NASA selects astronauts from a diverse pool of applicants with a wide variety of backgrounds from scientists to pilots. From the thousands of applications received, only a few are chosen to be a member of the elite NASA Astronaut Corps. Each day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visitors get the rare opportunity to meet veteran NASA astronauts.
You may meet the Astronaut of the Day at any of the following opportunities. See the Daily Schedule for times when you arrive.
Bill McArthur, was born on July 26, 1951, in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and grew up in Wakulla, North Carolina. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York in 1973, and in 1983 received his Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
McArthur was assigned to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 1987 as a space shuttle vehicle integration test engineer, which included serving as the engineering liaison for launch and landing operations of the space shuttle. In January 1990, NASA selected McArthur to be an astronaut. His first mission was aboard the STS-58 Columbia. While on the mission, the crew performed many medical experiments to expand our knowledge of human and animal physiology on Earth and in spaceflight. Additionally, the crew performed engineering tests and communicated with school children through the Shuttle Amateur Radio experiment. McArthur also went on the STS-74 Atlantis mission, STS-92 Discovery mission and the Expedition 12.
Since then, McArthur has held various assignments within the Astronaut Office, including working on issues relating to the solid rocket booster, served as chief of the Astronaut Office Flight Support branch, and later, chief of the Astronaut Office Space Station branch. He enjoys biking, photography and working with personal computers. McArthur is also an avid ham radio operator. By the time McArthur retired from the army in 2001, he had logged over 9,000 flight hours in 41 different air/spacecraft, making him a master army aviator.