Randolph Bresnik

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Randolph Bresnik
Bresnik in 2009
Born (1967-09-11) September 11, 1967 (age 56)
Alma materThe Citadel, B.A. 1989
University of Tennessee-Knoxville, M.S. 2002
Occupation(s)Fighter pilot, test pilot
Space career
NASA Astronaut
RankColonel, USMC (retired)
Time in space
149 days 12 hours 12 minutes
Selection2004 NASA Group 19
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
32 hours [1]
MissionsSTS-129, Soyuz MS-05 (Expedition 52/53)
Mission insignia

Randolph James "Komrade"[2][3] Bresnik (born September 11, 1967) is a retired officer in the United States Marine Corps and an active NASA astronaut.[4] A Marine Aviator by trade, Bresnik was selected as a member of NASA Astronaut Group 19 in May 2004.[5] He first launched to space on STS-129, then served as flight engineer for Expedition 52, and as ISS commander for Expedition 53.[6]


Bresnik was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, but considers Santa Monica, California, to be his hometown.[4]

Bresnik graduated from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California, in 1985.[4] He then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from The Citadel in 1989, and later a Master of Science degree in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2002.[4] He then graduated from the Air War College in 2008. Randy is the first graduate of The Citadel to fly in space.[7]

Bresnik's family includes his wife, Rebecca Burgin of Pompton Plains, New Jersey, a son Wyatt (2006), and a daughter Abigail Mae (2009) who was born while he was in orbit during STS-129. This marked the second time a space traveler became a parent while on orbit; it first happened when Franz Viehböck's daughter was born while he was in space in 1991.[8] Bresnik's wife Rebecca has worked at NASA as acting associate general counsel of its International, Space and National Security Law Group.[9] His father is Albert 'Randy' Bresnik, a pilot himself, serving in the Vietnam war and later in domestic duties.[4] His grandfather, Albert Louis 'Al' Bresnik, was Amelia Earhart's photographer.[10]

Marine Corps[edit]

In May 1989, Bresnik received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at The Citadel. After graduation he attended The Basic School (TBS) and Infantry Officers Course (IOC) at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Following Aviation Indoctrination and Primary flight training in Pensacola, Florida, he entered Intermediate and Advanced flight training in Beeville, Texas, and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1992.[4]

Bresnik then reported to the Navy Fighter/Attack Training Squadron VFA-106, Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida, for initial F/A-18 training. Upon completion of training, he reported to Marine Fighter/Attack Squadron, VMFA-212 at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, then MCAS El Toro, California, and additionally MCAS Miramar, California, where he made three overseas deployments to the Western Pacific. While assigned to VMFA-212, he attended the Marine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course (WTI) and Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN).[4]

Bresnik was selected for the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and began the course January 1999. After graduation in December 1999, he was assigned as an F/A-18 Test Pilot/Project Officer at VX-23, the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron (NSATS). While at Strike, Bresnik flew the F/A-18 A-D and F/A-18 E/F in all manners of flight test.[4]

In January 2001, he returned to the USNTPS as a Fixed-Wing and Systems Flight Instructor, where he instructed in the F/A-18, T-38 Talon, and T-2 Buckeye. Bresnik returned to NSATS in January 2002 to continue flight test on the F/A-18 A-F as the Platform/Project Coordinator.

In November 2002, he reported to Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11) as the Future Operations Officer. In January 2003, MAG-11 deployed to Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base, Kuwait. From Al Jaber, he flew combat missions in the F/A-18 with VMFA(AW)-225 in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Bresnik was the Operations Officer of VMFA-232 when he was selected for the astronaut program.

Bresnik has logged more than 6,000 hours on 81 different aircraft.[4]

During his military service he was awarded: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat "V" (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), Presidential Unit Citation and various other service awards.

NASA career[edit]

STS 129: Bresnik participates in the mission's second session of extravehicular activity

Bresnik was selected by NASA in May 2004 as an astronaut candidate. He was one of two pilots chosen in the Astronaut Class of 2004.[5] In February 2006, he completed Astronaut Candidate Training.[4] Bresnik participated in the first analogue ESA CAVES[11] mission in September 2011, staying underground and exploring the caves for 6 days, simulating Mars mission technologies.[12][13]

On June 10, 2014, NASA announced that Bresnik would command the NEEMO 19 undersea exploration mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory, which began on September 7, 2014, and lasted seven days.[14][15] Bresnik was the lead astronaut assigned to the closeout crew for the final STS-135 launch in the Shuttle program.[4]

Spaceflight experience[edit]


In September 2008 NASA announced that Bresnik was assigned as Mission Specialist STS-129, a shuttle mission to the International Space Station.[16] The mission was then slated to launch in October 2009 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, although this was later pushed back to November 2009 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis.[17]

Bresnik and his five crew mates launched from the Kennedy Space Center on November 16, 2009, ahead of an approximately two day rendezvous with the ISS, following which the crew joined the Expedition 21 crew, Commanded by Belgian ESA astronaut Frank De Winne.[18] The main objective of STS-129 was to deliver and install the first two of four ExPRESS Logistics Carriers (ELCs) to the ISS. ELCs are exposed pellets installed on the outboard truss of the ISS intended to support vacuum capable payloads such as scientific experiments built for operations on the outside of the station or for holding spare parts.[19]

Bresnik participated in the second and third EVA of STS-129. On November 21, 2009, Bresnik stepped outside the station with veteran spacewalk Michael Foreman, the two spent six hours and eight minutes outside of the ISS installing a piece of equipment called the Grappling Adapter to On-Orbit Railing (GATOR) on the European Columbus, installing a wireless video system on the outside of the station and setting up a cargo attachment system. Bresnik's second spacewalk took place on November 23, 2009, and was alongside NASA astronaut Robert Satcher. Satcher and Bresnik spent five hours and 42-minutes outside the station installing a similar cargo attachment system to the one on the last spacewalk, but on the opposite side of the station, installing the MISSE-7 experiment and transferring a high pressure gas tank.

STS-129 returned to Earth on November 27, 2009, returning Bresnik and his five crew mates, as well as Expedition 21 flight engineer Nicole Stott from the ISS.

Expedition 52/53[edit]

Bresnik(right) pictured with Paolo Nespoli in the Columbus module

Bresnik launched aboard Soyuz MS-05 to the ISS on July 28, 2017, and served as flight engineer for Expedition 52, and as ISS commander for Expedition 53.[6]

On October 5, 2017, Bresnik performed his third spacewalk, along with Mark Vande Hei. The spacewalk replaced the gripping mechanism on Canadarm2, the latching end effector A, or LEE-A. Spacewalk duration was 6 hours and 55 minutes.[20] On October 10, 2017, Bresnik and Vande Hei completed the second EVA of the mission. They lubricated the newly installed end effector and replaced cameras, and the duration was 6 hours and 26 minutes. On October 20, 2017, Bresnik and Joe Acaba performed an EVA to continue with the lubrication tasks, and to install more cameras. The duration was 6 hours and 49 minutes.[21]

Bresnik returned to Earth on December 14, 2017. The Soyuz MS-05 landed on 8:38 UTC.[22] The duration of the mission was 138 days, 16 hours, 56 minutes and 37 seconds.[23]


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

  1. ^ "EVA info for Astronaut Randolph Bresnik". spacefacets.de. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Chris Gebhardt (November 2, 2009). "Shuttle Program managers outline mission priorities for STS-129". NASASpaceflight.com.
  3. ^ "Photo of Bresnik on November 3, 2009, during Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (KSC-2009-6056)". NASA. November 3, 2009. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k National Aeronautics and Space Administration (February 2018). "Randolph J. Bresnik (Colonel, USMC)" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  5. ^ a b NASA (February 13, 2006). "Astronaut Class of 2004 (Group 19)". Astronaut Biographies. NASA. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "NASA Updates 2017 International Space Station Crew Assignments". NASA. November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  7. ^ Mike Massimino (October 30, 2009). "STS-129 Behind The Scenes". NASA. Archived from the original on December 31, 2009.
  8. ^ Viehböck, Franz; Eigner, Susanne (February 23, 2017). "… my business trip into space". Talking about ... Graz University of Technology. Archived from the original on May 11, 2021. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  9. ^ May, Sandra (May 11, 2023). "Behind the Blue Suit: Teamwork as an Astronaut's Wife". NASA. Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  10. ^ Michaels, Jill (October 22, 2009). "Amelia's Astronaut Connection". Air & Space Magazine. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022.
  11. ^ Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Payler, Samuel J.; Vattano, Marco; Sauro, Francesco Maria; Turchi, Leonardo; Bessone, Loredana (July 1, 2021). "Speleology as an analogue to space exploration: The ESA CAVES training programme". Acta Astronautica. 184: 150–166. Bibcode:2021AcAau.184..150S. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.04.003. ISSN 0094-5765. S2CID 234819922.
  12. ^ "Mission accomplished cave crew returns to Earth". ESA. October 19, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  14. ^ "NASA Announces Two Upcoming Undersea Missions". NASA. June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  15. ^ Bergin, Chris (June 11, 2014). "NEEMO returns with two new underwater missions". NASASpaceflight. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  16. ^ Administrator, NASA (June 6, 2013). "NASA Assigns Crew For Space Shuttle Discovery's Sts-129 Mission". NASA. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  17. ^ "STS-129" (PDF). November 2009.
  18. ^ "NASA – Launch and Landing". www.nasa.gov. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  19. ^ Garcia, Mark (October 25, 2018). "EXPRESS Logistics Carriers". NASA. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  20. ^ Harwood, William (October 5, 2017). "Aging robot arm gets spacewalk surgery". cbsnews. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  21. ^ Whiting, Melanie (October 20, 2017). "Expedition 53 Spacewalk Successfully Comes to an End". NASA.
  22. ^ Chris Bergin (December 14, 2017). "Soyuz MS-05 returns crew back to Earth". nasaspaceflight.com.
  23. ^ "Expedition 53". spacefacts.de.

This article incorporates text in the public domain from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

External links[edit]

Preceded by ISS Expedition Commander
September 2, 2017 - December 14, 2017
Succeeded by