Astronaut Jerry Ross, the first person to launch into space seven times, has announced his retirement from NASA. Throughout his NASA career, which began in 1979, Ross achieved many distinctions and proved to be a valuable asset both in and out of a spacesuit. One distinction – having flown into space seven times – is one that he shares with only one other Astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz.
Initially hired as a payload officer and flight controller, Ross was selected as an Astronaut by NASA in 1980. Ross would go to spend almost 1,400 hours in space during his seven trips, flying on space shuttles Endeavour, Columbia, and Atlantis. His first (STS-61B in 1985) and final (STS-110 in 2022) space flights were on the space shuttle Atlantis, which accounted for two of his five flights on that orbiter. During his time in space, Ross conducted nine spacewalks that totaled 59 hours and 18 minutes. These spacewalks earned him the rank of third on the list of most extravehicular activity time in space.
Ross had a very versatile spaceflight career over his seven-mission span. He assisted in the deployment of several satellites and payloads, and he performed several experiments in the fields of life science, materials, Earth science, physics, robotics, and astronomy. He traveled to the International Space Station (ISS), where he assisted in connecting the U.S.-built Unity node to the Russian Zarya module. On his final mission to space, he assisted in the delivery and installation of the S0(S-Zero) truss.
Following his spaceflight mission duties, Ross went on to serve as manager of the NASA Vehicle Integration Test Office. According to his NASA biography, Ross supported the Space Shuttle Program as an Astronaut from before the first launch in April 1981 to the last landing in July 2011. He also supported the ISS Program from its inception through the completion of assembly in 2011
According to the chief of the Astronaut Office, Peggy Whitson: “Jerry has been instrumental in the success of many of NASA’s human spaceflight missions and numerous spacewalks. Not only were his skills and operational excellence key in major spaceflight activities but his expertise and vigilance also helped all those who followed in his footsteps. We are the better for his years of dedication to the corps and NASA.”
For Ross’ complete biography, visit: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/ross.html