Serena Auñón-Chancellor

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Serena Auñón-Chancellor
NASA portrait, 2009
Serena Maria Auñón

(1976-04-09) April 9, 1976 (age 48)
EducationGeorge Washington University (BS)
University of Texas, Houston (MD)
University of Texas, Galveston (MPH)
Space career
NASA astronaut
Time in space
196d 17h 49m
SelectionNASA Group 20 (2009)
MissionsSoyuz MS-09 (Expedition 56/57)
Mission insignia

Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor (born April 9, 1976) 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 (Antarctic Search for Meteorites) 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.[6]

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.[7][8]

In July 2015, Auñón-Chancellor participated as an aquanaut in the NEEMO 20 crew.[9]

ISS mission[edit]

In 2018 she spent 196 days 17 hours 49 mins in space aboard the ISS as part of Soyuz MS-09 (Expedition 56/57). She represented NASA and the USA as Flight Engineer 1 from 6 June 2018 to 20 December 2018.

Management Astronaut[edit]

Aunon-Chancellor is a Management Astronaut and covers medical issues and on-orbit support in the Astronaut Office.[10] 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. [11]

Russian accusations[edit]

In 2021 Russian state-owned news service TASS published accusations from an anonymous source claiming Auñón-Chancellor had an emotional breakdown in space and sabotaged the Soyuz spacecraft by drilling a hole in the module attached to the ISS during Expedition 56 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 uncontrolled thruster firing of Russia’s Nauka ISS module.[12][13][14]


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.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

Auñón's father is 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 Jeff Chancellor[17] and has a step-daughter (from her husband's previous marriage).[18]

Auñón-Chancellor is a licensed amateur radio operator with the call sign of KG5TMT.[19] She earned her Technician Class license and was granted her callsign by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 2, 2017.[20] During the final weeks of her ISS mission, Auñón-Chancellor made random (unscheduled) ham radio contacts from the ISS, generally as the ISS made its Saturday morning and early afternoon (US Time) passes over the US.[21]

Honors and awards[edit]

Auñón-Chancellor has received the following awards and honors:[22]

  • 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. ^ Harvey, Ralph (February 2011). "2010-2011 ANSMET Field Season Report". Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter. Vol. 34, no. 1. Archived from the original on August 17, 2022.
  7. ^ Squyres, Steve (June 17, 2012). "NEEMO 16: EVA Divers and Subs". NASA. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  8. ^ "Image of the Week: Aquanaut to astronaut". UK Space Agency. June 26, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  9. ^ "crew of NEEMO 20". July 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "Serena M. Aunon-Chancellor, (M.D.) NASA Astronaut" (PDF). NASA. October 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  11. ^ January 2020, Leonard David 03 (January 3, 2020). "An Astronaut Got a Blood Clot in Space. Here's How Doctors on Earth Fixed It".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Thompson, Amy (August 14, 2021). "Russian space officials try to blame NASA astronaut for Soyuz air leak in 2018: report". Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  13. ^ Berger, Eric (August 13, 2021). "NASA stands by its astronaut after incendiary Russian claims". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  14. ^ Davenport, Christian (December 21, 2021). "Tensions with Russia are now spilling into space, complicating International Space Station partnership". Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Graduate Student Jeff Chancellor Honored For Space Radiation Research". Texas A&M Today. May 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "Serena Aunon-Chancellor: family". Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ "KG5TMT Callsign Page". QRZ Callsign Database. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  21. ^ "International Space Station Crew Member Fires Up NA1SS to Seek Random Contacts". Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  22. ^ "Serena Auñón-Chancellor" (PDF). NASA. October 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2018.

External links[edit]