William Frederick Fisher

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William Frederick Fisher, MD
William Frederick Fisher (Astronaut).jpg
NASA Astronaut
Born (1946-04-01) April 1, 1946 (age 72)
Dallas, Texas
Other occupation
Emergency physician
Time in space
7d 02h 17m
Selection1980 NASA Group
Mission insignia

William Frederick Fisher (born April 1, 1946) is an American physician and a former NASA astronaut. Fisher went into space in 1985 on board the Space Shuttle. He retired from NASA in 1992[1] and returned to the full-time practice of medicine. His time at NASA coincided with that of his former wife and fellow astronaut Anna Lee Fisher.[2]


Fisher was born April 1, 1946,[3] in Dallas, Texas. He graduated high school in Syracuse, New York, then attended Stanford University before entering medical school at the University of Florida .[3]

He married fellow physician and later fellow astronaut, Anna Lee Fisher of St. Albans, New York on August 23, 1977.[4] They have two daughters, Kristin Anne (b. July 29, 1983), who is a Washington D.C.-based correspondent for the Fox News Channel,[5] and Kara Lynne (b. January 10, 1989) who received her MBA degree in May, 2017 from SMU in Dallas, Texas.[6] The Drs. Fisher were divorced in 2000.[citation needed]

Dr. Fisher collects Bill Graham Fillmore, Family Dog, and other rock/concert music posters from the 1965-1973 time frame.[citation needed] He is an amateur luthier, specializing in making, repairing, and refinishing Neapolitan-style mandolins.[citation needed] Dr. Fisher is also the owner of Twenty-First Century Arms, a sporting goods company, and is both a Federal Firearms Licensee[7] and NFA Firearms Dealer.


Fisher graduated from Stanford University in 1968,[3] and later served as a mountaineering instructor in Leysin, Switzerland. He attended medical school at the University of Florida, graduating in 1975.[8] After medical school, Fisher completed a surgical residency from 1975 to 1977 at Harbor–UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.[3] He entered private practice in emergency medicine in 1977.[3] He also attended graduate school at the University of Houston from 1978 to 1980.[3] He was accepted as a NASA astronaut in 1980.[3]

He has logged over 2,000 hours in prop, rotary-wing, jet aircraft and spacecraft.[3]

NASA career[edit]

Fisher was selected as NASA Astronaut in 1980. His technical assignments included: scientific equipment operator for high altitude research on the WB-57F aircraft (1980–1981); astronaut medical support for the first four Shuttle missions (1980–1982); astronaut office representative for Extravehicular Mobility Unit (spacesuit) and Extravehicular Activity (EVA) procedures and development, including thermal vacuum testing of the suit (1981–1984); astronaut office representative for the Payload Assist Module (PAM-D) procedures and development (1982–1983); Astronaut office representative for Shuttle Mission Simulator (SMS) development (1983); support crewman for STS-8; CAPCOM for STS-8 and STS-9; Remote Manipulator System (RMS) hardware and software development team (1983); Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) development team (1983); Deputy Director of NASA Government-furnished and Contractor-furnished Equipment (1982–1983); Chief of Astronaut Public Appearances (1985–1987); Member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (1986–1991); NASA Medicine Policy Board (1987–1991); Astronaut Office Space Station Manned Systems Division, and Health Maintenance Facility (1987–1989); Astronaut Office representative on space crew selection and retention standards for Space Station (1989–1991). Fisher also continued to practice Emergency Medicine in the greater Houston area in conjunction with his Astronaut duties.

Fisher was a mission specialist on STS-51-I, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 27, 1985. STS-51-I was acknowledged as the most successful Space Shuttle mission yet flown. The crew aboard Space Shuttle Space Shuttle Discovery deployed three communications satellites, the Navy SYNCOM IV-4, the Australian AUSSAT, and American Satellite Company's ASC-1. They also performed a successful on-orbit rendezvous with the ailing 15,400 pound SYNCOM IV-3 satellite, and two EVAs (space walks) by Fisher and van Hoften to repair it, including the longest space walk in history (at that time). Discovery completed 112 orbits of the Earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on September 3, 1985. Fisher logged over 170 hours in space, including 11 hours and 52 minutes of Extravehicular Activity (EVA).

In 1990, Fisher led a study of the design of the planned space station. The New York Times reported that study "found the 500-foot structure was so complex and fragile that it could need up to 3,700 hours of maintenance a year by space-suited astronauts, as against the designers' original goal of 130 hours." In March of that year Fisher gained political notice "when he publicly accused his superiors at the space agency of ignoring the maintenance problem. Subsequently, he was called to Capitol Hill to testify before a number of committees."[1]

Post NASA[edit]

After leaving NASA, Fisher returned to the practice of emergency medicine. He remains in active medical practice in the greater Houston area at the present time.



  • Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine[3]
  • Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians[8]
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine[8]
  • Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine
  • Fellow of the World Association of Astronauts and Cosmonauts
  • Member, Association of Space Explorers (ASE)
  • Member, Wilderness Medical Society
  • Associate Air Traffic Control Specialist
  • Honorary Member, The St. Andrew Society of Tokyo and Yokohama
  • Board Member, Stanford on the Moon Project
  • Member, The Rock Poster Society (TRPS)

Awards and honors[edit]

  • American Astronautical Society Victor A. Prather Award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Extravehicular Activity (1985)[3]
  • Federation Aeronautique Internationale V.M. Komarov Diploma for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Exploration of Outer Space(Awarded to the STS-51 Crew) (1985)[3]
  • NASA Space Flight Medal (1985)[3]
  • NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1988)[3]
  • Group Achievement Awards for EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit or "Space Suit") and MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit) Development (1983, 1984)[3]
  • Group Achievement Awards for Payload Assist Module (PAM) Software Development and Vehicle Integration (1983)[3]
  • Named an ad hoc member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (1986–1991)[3]
  • Appointed a member of the NASA Medicine Policy Board (1987–1991)[3]


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

  1. ^ a b Broad, William J (January 9, 1991). "Astronaut, Quitting NASA, Urges Overhaul of Space Station". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  2. ^ Frost, Robert. "Have a husband and wife ever gone into space together or at different times?". quora.com. Quora. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "William F. Fisher (M.D.) Biographical Data (1993)". Nasa.gov. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  4. ^ Klemesrud, Judy. "A Marriage That Was Made for The Heavens". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Linkedin page for Kristin Fisher, accessed June 3, 2015
  6. ^ Linkedin page for Kara Fisher, accessed April 23, 2016
  7. ^ "Listing Federal Firearms Licensees 2016". atf.gov. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d "Healthcare Provider Search Notice". tmb.state.tx.us. The Texas Medical Board. Retrieved 24 April 2016.

External links[edit]