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|James D. Wetherbee|
November 27, 1952 |
Flushing, New York, U.S.
|James Donald Wetherbee|
|Naval aviator, test pilot|
|University of Notre Dame, B.S. 1974|
Time in space
|66d 10h 23m|
|Selection||1984 NASA Group 10|
|Missions||STS-32, STS-52, STS-63, STS-86, STS-102, STS-113|
|Retirement||January 3, 2005|
James Donald "Wxb" Wetherbee (born November 27, 1952), (Capt, USN, Ret.), is an American former naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aerospace engineer, and NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of six Space Shuttle missions and is the only American to have commanded five spaceflight missions.
Early life and education
Wetherbee was born on November 27, 1952, in Flushing, New York, and raised in Huntington Station, New York. He enjoys tennis, skiing, softball, running, and music. He graduated from Holy Family Diocesan High School in South Huntington, New York, in 1970. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1974.
Following his graduation from the Notre Dame, he received his commission in the United States Navy. He was designated a aviator in December 1976. After training in the A-7E, he was assigned to Attack Squadron 72 (VA-72) from August 1977 to November 1980 aboard the USS John F. Kennedy and logged 125 night carrier landings.
After attending the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Maryland, in 1981 he was assigned to the Systems Engineering Test Directorate. He was a project officer and test pilot for the weapons delivery system and avionics integration for the F/A-18 aircraft. Subsequently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 132 (VFA-132), he flew operationally in the F/A-18 from January 1984 until his selection for the astronaut candidate program.
He has logged over 7,000 hours flying time in 20 different types of aircraft, including 345 carrier landings.
Wetherbee has been selected as an astronaut candidate in 1984. He piloted mission STS-32 in 1990 and commanded missions STS-52 (1992), STS-63 (1995), STS-86 (1997), STS-102 (2001), and STS-113 (2002). The final three missions were dockings with Mir and the International Space Station; STS-113 was the last Space Shuttle mission before the Columbia disaster.
Wetherbee retired from the U.S. Navy in 2003, and left NASA in 2005 to become a consultant. He joined BP in 2006 as a safety auditor, and retired in 2014. He is currently working as a drummer and as a consultant for leaders in hazardous environments.
Wetherbee is married to former Robin DeVore Platt of Jacksonville, Florida and has two children.
Awards and honors
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Navy Achievement Medal
- two Meritorious Unit Commendations
- six NASA Space Flight Medals
- two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals
- four NASA Distinguished Service Medals
- Lifetime Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots
- Honorary Member of the Musicians’ Union, Local 47, American Federation of Musicians, Los Angeles, CA. 
- Inducted into the Long Island Air and Space Hall of Fame in the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, NY. 
- Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
- Only American to have commanded five missions in space.
- Has landed the Space Shuttle more times than anyone (five).
- At 6'4" (1.93 m), Jim Wetherbee is the tallest person to fly in space.
- Kerr, Kathleen. Alec is BA "They Began Here: Around the country, leading thinkers in health and science can trace their roots to Long Island", Newsday, July 16, 2008. Accessed September 17, 2008.
- Jim Wetherbee's flight experience
- "Cradle of Aviation Museum". https://www.cradleofaviation.org/event/2014/05/05/an-evening-with-space-shuttle-astronaut-jim-wetherbee.
- U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at KSC Visitor Complex - Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, retrieved 2009-05-04
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jim Wetherbee.|
- Official NASA biography
- Astronautix biography of Jim Wetherbee
- Spacefacts biography of Jim Wetherbee