Norman e. Thagard, M. D. Biography

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Norman E. Thagard, Astronaut, Physician, and Professor. Dr. Thagard began his formal education by becoming the Valedictorian at Paxon High School, Jacksonville, Florida. He went on to earn a Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in Engineering Science from Florida State University. He continued to complete graduate work in engineering science as well as pre-med course work and eventually obtained his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1977.
He was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978. He completed a one-year training and evaluation period, making him eligible for assignment as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flights. Dr. Thagard flew five space missions and has logged over 140 days in space. He earned special distinction as the cosmonaut/researcher on the Russian Mir 18 mission.
While flying aboard the space shuttle, Dr. Thagard, along with other crew members, assisted international countries such as Canada and Indonesia improve their telecommunication capability through the successful deployment of communication satellites. He was among the crew on shuttle mission STS-30 which launched the Magellan Venus-exploration spacecraft, the first U.S. planetary science mission launched from the Shuttle. This probe was deployed to map the entire surface of Venus for the first time, using specialized radar instruments.
During multiple space flights, Dr. Thagard has been involved with investigating medical issues which assist physicians and medical researchers to better understand human function. On shuttle mission STS-7 he conducted various medical tests and collected data on physiological changes associated with astronaut adaptation to space. During STS-42 fifty-five major experiments were conducted in the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 module, provided by investigators from eleven countries, which represented a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. Dr. Thagard, along with other crew members, accomplished the mission’s primary objective of investigating the effects of microgravity on materials processing and life sciences. Experiments investigated the microgravity effects on the growth of protein and semiconductor crystals. Other experiments focused on biological issues and investigated the effects of zero gravity on plants, tissues, bacteria, insects and the human vestibular response.
Dr. Thagard has received many awards. Some of these include the Aerospace Medical Association’s Hubertus Strughold Award, The Society of NASA Flight Surgeons’ W. Randolph Lovelace Award, National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Space Flight Medal, Florida State University’s “Grad Made Good” award and Westcott Medal, with the student health center designated the “Thagard Student Health Center” by legislative act (1986). Of special note was that Dr. Thagard was presented with Russia’s Friendship medal by President Boris Yeltsin.
In addition to currently being the Associate Dean at the College of Engineering, Florida A&M University, other activities include Executive Director, Challenger Learning Center of Tallahasee, Member, Space Studies Board of the National Research Council and Chairman of the Committee on Human Exploration, Member of the National Board of Advisors for the Mississippi University for Women, and Distinguished lecturer for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
The SPACE Agency 1350 NASA Road One, Suite 224, Houston, TX 77058

(281) 333-9500

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