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.
Thomas D. Jones, PhD, is a scientist, author, pilot, and former NASA astronaut. He holds a doctorate in planetary sciences, and in more than eleven years with NASA, flew on four space shuttle missions to Earth orbit.
After graduation from the Air Force Academy, Tom piloted B-52D strategic bombers, studied asteroids for NASA, engineered intelligence-gathering systems for the CIA, and as a NASA contractor, developed advanced mission concepts to explore the solar system.
His last space flight was aboard Atlantis on STS-98, in February 2001. Dr. Jones and his crew delivered the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module to the Space Station, and he helped install the Lab in a series of 3 space walks lasting over 19 hours. The successful addition of Destiny gave the first Expedition Crew the largest space outpost in history and marked the start of onboard scientific research at the ISS. A veteran of four space flights, Dr. Jones has logged over 52 days (1,272 hours) in space, including 3 space walks totaling over 19 hours.
Dr. Jones' awards include the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, four NASA Space Flight Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Exceptional Public Service award, Phi Beta Kappa, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and Distinguished Eagle Scout. Main belt asteroid 1082 Tom Jones is named in his honor.