Encyclopedia Astronautica

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Hire, Kathryn Patricia 'Kay' (1959-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-90, STS-130. US Navy aviator; first woman assigned to a combat aircrew.

NASA Official Biography

NAME: Kathryn P. (Kay) Hire (Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve)
NASA Astronaut

Born August 26, 1959, in Mobile, Alabama. She enjoys competitive sailing, snow skiing, scuba diving, and fishing.

Graduated from Murphy High School, Mobile, Alabama, in 1977. Bachelor of science degree in engineering and management from the U.S. Naval Academy, 1981. Master of science degree in space technology from Florida Institute of Technology, 1991.

Association of Naval Aviation, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Institute of Navigation, Society of Women Engineers, U.S. Sailing Association.

National Defense Service Medal, Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service ribbon, Space Coast Society of Women Engineers Distinguished New Woman Engineer for 1993.

After earning her Naval Flight Officer Wings in October 1982, Hire conducted worldwide airborne oceanographic research missions with Oceanographic Development Squadron Eight (VXN-8) based at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. She worked as Oceanographic Project Coordinator, Mission Commander and Detachment Officer-in-Charge on board the specially configured P-3 aircraft.

Hire instructed student naval flight officers in the classroom, simulator, and on board the T-43 aircraft at the Naval Air Training Unit on Mather Air Force Base, California. She progressed from Navigation Instructor through Course Manager to Curriculum Manager and was awarded the Air Force Master of Flying Instruction.

In January 1989, Hire joined the Naval Air Reserve at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Her tours of duty included Squadron Augment Unit VP-0545 and Anti-submarine Warfare Operations Center 0574 and 0374.

Hire became the first female in the United States assigned to a combat aircrew when she reported to Patrol Squadron Sixty-Two (VP-62) on May 13, 1993. As a Patrol Plane Navigator/Communicator she deployed to Iceland, Puerto Rico and Panama. Hire later served at NAS Joint Reserve Base New Orleans with CV-63 USS Kittyhawk 0482 and Tactical Support Center 0682. Presently she is a member of the Naval Reserve, Commander Seventh Fleet Detachment 111 at Naval Air Station Dallas, Texas.

Hire began work at the Kennedy Space Center in May 1989, first as an Orbiter Processing Facility 3 Activation Engineer with EG&G and later as a Space Shuttle Orbiter Mechanical Systems Engineer for Lockheed Space Operations Company. In 1991 she certified as a Space Shuttle Test Project Engineer (TPE). From the TPE computer console position in the Launch Control Center, she integrated all technical aspects of Space Shuttle turnaround maintenance from landing through next launch. Additionally, she headed the checkout of the Extravehicular Mobility Units (spacesuits) and Russian Orbiter Docking System. Hire was assigned Supervisor of Space Shuttle Orbiter Mechanisms and Launch Pad Swing Arms in 1994.

Selected by NASA in December 1994, Hire reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995, and completed a year of training and evaluation. She has worked in mission control as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) since April 1996. Assigned to STS-90, Hire will be Mission Specialist 2 on the 16 day mission scheduled for launch in Spring 1998.

APRIL 1997

Birth Place: Mobile, Alabama.
Status: Active.

Born: 1959.08.26.
Spaceflights: 2 .
Total time in space: 29.66 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 15 - 1995 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Flying Escargot. Originally dubbed the 'snails' by the Hogs, because they were supposed to be the class of 1994, but the announcement was delayed a year;. They renamed themselves with the better-sounding French equivalent. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-90 Crew: Altman, Buckey, Hire, Linnehan, Pawelczyk, Searfoss, Williams Dave. Spacelab Long Module / Neurolab mission. Backup crew: Mukai, Dunlap. More...
  • STS-130 Crew: Zamka; Virts; Hire; Robinson; Behnken; Patrick. Deliver to the ISS and install the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) and the Lightweight Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure Carrier (LMC) More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • ISS Finally completed in 2010 after a torturous 25-year development and production process, the International Space Station was originally conceived as the staging post for manned exploration of the solar systrem. Instead, it was seemed to be the death knell of manned spaceflight. 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...

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

Hire Chronology

1995 June 9 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 15 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Altman; Anderson; Ashby; Bloomfield; Chawla; Curbeam; Edwards; Gorie; Hire; Husband; Kavandi; Kilrain; Lindsey; Lu; Melroy; Noriega; Reilly; Robinson; Sturckow. 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.. 10 pilots and 9 mission specialists, 6 civilians and 13 military officers, chosen from 2,962 applicants, of which 122 screened in June-August 1994. 4 additional international astronauts.

1998 April 17 - . 18:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-90.
  • STS-90 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Searfoss; Altman; Linnehan; Hire; Williams, Dave; Buckey; Pawelczyk. Backup Crew: Mukai; Dunlap. Payload: Columbia F25 / Spacelab LM Eurolab. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Searfoss; Altman; Linnehan; Hire; Williams, Dave; Buckey; Pawelczyk; Mukai; Dunlap. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: Bremen. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-90. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 15.91 days. Decay Date: 1998-05-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 25297 . COSPAR: 1998-022A. Apogee: 274 km (170 mi). Perigee: 247 km (153 mi). Inclination: 39.0000 deg. Period: 89.70 min. Columbia rolled out to pad 39B on March 23. Payloads:

    • Spacelab transfer tunnel
    • Spacelab Long Module, with Neurolab experiments for the following life science studies:

      • Chronic Recording of Otolith Nerves in Microgravity
      • Development of the Aortic Baroreflex under Conditions of Microgravity
      • Neural-Thyroid Interaction on Skeletal Isomyosin Expression in OG
      • Spatial Orientation of the Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex and Velocity Storage
      • Autonomic Neuroplasticity in Weightlessness

    • Extended Duration Orbiter pallet
    • Two Get Away Special beams with canisters G-197, G-467, G-772 (Colorado's COLLIDE experiment, which collided small particles into each other to simulate the formation of planets and rings).

    The Neurolab mission was managed by NASA-Johnson at Houston, unlike earlier Spacelab flights which were NASA-Marshall/Huntsville's responsibility. Landed at Kennedy Space Center May 3 1998.

1998 May 3 - .
2010 February 8 - . 09:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle.
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