Following graduate school at Princeton University, Barry was an National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in physics at Princeton. He then attended the University of Miami Medical School, graduating in 1982. He completed an internship and a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at the University of Michigan in 1985. He was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and in the Bioengineering Program at the University of Michigan in 1985, and his tenure was approved by the Regents in 1992. He spent the summers of 1985–87 at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, supported by the Grass Foundation for work in skeletal muscle physiology and as the Associate Director of the Grass Foundation Fellowship Program (1986–87). His research primarily involves biological signal processing, including signal processing theory, algorithms, and applications to specific biological systems. The applications include acoustic signals generated by contracting skeletal muscle, electrical signals from muscle, and heart sounds. He has also worked in prosthetic design. Barry’s work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Grass Foundation, and the American Heart Association of Michigan. He has five patents, over 50 articles in scientific journals, and has served on two scientific journal editorial boards.
Selected by NASA in March 1992, Barry reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1992. He completed one year of training and qualified for assignment as a mission specialist on Space Shuttle flight crews. Dr. Barry has worked on primary payload development, the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), portable computing issues for Space Shuttle, Chief of Astronaut Appearances, flight clinic ombudsman, source board member for the NASA Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), Astronaut Office representative to NASDA, the Japanese Space Agency, and a tour of duty with the Office of Biological & Physical Research, NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C. A veteran of three space flights, STS-72 (1996), STS-96 (1999) and STS-105 (2001), Barry logged over 734 hours in space, including 4 spacewalks totaling 25 hours and 53 minutes.
STS-72Endeavour (January 11–20, 1996) was a 9-day flight during which the crew retrieved the Space Flyer Unit (launched from Japan 10-months earlier) and deployed and retrieved the OAST-Flyer. Barry performed a 6 hour, 9 minute spacewalk designed to demonstrate and evaluate techniques to be used in the assembly of the International Space Station. Mission duration was 142 Earth orbits, traveling 3.7 million miles in 214 hours and 41 seconds. On this mission, Barry and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata were the first people to play Go in space; for this achievement, Barry received the honorary award of Ni Dan rank by the Nihon Kiin making him one of only four Western Go players to receive such an award. Barry and Wakata used a special Go set, which was named Go Space, designed by Wai-Cheung Willson Chow.
STS-96Discovery (May 27 to June 6, 1999) was the first mission to dock with the International Space Station. It was a ten-day mission during which the crew delivered four tons of logistics and supplies in preparation for the arrival of the first crew to live on the station. The mission was accomplished in 153 Earth orbits, traveling 4 million miles in 235 hours and 13 minutes. Barry performed a spacewalk for 7 hours and 55 minutes.
Barry exercises during the STS-105 mission.
STS-105Discovery (Aug 10–22, 2001) was the eleventh mission to the International Space Station. While at the orbital outpost, the STS-105 crew delivered the Expedition 3 crew, attached the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, and transferred over 2.7 metric tons of supplies and equipment to the station. Barry and Patrick G. Forrester performed two spacewalks totaling 11 hours and 45 minutes of EVA time. STS-105 also brought home the Expedition 2 crew. The STS-105 mission was accomplished in 186 orbits of the Earth, traveling over 4.9 million miles in 285 hours and 13 minutes.
Appearance on Survivor: Panama (Exile Island)
Barry was a contestant on the Survivor reality television series. He started in the older male tribe and immediately bonded with Terry Deitz due to their common flying backgrounds. When the four tribes were reduced to two, Barry and Deitz made an all-male alliance with Austin Carty and Nick Stanbury from the younger tribe. He also bonded with Ruth-Marie Milliman, which led to her being blindsided when she was voted out in Episode 4. He reconciled with his alliance-mates and finally revealed to Stanbury his background as an astronaut in Episode 6. When the Casaya tribe won the combined Reward/Immunity Challenge in that episode and sent Sally Schumann to Exile Island (making her immune from the Tribal Council vote), Barry's fate was sealed. Carty and Stanbury were allied, so when Deitz voted against him, Barry was voted out 3–1.