Private Sector Lures Veteran Astronaut Away
NASA astronaut Carl Walz is leaving the agency to take a job in
the private sector.
Walz most recently served as director for the Advanced
Capabilities Division in the Exploration Systems Mission
Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. In the division, he
played a key role in developing technologies that will lead to
greater capabilities in robotic and human exploration of the solar
system. He oversaw work in many fields, including nuclear power and
propulsion, human adaptation to spaceflight, and lunar exploration.
Many of these programs will help humans return to the moon and
develop a sustained presence there.
"NASA owes a great debt to Carl Walz for his service as an
astronaut and the expertise and perspective he has shared with us
in the Advanced Capabilities Division," said Doug Cooke, associate
administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. "The
legacy of his leadership will be strongly felt in the next
generation of manned space missions."
A veteran of four space shuttle missions and one International
Space Station expedition, Walz spent 231 days in space. He and
fellow astronaut Dan Bursch held the US spaceflight endurance
record of 196 days in space until April 2007.
Expedition 4, his last mission, launched aboard space shuttle
Endeavour in December 2001. Walz, one of the station's earliest
inhabitants, set up equipment and experiments for the orbiting
laboratory. He also completed two spacewalks during the mission,
one in a Russian Orlan suit to outfit the Russian-supplied docking
compartment and one in a US spacesuit to prepare the station for
its first truss segment. His spacewalks lasted a total of 11 hours,
A retired US Air Force Colonel, Walz also flew on STS-51 in
September 1993, STS-65 in July 1994 and STS-79 in September
and the STS-51 crew deployed the US Advanced Communications
Technology Satellite and the Shuttle Pallet Satellite. He also took
a seven-hour spacewalk to evaluate tools for the Hubble Space
Telescope servicing mission during that flight.
During STS-65, Walz and the crew worked in the second
International Microgravity Laboratory spacelab module and conducted
more than 80 materials and life sciences experiments. That mission
completed 236 orbits of Earth, traveling 6.1 million miles and
setting a new flight duration record for the shuttle program.
On STS-79, the seven-member crew docked with the Russian Mir
station and set a record for docked mass in space. That mission
also completed a crew transfer, provided vital supplies to the Mir,
and conducted important research and technology demonstrations.
NASA selected Walz as an astronaut in January 1990. In addition
to his flights, he served in a variety of technical and management
positions within the Astronaut Office in Houston.