Jim Wetherbee

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James D. Wetherbee
James Wetherbee.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Nationality American
Status Retired
Born (1952-11-27) November 27, 1952 (age 62)
Flushing, New York, U.S.
Other names
James Donald Wetherbee
Other occupation
Naval aviator, test pilot
University of Notre Dame, B.S. 1974
Rank Captain, USN
Time in space
66d 10h 23m
Selection 1984 NASA Group 10
Missions STS-32, STS-52, STS-63, STS-86, STS-102, STS-113
Mission insignia
STS-32 patch.png Sts-52-patch.png Sts-63-patch.png Sts-86-patch.png Sts-102-patch.png Sts-113-patch.png
Retirement January 3, 2005
Awards Dfc-usa.jpg

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[edit]

Wetherbee was born on November 27, 1952, in Flushing, New York, and raised in Huntington Station, New York.[1] 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.

Navy service[edit]

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.[2]

He has logged over 7,000 hours flying time in 20 different types of aircraft, including 345 carrier landings.

NASA career[edit]

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.

Post-NASA career[edit]

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.

Personal life[edit]

Wetherbee is married to former Robin DeVore Platt of Jacksonville, Florida and has two children.

Awards and honors[edit]


  • Only American to have commanded five missions in space.[3]
  • Has landed the Space Shuttle more times than anyone (five).[3]
  • At 6'4" (1.93 m), Jim Wetherbee is the tallest person to fly in space.[6]


External links[edit]