Serena Auñón-Chancellor

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Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor
Serena M. Aunon, NASA astronaut candidate.jpg
Born (1976-04-09) April 9, 1976 (age 46)
OccupationFlight surgeon
Space career
NASA Astronaut
Time in space
196 days 17 hours 49 mins
Selection2009 NASA Group
MissionsSoyuz MS-09 (Expedition 56/57)
Mission insignia
ISS Expedition 56 Patch.svg ISS Expedition 57 Patch.svg

Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor (M.D., M.P.H.) (born April 9, 1976, in Indianapolis, Indiana) is an American physician, engineer, and NASA astronaut.[1][2][3] She visited the ISS as a flight engineer for Expedition 56/57 on the International Space Station.


Auñón-Chancellor attended Poudre High School in Fort Collins, Colorado. She holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from George Washington University, an M.D. from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in 2001, and an M.P.H. degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in 2006.[1] She completed a three-year residency in internal medicine at UTMB in Galveston, Texas, in 2004, and then completed an additional year as Chief Resident. She also completed an aerospace medicine residency at UTMB. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Aerospace Medicine.

Medical career[edit]

Auñón-Chancellor was hired by NASA as a flight surgeon and spent over nine months in Russia supporting medical operations for International Space Station astronauts.

She received the 2009 Julian E. Ward Memorial Award from the Aerospace Medical Association for her contributions to spaceflight crewmember clinical care and development of medical kits to support launch and landing in Kazakhstan.[4][5]

NASA career[edit]

Auñón-Chancellor was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 2009.[1] She completed the astronaut candidacy training program in 2011.

As part of her training, she spent two months in Antarctica from 2010 to 2011 as part of the ANSMET expedition. The ANSMET expedition consisted of a 9-member systematic team and a 4-member reconnaissance team that explored new areas where future teams may go. Collectively they returned over 1200 meteorites.[citation needed]

She served as the deputy crew surgeon for STS-127 and Expedition 22. She also serves as the deputy lead for Orion – Medical Operations.[4]


In June 2012, Auñón piloted a DeepWorker 2000 submersible as part of the NASA/NOAA NEEMO 16 underwater exploration mission off Key Largo, Florida.[6][7]

In July 2015, Auñón-Chancellor participated as an aquanaut in the NEEMO 20 crew.[8]

Management Astronaut[edit]

Aunon-Chancellor is a Management Astronaut and covers medical issues and on-orbit support in the Astronaut Office.[9] In January 2020, she released a study on an unnamed astronaut who had to treat their own deep vein thrombosis on the International Space Station. [10]

Russian ISS accusations[edit]

In 2021 Russian state-owned news service TASS published accusations from an anonymous source claiming Auñón-Chancellor drilled a hole in the Soyuz spacecraft module attached to the ISS in 2018. No evidence implicating Auñón-Chancellor was given. The accusation was denied by NASA, and came during a period of increasingly poor relations between NASA and the Russian space agency following the near-disastrous incident involving Russia’s Nauka ISS module. [11][12][13]


Auñón-Chancellor's research is concerned with the medical implications of space radiation exposure, including computer modelling of the radiation environment of a crewed orbiting spacecraft.[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Auñón's father is Dr. Jorge Auñón, a Cuban exile who arrived in the United States in 1960; her mother is Margaret Auñón.[1]

Auñón-Chancellor is married to physicist Dr. Jeff Chancellor[16] and has a step-daughter named Serafina Chancellor (from previous marriage of her husband).[17] They currently live in League City, Texas.

Auñón-Chancellor is a licensed amateur radio operator with the call sign of KG5TMT.[18] She earned her Technician Class license and was granted her callsign by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 2, 2017.[19] Auñón-Chancellor was the last astronaut to have made random (unscheduled) ham radio contacts from the ISS, generally working morning and early afternoon Saturday (US Time) passes over the US during the final weeks of her ISS mission.[20]

Honors and awards[edit]

Auñón-Chancellor has received the following awards and honors:[21]

  • 2004 - Thomas N. and Gleaves James Award for Excellent Performance by a Third-Year Resident in Internal Medicine.
  • 2006 - William K. Douglas Award
  • 2007 - Outstanding UTMB Resident Award
  • 2009 - United States Air Force Flight Surgeons Julian Ward Award [5]

See also[edit]


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

  1. ^ a b c d NASA HQ (June 29, 2009). "NASA Selects New Astronauts for Future Space Exploration". NASA. Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  2. ^ NASA HQ (June 29, 2009). "Astronaut Candidates". NASA. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  3. ^ NASA (June 29, 2009). "In Their Own Words: Serena M. Aunon". NASA. Archived from the original on October 28, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Julian A. Ward Award". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Julian E Ward Award". Society of United States Air Force Flight Surgeons. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  6. ^ Squyres, Steve (June 17, 2012). "NEEMO 16: EVA Divers and Subs". NASA. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  7. ^ "Image of the Week: Aquanaut to astronaut". UK Space Agency. June 26, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  8. ^ "crew of NEEMO 20". July 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "Serena M. Aunon-Chancellor, (M.D.) NASA Astronaut" (PDF). NASA. October 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  10. ^ January 2020, Leonard David 03 (January 3, 2020). "An Astronaut Got a Blood Clot in Space. Here's How Doctors on Earth Fixed It".
  11. ^ Thompson, Amy (August 14, 2021). "Russian space officials try to blame NASA astronaut for Soyuz air leak in 2018: report". Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  12. ^ Berger, Eric (August 13, 2021). "NASA stands by its astronaut after incendiary Russian claims". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  13. ^ Davenport, Christian (December 21, 2021). "Tensions with Russia are now spilling into space, complicating International Space Station partnership". Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  14. ^ Chancellor, Jeffery C.; Auñon-Chancellor, Serena M.; Charles, John (January 2018). "Medical Implications of Space Radiation Exposure Due to Low-Altitude Polar Orbits". Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 89 (1): 1. doi:10.3357/AMHP.ED0118.2018. PMID 29233235 – via Ingenta Connect.
  15. ^ Chancellor JC, Blue RS, Cengel KA, Auñón-Chancellor SM, Rubins KH, Katzgraber HG, Kennedy AR (April 2018). "Limitations in predicting the space radiation health risk for exploration astronauts". NPJ Microgravity. 4: 8. doi:10.1038/s41526-018-0043-2. PMC 5882936. PMID 29644336.
  16. ^ "Graduate Student Jeff Chancellor Honored For Space Radiation Research". Texas A&M Today. May 18, 2018.
  17. ^ "Serena Aunon-Chancellor: family". Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  18. ^ "via the ARRL: Radio Amateurs to Swap Spots on International Space Station (ISS) Crew". June 3, 2018. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "KG5TMT Callsign Page". QRZ Callsign Database. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  20. ^ "International Space Station Crew Member Fires Up NA1SS to Seek Random Contacts". Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  21. ^ "Serena Auñón-Chancellor" (PDF). NASA. October 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2018.

External links[edit]