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.
Astronaut Wendy Lawrence was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1959. She has studied at the US Naval Academy, MIT, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She also spent time as the Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.
Lawrence was an accomplished Naval aviator with over 1500 hours in six different kinds of helicopters and 800 shipboard landings. Her childhood dream of flying in space led her to apply for the Astronaut Corps. In 1992, Lawrence was selected by NASA and began training for her first flight onboard Space Shuttle Endeavor as the first female graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to fly in space. Aboard Endeavour, the STS-67 crew’s mission was to study ultraviolet light radiating from distant objects and galaxies.
Lawrence went on to join three more shuttle crews over the next 10 years, including missions to Mir and the International Space Station. Wendy Lawrence’s final flight, STS-114 Return to Flight, was the first shuttle flight after the loss of Columbia. The crew of STS-114 tested and evaluated new procedures for the inspection and repair of the space shuttle thermal protection system, requiring EVA (extra vehicular activity or spacewalk) for in-flight repairs to the orbiter. Lawrence has spent a total of 51 days orbiting the Earth.
After 1225 hours in space, 11 years, and four shuttle flights later, Lawrence retired from NASA in 2006. She now spends her time supporting K-12 STEM education programs.