Michael Lampton

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Michael L. Lampton
Michael Lampton, Astronaut.jpg
UC Berkeley Payload Specialist
Nationality American
Born (1941-03-01) March 1, 1941 (age 73)
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Other occupation
Physicist, Space Sciences Laboratory
Missions STS-9, STS-45
Mission insignia

Michael Logan Lampton (born March 1, 1941) is an American astronaut, founder of the optical ray tracing company Stellar Software, and known for his ground-breaking paper on electroacoustics with Susan M Lea, The theory of maximally flat loudspeaker systems.[1]


Born March 1, 1941 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Married to Dr. Susan M. Lea with one daughter. He is a U.S. citizen.[2]


  • Bachelor of science in physics from Caltech, 1962
  • Ph.D. in physics from the University of California-Berkeley, 1967

SNAP Project[edit]

Lampton has been heavily involved with the SNAP project.[3] SNAP, the Supernova/Acceleration Probe, will study exploding stars called supernovae, as well as the gentle smearing of the light from distant galaxies due to gravity — called weak gravitational lensing — and put limits on what may or may not be the force driving the outward pull on the Universe. SNAP will investigate over one thousand square degrees of sky with a 500 megapixel camera.[4]

SNAP is part of the Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM), which is a cooperative venture between NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy. SNAP collaborators John Mather and George Smoot were awarded the 2006 Nobel prize in physics.[5]

Career with NASA[edit]

Lampton was a NASA astronaut from 1978 - 1992.[6] Below is a list of the missions he was a part of.

Year Mission Position
1983 STS-9/Columbia selected and served as backup payload specialist[7]
1985 STS-61K/Spacelab EOM 1-2 mission selected as payload specialist (mission cancelled after the Challenger accident)[8]
1989 STS-45/ATLAS-1 selected as payload specialist (the same mission as STS-61K—but renamed), replaced by backup payload specialist Dirk Frimout due to medical problems [9]


In 1961, while Lampton was attending Caltech he was one of the "Fiendish Fourteen", 14 students responsible for the Great Rose Bowl Hoax.