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.
Bruce Melnick was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in 1987. On October 6, after a year of training, he was assigned as a mission specialist aboard space shuttle Discovery for flight STS-41. He and the crew deployed the ULYSSES spacecraft, designed to study the polar regions of the sun. Other payloads and experiments included mapping atmospheric ozone levels of Earth via the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet instrument (SSBUV), conducting a Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE) to create fire in space and performing multiple experiments on plants.
As part of the crew of STS-49, on the maiden flight of space shuttle Endeavour in 1992, Melnick served as a flight engineer. He assisted in the capture of the Intelsat VI communications satellite using the Remote Manipulator System. The crew attached a new rocket to the satellite before releasing it back into orbit.
Bruce Melnick began his career in the Armed Forces, serving in the Coast Guard for twenty years.
He earned numerous awards, including two Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. During his military career, Melnick logged more than 5,000 hours flying time, primarily in the H-3, H-52, H-65 and T-38 aircraft.
Bruce Melnick, now retired, continues to work toward the advancement of space exploration. From 1992-1996 he worked for Lockheed Martin, as Vice President/Director for Shuttle Engineering. He then became Vice President at the Boeing Company for NASA’s Payload Ground Operations Contract at Kennedy Space Center. There, Melnick arranged and prepared space shuttles for launch and processed the shuttles after landing.