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Dr Kathryn Dwyer (Kathy) Sullivan American Mission Specialist Astronaut. Born 3 October 1951. Geologist, first American woman to walk in space.

Personal: Female, unmarried. Born in Paterson, New Jersey, USA. PhD

Astronaut Career

Astronaut Group: NASA Group 8 - 1978. Inactive Entered space service: 16 January 1978. Left space service: June 1993. Number of Flights: 3.00. Total Time: 22.20 days. Number of EVAs: 1.00. Total EVA Time: 0.15 days.

As of 1999 Ms Sullivan was Director of the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio.

Official NASA Biography

NAME: Kathryn D. Sullivan (Ph.D.)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born October 3, 1951, in Paterson, New Jersey, but considers Woodland Hills, California to be her hometown. Her father, Donald P. Sullivan, resides in Cupertino, California; her mother, Barbara K. Sullivan, is deceased.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Brown hair; green eyes; 5 feet 6 inches; 150 pounds.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Taft High School, Woodland Hills, California, in 1969; received a bachelor of science degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1973, and a doctorate in geology from Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) in 1978. Awarded honorary degrees by Dalhousie in 1985 and the State University of New York in 1991.


RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: She enjoys flying, squash, bicycling, backpacking, and reading in her spare time.

ORGANIZATIONS: Appointed to the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel in 1988. In March 1985, Dr. Sullivan was appointed, by President Reagan, to the National Commission on Space. The Commission's report, entitled "Pioneering the Space Frontier," laid out goals for U.S. civilian space activities over the next 25 years. She is also a member of the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Explorers Club, the Society of Woman Geographers, and the Sierra Club.

SPECIAL HONORS: NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1988); Ten Outstanding Young People of the World Award, Jaycees International (1987); Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award, U.S. Jaycees (1987); National Air and Space Museum Trophy, Smithsonian Institution (1985); NASA Space Flight Medal (1984 & 1990); AIAA Haley Apace Flight Award (1991); AAS Space Flight Achievement Award (1991).
Official portrait of Astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan...
Credit- NASA

EXPERIENCE: Much of Dr. Sullivan's efforts prior to joining NASA were concentrated in academic study and research. She was an earth sciences major at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and spent 1971-1972 as an exchange student at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her bachelor's degree (with honors) was awarded in 1973.

Her doctoral studies at Dalhousie University included participation in a variety of oceanographic expeditions, under the auspices of the U.S. Geological Survey, Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the Bedford Institute. Her research included the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Newfoundland Basin, and fault zones off the Southern California Coast.

Dr. Sullivan is an oceanography officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, currently holding the rank of lieutenant commander.

She is a private pilot, rated in powered and glider aircraft.

In 1985, Dr. Sullivan became an Adjunct Professor of Geology at Rice University, Houston, Texas.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in January 1978, Dr. Sullivan became an astronaut in August 1979. Her Shuttle support assignments have included: software development; launch and landing lead chase photographer; Orbiter and cargo test, checkout and launch support at Kennedy Space Center, Florida; extravehicular activity (EVA) and spacesuit support crew for several flights; and Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control for numerous Shuttle missions. A veteran of three space flights, Dr. Sullivan was a mission specialist on STS-41G (October 5-13, 1984), STS-31 (April 24-29, 1990), and STS-45 (March 24-April 2, 1992).

Since joining NASA, Dr. Sullivan's research interests have focused on remote sensing. She qualified as a systems engineer operator in NASA's WB-57F high-altitude research aircraft in 1978 and has participated in several remote sensing projects in Alaska. She was a Co-Investigator on the Shuttle Imaging Radar-B (SIR-B) experiment, which she flew on Mission STS-41G.

Her first mission, STS-41G, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 5, 1984, with a crew of seven. During their eight-day mission, the crew deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, conducted scientific observations of the earth with the OSTA-3 pallet (including the SIR-B radar, FILE, and MAPS experiments) and large format camera (LFC), conducted a satellite refueling demonstration using hydrazine fuel with the Orbital Refueling System (ORS), and conducted numerous in-cabin experiments as well as activating eight "Getaway Special" canisters. Dr. Sullivan and Commander Leestma also successfully conducted a 3-1/2 hour Extravehicular Activity (EVA) to demonstrate the feasibility of actual satellite refueling, making her the first U.S. woman to perform an EVA. STS-41G completed 132 orbits of the Earth in 197.5 hours, before landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 13, 1984.
Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan using binoculars for magnified viewing of earth...
Credit- NASA

In April 1990, Dr. Sullivan served on the crew of STS-31, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 24, 1990. During this five-day mission, crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, and conducted a variety of middeck experiments involving the study of protein crystal growth, polymer membrane processing, and the effects of weightlessness and magnetic fields on an ion arc. They also operated a variety of cameras, including both the IMAX in-cabin and cargo bay cameras, for earth observations from their record setting altitude of 380 miles. Following 76 orbits of the earth in 121 hours, STS-31 Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 29, 1990.

More recently, Dr. Sullivan served as Payload Commander on STS-45, the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. During this nine-day mission, the crew operated the twelve experiments that constituted the ATLAS-1 (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science) cargo. ATLAS-1 obtained a vast array of detailed measurements of detailed measurements of atmospheric chemical and physical properties, which will contribute significantly to improving our understanding of our climate and atmosphere. In addition, this was the first time an artificial beam of electrons was used to stimulate a man-made auroral discharge.

With the completion of her third mission, Dr. Sullivan has logged 532 hours in space.

APRIL 1992

Sullivan Spaceflight Log

  • 5 October 1984 Flight: STS-41-G. Flight Up: STS-41-G. Flight Back: STS-41-G. Flight Time: 8.22 days.
  • 24 April 1990 Flight: STS-31. Flight Up: STS-31. Flight Back: STS-31. Flight Time: 5.05 days.
  • 24 March 1992 Flight: STS-45. Flight Up: STS-45. Flight Back: STS-45. Flight Time: 8.92 days.

Sullivan Chronology

16 January 1978 - NASA Astronaut Training Group 8 selected.. The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Recruit women and minorities to introduce diversity into the astronaut corps. Qualifications: Pilots: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degree desirable. At least 1,000 flight-hours of pilot-in-command time. Flight test experience desirable. Excellent health. Vision minimum 20/50 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 vision; maximum sitting blood pressure 140/90. Height between 163 and 193 cm.
Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan checks SIR-B antenna during EVA...
Credit- NASA

Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm.. 8,079 applicants, of which half met the basic qualifications. 208 invited for physical tests and interviews. Of the 35 selected, six were women, three were male African-Americans, and one was a male Asian-American.

5 October 1984 - STS-41-G. Manned seven crew. Deployed ERBS; performed high resolution Earth imagery. Payloads: Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) deployment, Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (OSTA)-3 experiments, Large Format Camera (LFC). First use of Orbital Refueling System (ORS) with extravehicular activity (EVA) astronauts, IMAX camera. In response to the American Strategic Defence Initiative and continued military use of the shuttle, the Soviet Union fired a 'warning shot' from the Terra-3 laser complex at Sary Shagan. The facility tracked Challenger with a low power laser on 10 October 1984. This caused malfunctions to on-board equipment and discomfort / temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.
11 October 1984 - EVA STS-41-G-1. Simulated refuelling of satellite.
13 October 1984 - Landing of STS-41-G. STS-41-G landed at 16:11 GMT.
1986 August - STS-61-J (cancelled). Planned shuttle mission for deployment of Hubble space telescope. Cancelled after Challenger disaster.
24 April 1990 - STS-31. Deployed HST (Hubble Space Telescope). Payloads: Deployment of Hubble Space Telescope, IMAX camera in payload bay and in crew compartment, Protein Crystal Growth III-03, Investigation Into Polymer Membrane Process-ing- 01, Air Force Maui Optical Site-05, Radiation Monitoring Equipment III-01, Student Experiment 82-16, and Ascent Particle Monitor 01.
29 April 1990 - Landing of STS-31. STS-31 landed at 13:44 GMT.
24 March 1992 - STS-45. Manned seven crew. Carried ATLAS-1 experimental package. Payloads: Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS)-1, Shuttle Solar Backscat-ter Ultraviolet (SSBUV)-4, Getaway Special Experiment G-229, Space Tissue Loss (STL)-1, Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME)-lIl, Visual Function Tester (VFT)-lI, Cloud Logic To Opti-mize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS)-1A, Investigations Into Polymer Membrane Process-ing (IPMP), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX)-Il, Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPl).
2 April 1992 - Landing of STS-45. STS-45 landed at 11:21 GMT.


STS-31 MS Sullivan wearing EMU prepares for contingency EVA in OV-103 airlock...
Credit- NASA

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