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.
Dr. Scott Parazynski is a graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Medical School and went on to train at Harvard and in Denver in preparation for a career in emergency medicine and trauma. In 1992 he was selected to join NASA’s Astronaut Corps and eventually flew 5 Space Shuttle Missions and conducted 7 spacewalks (EVAs). In his 17 years as an astronaut, he served in numerous senior leadership roles, including EVA Branch Chief and the Lead Astronaut for Space Shuttle Thermal Protection System Inspection & Repair in the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy. Mission highlights include a global ozone mapping mission on STS-66; leading the first joint US-Russian spacewalk during STS-86 while docked to the Russian space station Mir; serving as Senator John Glenn’s crewmate and “personal physician” during STS-95; the EVA positioned by a 90-foot robotic boom to repair a solar array wing during STS-120 and conducting EVA assembly of the Canadian-built space station arm during STS-100. Dr. Parazynski has spent over 8 weeks in space with more than 47 hours outside on spacewalks and traveled over 23 million miles in orbit. In May of 2016, Scott was inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center, FL.
In addition to being a life-long SCUBA diver and accomplished mountaineer, Scott is also a commercial, instrument, multiengine and seaplane-rated pilot with over 2,500 flight hours. On his second attempt to scale Mt. Everest, on May 20, 2009, he became the first (and only) astronaut to stand on top of the world.
In November 2014 Dr. Scott Parazynski was designated University Explorer and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including five NASA Spaceflight Medals, two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, and two NASA Exceptional Service Medals among many others. He has given keynotes and lectures all over the world, to audiences young and old.