Michael López-Alegría

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Michael López-Alegría
Michael Lopez-Alegria.jpg
Lopez in March 2000
Born (1958-05-30) May 30, 1958 (age 62)
Madrid, Spain
StatusRetired (NASA)
Active (Axiom Space)
OccupationEngineering test pilot
Space career
NASA / Axiom Astronaut
RankCaptain, USN
Time in space
257d 22h 46m
Selection1992 NASA Group
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
67 hours, 40 minutes 76 seconds
MissionsSTS-73, STS-92, STS-113, Soyuz TMA-9 (Expedition 14), SpaceX AX-1
Mission insignia
STS-73 STS-92 STS-113 Soyuz TMA-9 ISS Expedition 14
RetirementMarch 12, 2012

Michael López-Alegría (born May 30, 1958) is a Spanish-American astronaut and test pilot; a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and one International Space Station mission. He is known for having performed ten spacewalks so far in his career, presently holding the second longest all-time EVA duration record (first among NASA astronauts) and having the fifth-longest spaceflight of any American at the length of 215 days; this time was spent on board the ISS from September 18, 2006 to April 21, 2007.


López-Alegría was born in Madrid, Spain and raised in Mission Viejo, California. After graduating from Mission Viejo High School,[1] López-Alegría joined the United States Navy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering in 1980 from the United States Naval Academy, and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1988 from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Designated a Naval Aviator in 1981, his aviation experience in the Navy was as an instructor pilot in Training Squadron 2 (VT-2) at Naval Air Station Whiting Field near Pensacola, Florida, at Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 2 (VQ-2) in Rota, Spain, and the Naval Air Test Centerat NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. He the first EP-3E pilot to be selected for U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He is a graduate of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security. He is fluent in English, Spanish, French, and Russian.

His son Nicolas starred alongside López-Alegría in 2006 in Mira La Luna (directed by Eduard Bosch). A second documentary, directed by Manuel Huerga, Son And Moon, was released in Spanish theaters in 2009 featuring astronauts Mikhail Tyurin, Sunita Williams, and him.

Mission record[edit]

López-Alegría after landing of Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft in Kazakhstan.

López-Alegría's first space mission was STS-73 in 1995; for several years afterwards he led NASA's International Space Station (ISS) Crew Operations office before returning to space aboard STS-92 in 2000 and STS-113 in 2002. During flight STS-92, he tested the SAFER jet backpack with fellow astronaut Jeff Wisoff, flying up to 50 feet from the spacecraft.[2]

López-Alegría served as an aquanaut on the first NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) crew aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory in October 2001.[3]

On September 20, 2006 López-Alegría docked with the ISS as Commander of Expedition 14, having taken off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on September 18, onboard Soyuz TMA-9. On Expedition 14, he performed five spacewalks. On April 21, 2007, he undocked from the ISS and returned to Earth.

López-Alegría holds the all time American record for number of EVAs (10) and total EVA duration (67 hours and 40 minutes). The previous record holder, Jerry L. Ross had a total of 9 EVAs with a duration of 58 hours and 18 minutes. López-Alegría is the second most experienced spacewalker overall, behind Russia's Anatoly Solovyev. On April 2, 2007, López-Alegría set the record for the longest space mission of any American astronaut. When he landed on April 21, his time in space on a single mission was 215 days.[4] (The longest space mission on record is that of Valeriy Polyakov, who spent 437 days aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1994 and 1995.)

List of EVAs[edit]

López-Alegría conducting EVA during Expedition 14.
  • 2000-10-16 7:07 hours STS-92, EVA 2
  • 2000-10-18 6:56 hours STS-92, EVA 4
  • 2002-11-26 6:45 hours STS-113, EVA 1
  • 2002-11-28 6:10 hours STS-113, EVA 2
  • 2002-11-30 7:00 hours STS-113, EVA 3
  • 2006-11-22 7:39 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 1
  • 2007-01-31 7:55 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 2
  • 2007-02-04 7:11 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 3
  • 2007-02-07 6:39 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 4
  • 2007-02-22 6:18 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 5

At the end of his ISS mission, he commanded the longest flight by a Soyuz spacecraft, making Expedition 14 the longest expedition thus far. López-Alegría broke the record for longest spaceflight by an American astronaut.[5]

Post-NASA career[edit]

López-Alegría retired from NASA on March 12, 2012[6] and served as the President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation through the end of 2014. López-Alegría is an independent consultant to traditional and commercial space companies, serves on several advisory boards and committees to public and private organizations, and is engaged in public speaking domestically and internationally. He is based in Washington, DC.

In 2017 López-Alegría joined Axiom Space as director of Business Development.[7] He is planned to fly to the ISS in October 2021 as part of SpaceX Axiom Space-1, the Axiom Space Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station.[8][9]

In September of 2015, López-Alegría officiated the wedding of Kellie Gerardi and Steven Baumruk.[10] In December of 2019, López-Alegría officiated the wedding of Saúl Reza Arcelus and Jillianne Pierce.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with one award star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
NASA Space Flight Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Medal "For Merit in Space Exploration"

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ Khatchatryan, Astgik (May 2020). "Space of Honor". Orange Coast: 59.
  2. ^ STS-92 NASA Mission Report #15 NASA, 2008-10-18.
  3. ^ NASA (2006-03-21). "NASA – NEEMO History". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  4. ^ "Soyuz docks to station". Spaceflight Now.
  5. ^ "MICHAEL E. LOPEZ-ALEGRIA (CAPTAIN, USN, RET.) NASA ASTRONAUT (FORMER)" (PDF). NASA. March 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  6. ^ http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum38/HTML/001480.html
  7. ^ "About Axiom Space - Michael López-Alegría". Axiom Space. Archived from the original on February 7, 2019. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
    CHELSEY BALLARTE (July 17, 2017). "Congress toes a cautious line on support for commercial space partnerships". geekwire. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Irene Klotz [@Free_Space] (18 September 2020). "Space Hero mission is about 4th on @Axiom_Space manifest, Mike Suffredini tells @AviationWeek. First up in Oct '21 is flight of 3 private individuals and former @NASA_Astronauts Mike Lopez-Algeria" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Robert Z. Pearlman (26 January 2021). "Axiom Space Names First Private Crew to Visit Space Station". Scientific American. SPACE.com.
  10. ^ "A Glam, Space-Themed Wedding at Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock, Vermont". theknot.com. Retrieved 2020-08-07.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Pavel Vinogradov
ISS Expedition Commander
July 6, 2006 to April 21, 2007
Succeeded by
Fyodor Yurchikhin