December 12, 1964|
Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.
Time in space
|25d 12h 41m|
|Selection||1998 NASA Group|
Kenneth Todd "Hock" Ham (born December 12, 1964) is a retired American astronaut and a captain in the United States Navy. Ham was selected for NASA's astronaut program in August 1998, while serving as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet lead carrier suitability test pilot. Ham's aviator call sign is "Hock". As of July 2013, Captain Ham served as the Chair of the Aerospace Engineering Department at the United States Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland. Captain Ham has worked for Bigelow Aerospace in North Las Vegas as of August 2014.
Early life and education
Ken Ham was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, to Ed and Marion Ham. He graduated from Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark, New Jersey in 1983, where he had started taking flying lessons at the suggestion of a high school guidance counselor.
He then went on to the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering. In 1996, he earned a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. A Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Ham is also a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association.
After earning his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in May 1987, Ham received flight training in T-34C, T-2C, and TA-4J aircraft. Ham was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1989, and subsequently received F/A-18 Hornet training. His operational assignments included stints with VFA-132 and VFA-105 fighter squadrons. During a temporary assignment to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Ham served as a crew member aboard NASA's reduced gravity research aircraft—a KC-135 Stratotanker nicknamed the "Vomit Comet".
At the Naval Postgraduate School/Test Pilot School, Ham participated in a cooperative program, studying aeronautical engineering for 18 months, followed by 12 months of test pilot training. He was selected as one of five Navy pilots on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Integrated Test Team, responsible for developing a new fleet aircraft. In this role, Ham conducted flight tests involving arrested landings, catapult assisted takeoffs, weapon separation, and evaluation of the aircraft's propulsion stability, performance and general flying qualities.
During two deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Ham conducted combat missions over Bosnia and North Iraq, serving as an air wing strike leader, F/A-18 demonstration pilot, and night vision goggle instructor. He has over 6,000 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft types, with over 300 shipboard and 300 land-based arrested landings.
Ham has served as CAPCOM for Space Shuttle ascent/entry and orbit, as well as the International Space Station (ISS). His most recent CAPCOM assignment was for NASA's "return to flight" mission, STS-114, of the Space Shuttle. He made his first spaceflight as pilot of STS-124, in which Discovery flew to the International Space Station in June 2008. He also flew as the commander of mission STS-132, which launched on May 14, 2010 and landed on May 26, 2010.
Ham was married to Michelle Lucas of Hobart, Indiana, and has two children, Ryan and Randy, from a previous marriage to Linda Hautzinger Ham. His recreational interests include baseball, running, weight lifting, general aviation, snow skiing, water skiing, skydiving and scuba diving. On October 7, 2014, Ham was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame for his contributions to spaceflight and aviation throughout his career. Also in his spare time, he has been the resident astronaut on the ISSET run program Mission Discovery, where he shares his experiences with teenagers and tries to help them learn new skills throughout the length of time the program runs.
- "NASA Astronauts Kenneth Ham and Nicholas Patrick Leave Agency". NASA. June 15, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- Ham, Kenneth. Valparaiso, IN. 2014. Keynote speech.
- Caroom, Eliot. "Clark native set to lead one of last NASA shuttle missions", The Star-Ledger, May 2, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2011. "A love of flight and a helpful guidance counselor led Kenneth Ham from his high school in Clark to a trip to the International Space Station next week. Ham is one of several Garden State natives who will be among the last astronauts on a space shuttle as NASA winds down the long-running program this year. For Ham, his path to the stars began in the early 1980s at Arthur L. Johnson High School."
- NASA (May 14, 2009). "NASA Assigns Crew for STS-132 Space Shuttle Mission". NASA. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
- "Mission Discovery program takes off". Retrieved 30 November 2016.