Sandra Magnus Departs NASA for American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Photo Credit: Alan Walters /

NASA has lost another member of its astronaut corps. Sandra Magnus, who flew three times into space, including the final mission of the space shuttle era, STS-135, has left the space agency for a position with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Magnus first flew to orbit on space shuttle Atlantis as OV-104 conducted the STS-112 mission. STS-112 took place in Oct. 2002, and was an assembly flight for the International Space Station (ISS). During this mission, Magnus utilized the station’s robotic arm to install and outfit the S-1 truss which was the mission’s primary objective.

In 2008, Magnus rode Endeavour to orbit on STS-126. During this flight she joined the station’s Expedition 18 crew and served as its science officer. Magnus assisted in continuing the station’s outfitting during this mission by seeing that an exercise device, toilet and a water regeneration device was installed. She returned home with the STS-119 crew on board shuttle Discovery.

Finally, in 2010, Magnus traveled into space for the final time as Atlantis traveled to orbit for the last time on a resupply mission to the space station. Atlantis carried the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module or MPLM, which had been packed with supplies. Magnus role on this mission was vital, as she served as the load master, the crew member responsible for the offloading of those supplies.

Magnus rejoined her STS-135 crew members, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialist Rex Walheim on Friday, Nov. 2 as Atlantis was transferred to her new home at the adjacent Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

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