Meet Astronaut Mark Lee
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.
Astronaut Mark Lee was an experienced pilot and logged 4,500 hours of flying time before joining NASA in 1984. His journey began at the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and an assignment at Okinawa Air Base, Japan for over 2 years. Lee returned to America to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and receive a master's degree in mechanical engineering by 1980. He eventually became an executive officer and flight commander at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, before he was selected to join the Astronaut Corps.
Lee has acted twice as Mission Specialist and twice as Payload Commander for 4 space shuttle flights. His first flight aboard Atlantis deployed the Magellan spacecraft designed to explore Venus' atmosphere and magnetic field and photograph the planet's surface. His most recent journey to space was on shuttle Discovery to capture and repair the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Lee guided the crew to completing the mission and released the HST at a higher orbit so it could start recording new information.
Lee has performed a total of 26 hours of extravehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalks, including an untethered walk to test the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) jetpack. He continued to work with NASA as Chief of the EVA Robotics Branch until his retirement in 2001. He currently lives in Texas where he is the managing principal for the Houston office of Affiliated Engineers.