Home - Search - Browse - Alphabetic Index: 0- 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6- 7- 8- 9
A- B- C- D- E- F- G- H- I- J- K- L- M- N- O- P- Q- R- S- T- U- V- W- X- Y- Z
Kerwin, Joseph Peter
Credit: www.spacefacts.de
American physician astronaut 1965-1987. Member of first successful space station mission.

Status: Inactive; Active 1965-1987. Born: 1932-02-19. Spaceflights: 1 . Total time in space: 28.03 days. Birth Place: Oak Park, Illinois.

Educated Holy Cross; Northwestern.

Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:Joseph P. Kerwin, M.D. (Captain, MC, USN, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut (former)

PERSONAL DATA: Born February 19, 1932, in Oak Park, Illinois. Married to the former Shirley Ann Good of Danville, Pennsylvania. They have three daughters, and three grandchildren. His hobbies are reading and classical music.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Fenwick High School, Oak Park, Illinois, in 1949; received a bachelor of arts degree in Philosophy from College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1953; a doctor of Medicine degree from Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, in 1957; completed internship at the District of Columbia General Hospital in Washington, D.C.; and attended the U.S. Navy School of Aviation Medicine at Pensacola, Florida, being designated a naval flight surgeon in December 1958.

ORGANIZATIONS: Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association; member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

EXPERIENCE: Kerwin, a Captain, has been in the Navy Medical Corps since July 1958. He earned his wings at Beeville, Texas, in 1962.

He has logged 4,500 hours flying time.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Captain Kerwin was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in June 1965.

Kerwin served as science-pilot for the Skylab 2 (SL-2) mission which launched on May 25 and terminated on June 22, 1973. With him for the initial activation and 28-day flight qualification operations of the Skylab orbital workshop were Charles Conrad, Jr., (spacecraft commander) and Paul J. Weitz (pilot).

Kerwin was subsequently in charge of the on-orbit branch of the Astronaut Office, where he coordinated astronaut activity involving rendezvous, satellite deployment and retrieval, and other Shuttle payload operations.

From 1982-1983, Kerwin served as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's senior science representative in Australia. In this capacity, he served as liaison between NASA's Office of Space Tracking and Data Systems and Australia's Department of Science and Technology.

From 1984-1987, he served as Director, Space and Life Sciences, Johnson Space Center. Kerwin was responsible for direction and coordination of medical support to operational manned spacecraft programs, including health care and maintenance of the astronauts and their families; for direction of life services, supporting research and light experiment project; and for managing JSC earth sciences and scientific efforts in lunar and planetary research.

He retired from the Navy, left NASA and joined Lockheed in 1987.

At Lockheed he managed the Extravehicular Systems Project, providing hardware for Space Station Freedom, from 1988 to 1990; with two other Lockheed employees he invented the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), recently tested for use by space walking astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). He then served on the Assured Crew Return Vehicle team, and served as Study Manager on the Human Transportation Study, a NASA review of future space transportation architectures. In 1994-95 he led the Houston liaison group for Lockheed Martin's FGB contract, the procurement of the Russian "space tug" which has become the first element of the ISS. He served on the NASA Advisory Council from 1990 to 1993.

He joined Systems Research Laboratories (SRL) in June, 1996, to serve as Program Manager of the SRL team which bid to win the Medical Support and Integration Contract at the Johnson Space Center. The incumbent, KRUG Life Sciences, was selected. Then, to his surprise, KRUG recruited him to replace its retiring President, T. Wayne Holt. He joined KRUG on April 1, 1997.

On March 16, 1998, KRUG Life Sciences became the Life Sciences Special Business Unit of Wyle Laboratories of El Segundo, California.

In addition to his duties at Wyle, he serves on the Board of Directors of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) as an Industry representative.


This is the only version available from NASA. Updates must be sought from the above named individual.

Official Biography

NAME: Joseph P. Kerwin, M.D

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Kerwin was born February 19, 1932, in Oak Park, Illinois.

EDUCATION: Kerwin received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from College of Holy Cross in 1953 and a Doctor of Medicine from Northwestern University Medical School in 1957.

EXPERIENCE: Kerwin completed his internship at the District of Columbia General Hospital, then joined the Navy and attended the U.S. Navy School of Aviation Medicine at Pensacola, Florida. He was designated a naval flight surgeon in 1958. He earned his flight wings in 1962. NASA selected Kerwin in its first group of six scientist-astronauts in June 1965.

He was named science pilot for Skylab 2, the first manned mission to the Skylab space station. Kerwin was launched to the crippled station on May 25, 1973, together with Commander Charles Conrad Jr. and Command Module pilot Paul Weitz. The launch had been delayed ten days while engineers sought ways to save the $2.6 billion project after Skylab entered orbit with its sun shield and one solar panel ripped off during ascent. NASA and Contractor engineers built a sunshade of thin, aluminized Mylar and nylon to erect over station, and cutting tools for freeing the remaining stuck solar panel.

Six hours after launch Skylab 2 rendezvoused with the station and confirmed the damage. Weitz, wearing a bulky space suit and with Kerwin hanging on to his legs, leaned out the open Apollo hatch and tried unsuccessfully to jerk the stuck solar panel loose with a long-handled tool resembling a boat hook. The astronauts then docked with the station but spent the night in their Apollo capsule. The next day they entered the sweltering lab and erected the folded-up sun shade through a small scientific airlock. The 7-by-8-m shade worked as planned, and reduced the temperatures in the station to warm but tolerable levels. The astronauts then were able to turn to the planned program of scientific study of the sun and Earth. Kerwin, America's the first physician in space, studied the adaptation of the crew to zero gravity. On the thirteenth day of the mission Conrad and Kerwin conducted an EVA. Attached to 60-foot tethers, they used cutting tools, leverage, and muscle power to finally free the stuck solar panel. The crew then settled into a daily routine, returning home after a record 4 weeks in orbit.

Following the flight, Kerwin became Director, Space and Life Sciences at NASA's Johnson Space Center. He resigned from NASA and the US Navy in 1987. From then until 1996 he held management positions with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Company. He presently heads Krug Life Sciences, a major research contractor with NASA.

More at: Kerwin.

Family: Astronaut. Country: USA. Spacecraft: Skylab. Flights: Apollo 13, Skylab 2. Projects: Apollo. Agency: USN. Bibliography: 5609.

1932 February 19 - .
1965 June 28 - .
1970 April 11 - . 19:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. Launch Platform: LUT3. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
1973 May 25 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. Launch Platform: LUT1. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB.
1973 June 7 - . 15:15 GMT - .

Back to top of page
Home - Search - Browse - Alphabetic Index: 0- 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6- 7- 8- 9
A- B- C- D- E- F- G- H- I- J- K- L- M- N- O- P- Q- R- S- T- U- V- W- X- Y- Z
© 1997-2019 Mark Wade - Contact
© / Conditions for Use