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.
Kenneth Cameron was born in Cleveland, Ohio, November 29, 1949. Cameron received his bachelor’s degree and Master of Science in Aeronautics & Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He entered the U.S. Navy test pilot school in 1983. During his time there, Ken completed courses in the Russian language and studied the Russian space systems at MIT, Johnson Space Center, and even the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Moscow, Russia.
After school, Cameron joined the U.S. Marine Corps rising through the ranks to colonel. He logged more than 4,000 hours of flight time in 48 different aircrafts and was recognized for many achievements including Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Medal, and two Distinguished Flying Cross awards. Ken’s extensive educational, military, and flight experience made him an excellent astronaut candidate, and he was selected by NASA in 1984.
Cameron is a veteran of three space flights. In April 1991, he piloted STS-37 Atlantis, where he and the crew successfully deployed the Gamma Ray Observatory. Cameron also commanded missions STS-56 Discovery which carried ATLAS-2, and STS-74 Atlantis which accomplished the second rendezvous with Russian Space Station Mir. STS-74 was the first mission where the shuttle was used to assemble a module, then attach it to the space station, thus initializing and validating the future of the International Space Station.
Along with flying aboard three missions, Cameron worked closely with NASA launch support, where he assisted as a spacecraft communicator in mission control for five missions, tested flight software and served as the first NASA Director of Operations in Star City, Moscow. He took a hiatus from NASA in 1996, working for Hughes Training Inc., a subsidiary of General Motors, and Saab Automobile. Cameron simultaneously completed a Master of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University in 2002. Cameron returned to NASA in 2003 as a founding member for the NASA Engineering & Safety Center. He retired in 2008, joining Northrup Grumman Aerospace Systems as the Director of Houston Operations.