 in 1991), Dr. Bagian has logged over 337 hours in space.

Dr. Bagian first flew on the crew of STS-29, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, aboard the Orbiter Discovery, on March 13, 1989. During this highly successful five-day mission, the crew deployed a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite and performed numerous secondary experiments, including a Space Station -heat pipe" radiator experiment, two student experiments, a protein crystal growth experiment, and a chromosome and plant cell division experiment. Also, Dr. Bagian was the principal investigator and performed Detailed Supplementary Objective 470 which described, by the use of transcranial Doppler, the changes of cerebral blood flow and its relationship to Space Adaptation Syndrome (SAS) and Space Motion Sickness (SMS). Dr. Bagian was the first person to treat SMS with the drug Phenergan by intramuscular injection. This represented the first successful treatment regimen for SMS and has now been adopted by NASA as the standard of care for the control of SMS in Shuttle crews and is routinely used. In addition, the crew took over 3,000 photographs of the Earth using several types of cameras, including the IMAX 70 mm movie camera. Mission duration was 80 orbits and concluded with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on March 18, 1989. With the completion of this mission, he logged over 119 hours in space.

More recently, Dr. Bagian served on the crew of STS-40 Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-1), the first dedicated space and life sciences mission, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 5, 1991. SLS-1 was a nine-day mission during which crew members performed experiments which explored how the heart, blood vessels, lungs, kidneys, and hormone-secreting glands respond to microgravity, the causes of space sickness, and changes in muscles, bones, and cells which occur in humans during space flight. Other payloads included experiments designed to investigate materials science, plant biology and cosmic radiation. In addition to the scheduled payload activities on STS-40, Dr. Bagian was successful in personally devising and implementing repair procedures for malfunctioning experiment hardware which allowed all scheduled scientific objectives to be successfully accomplished. Following 146 orbits of the Earth, Columbia and her crew landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on June 14, 1991. Completion of this flight logged him an additional 218 hours in space.

Dr. Bagian is taking a leave of absence from NASA. He is currently involved in both the practice of occupational medicine and biomedical research.

MAY 1995


Departed: August 1995. Departed Date: 1995-08-01. Degree: MD. Marital Status: Married. Children: Four children. Education: Drexel;Jefferson;Patuxent.

Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Status: Inactive.

Born: 1952.02.22.
Spaceflights: 2 .
Total time in space: 14.08 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 9 - 1980 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: 19+80 - The two European astronauts in the group were not considered by the Americans to be part of the 'official' group. This led to a scene at graduation. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-61-I Crew: Williams Donald, Smith, Dunbar, Carter, Bagian, Bhat. Planned shuttle LDEF (Long Duration Exposure Facility) recovery mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. Backup crew: Nair. More...
  • STS-29 Crew: Bagian, Blaha, Buchli, Coats, Springer. Manned five crew. Deployed TDRS 4. More...
  • STS-40 Crew: Bagian, Gaffney, Gutierrez, Hughes-Fulford, Jernigan, O Connor, Seddon. Carried Spacelab life sciences module. More...

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

Associated Programs
  • 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...

  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Mullane, Mike, Riding Rockets, Scribner, New York, 2006.

Bagian Chronology

1980 May 19 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 9 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bagian; Blaha; Bolden; Bridges; Chang-Diaz; Cleave; Dunbar; Fisher, William; Gardner, Guy; Grabe; Hilmers; Leestma; Lounge; O Connor; Richards; Ross; Smith; Spring; Springer. 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..

1986 September - .
1989 March 13 - . 14:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-29R.
  • STS-29 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Bagian; Blaha; Buchli; Coats; Springer. Payload: Discovery F08 / SHARE. Mass: 17,280 kg (38,090 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bagian; Blaha; Buchli; Coats; Springer. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-29. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 4.99 days. Decay Date: 1989-03-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 19882 . COSPAR: 1989-021A. Apogee: 308 km (191 mi). Perigee: 297 km (184 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Manned five crew. Deployed TDRS 4. Payloads: Deploy IUS (Inertial Upper Stage) with Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-D. Protein Crystal Growth (PCG); Chromosome and Plant Cell Division in Space; IMAX 70mm camera; Shuttle Student Involvement Project (SSIP) experiments: SSIP 82-8, Effects of Weightlessness in Space Flight on the Healing of Bone Fractures, and SSIP 83-9, Chicken Embryo Development in Space; Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

1989 March 18 - .
1991 June 5 - . 13:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-40.
  • STS-40 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Bagian; Gaffney; Gutierrez; Hughes-Fulford; Jernigan; O Connor; Seddon. Payload: Columbia F11 / GBA-2. Mass: 11,767 kg (25,941 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bagian; Gaffney; Gutierrez; Hughes-Fulford; Jernigan; O Connor; Seddon. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-40. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 9.09 days. Decay Date: 1991-06-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 21399 . COSPAR: 1991-040A. Apogee: 296 km (183 mi). Perigee: 287 km (178 mi). Inclination: 39.0000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. Carried Spacelab life sciences module. Payloads: Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS)-1 with long module, getaway special bridge assembly with 12 getaway specials, Physiological Monitoring System (PMS), Urine Monitoring System (UMS), Animal Enclosure Modules (AEM), Middeck Zero-gravity Dynamics Experiment (MODE), 7 Orbiter Experiments Program experiments.

1991 June 14 - .
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