[Thomas D. Jones] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Thomas D. Jones (Ph.D.)
NASA Astronaut

Born January 22, 1955, in Baltimore, Maryland. Enjoys baseball, hiking, biking, camping, skiing, and recreational flying. An avid reader, his favorite subjects are aviation and military history, particularly the American Civil War.

Graduated from Kenwood Senior High School, Essex, Maryland, in 1973; received a bachelor of science degree in basic sciences from the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in Colorado Springs in 1977, and a doctorate in planetary science from the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1988.

Member of the American Astronomical Society (Division for Planetary Sciences), and the American Geophysical Union.

NASA Exceptional Service Award, 1997. NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, 1995. Komarov Diploma, Federation Aéronautique Internationale, 1997 and 1995. NASA Space Flight Medal, 1996 and 1994. Phi Beta Kappa, University of Arizona, 1988. NASA Graduate Student Research Fellow, 1987. Air Force Commendation Medal, 1983. Distinguished Graduate and Outstanding Graduate in Basic Sciences, USAF Academy, 1977. National Merit Scholar, 1973. Eagle Scout, 1969.

A Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Academy, Dr. Jones served on active duty as an Air Force officer for 6 years. After pilot training in Oklahoma, he flew strategic bombers at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. As pilot and aircraft commander of a B-52D Stratofortress, he led a combat crew of six, accumulating over 2,000 hours of jet experience before resigning as a captain in 1983.

From 1983 to 1988 he worked toward a Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Tucson. His research interests included the remote sensing of asteroids, meteorite spectroscopy, and applications of space resources. From 1989 to 1990, he was a program management engineer in Washington, D.C., at the CIA's Office of Development and Engineering. In 1990 he joined Science Applications International Corporation in Washington, D.C. as a senior scientist. Dr. Jones performed advanced program planning for NASA's Solar System Exploration Division, investigating future robotic missions to Mars, asteroids, and the outer solar system.

After a year of training following his selection by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Jones became an astronaut in July 1991. In 1994 he flew as a mission specialist on successive flights of space shuttle Endeavour. First, in April 1994, he ran science operations on the "night shift" during STS-59, the first flight of the Space Radar Laboratory (SRL-1). Then, in October 1994, he was the payload commander on the SRL-2 mission, STS-68. Dr. Jones next flew in late 1996 on Columbia. Mission STS-80 successfully deployed and retrieved 2 science satellites, ORFEUS/SPAS and the Wake Shield Facility. While helping set a Shuttle endurance record of nearly 18 days in orbit, Dr. Jones used Columbia's robot arm to release the Wake Shield satellite and later grapple it from orbit. Dr. Jones has logged over 40 days (963 hours) in space.

Dr. Jones currently represents the Astronaut Office on the NASA team planning the construction and operation of the International Space Station. He is assigned to fly next on Space Station Assembly Mission 5A, STS-98, targeted for launch in late 1999. Dr. Jones' crew will deliver the U.S. Laboratory Module to the Space Station, and he will help install the Lab with a series of three spacewalks. The STS-98 mission will provide the station with science research facilities and expand its power, life support and control capabilities..


Click here to return to the SPACE EDUCATORS' HANDBOOK HOME PAGE.