William S. McArthur

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For other people with this name, see William McArthur (disambiguation).
William S. McArthur, Jr.
William McArthur - jsc2005e36545.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Nationality American
Status Active
Born William Surles McArthur, Jr.
(1951-07-26) July 26, 1951 (age 65)
Laurinburg, North Carolina, U.S.
Other occupation
Army aviator, test pilot
USMA, B.S. 1973
Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S. 1983
Rank Colonel, U.S. Army
Time in space
224d 22h 19min
Selection 1990 NASA Group 13
Missions STS-58, STS-74, STS-92, Soyuz TMA-7 (Expedition 12)
Mission insignia
Sts-58-patch.png Sts-74-patch.png Sts-92-patch.svg Soyuz TMA-7 patch.svg ISS Expedition 12 patch.svg

William Surles McArthur, Jr. (born July 26, 1951) is a retired United States Army Colonel, a NASA astronaut, and a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and one expedition to the International Space Station via the Russian Soyuz capsule.[1]

Army career[edit]

Born July 26, 1951, and raised in Red Springs, North Carolina, McArthur was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout.[2] He attended the United States Military Academy, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Science and Engineering in 1973, and earned his commission in the U.S. Army. After serving with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, McArthur attended the U.S. Army Aviation School and served tours of duty in Korea and Georgia (where he earned a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1983).[1]

NASA career[edit]

In 1987, McArthur attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and was trained as an experimental test pilot. He was assigned to a post as a flight test engineer at NASA and was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1990. McArthur's first spaceflight was in 1993 aboard STS-58. Subsequent missions included STS-74 in 1995 and STS-92 in 2000.[1]

A Master Army Aviator, McArthur has logged over 9,000 flight hours in 41 different aircraft and spacecraft.

McArthur is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards and honors including the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (Oak leaf cluster), the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the NASA Space Flight Medal. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2001.[1]

McArthur was on board the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 12, having been launched on Soyuz TMA-7. He lived aboard the station from October 3, 2005 until April 8, 2006.[1]

McArthur currently serves as the Director of Safety and Mission Assurance for the Johnson Space Center.[1]

Expedition 12[edit]

In April 2006, McArthur and Expedition 13 flight officer Jeffrey Williams tested a new method of preparing for spacewalks by "camping out" or spending the night in the Quest airlock, the decompression capsule through which astronauts enter and exit space. In the chamber the pressure was reduced from the normal 14.7 pounds per square inch (psi) to 10.2 psi. The more commonly used method of preparing for spacewalks involves breathing pure oxygen for several hours to purge the body of nitrogen and avoid the bends. The "campout" method was intended to shorten that lengthy preparation time. Four hours into their sleep an error tone prompted mission controllers to cut short the activity, though it was still deemed a success.[3]

Personal life[edit]

McArthur is married with two daughters, and enjoys running, photography, and working with personal computers.[1] In May 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Strathclyde in recognition of his contribution to space science and engineering, as well as his outreach work with the Scottish Space School.


Ribbon Description Notes
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Army Distinguished Service Medal
US Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon.svg Defense Superior Service Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal with one award star
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
NasaDisRib.gif NASA Distinguished Service Medal
USA - NASA Excep Rib.png NASA Exceptional Service Medal
SpaceFltRib.gif NASA Space Flight Medal with three oak leaf clusters


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

  1. ^ a b c d e f g NASA (2006). "William S. McArthur Biography". NASA. Retrieved October 6, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Astronauts and the BSA". Fact sheet. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved March 20, 2006. 
  3. ^ Tariq Malik (2006). "ISS Airlock Camp Out Cut Short by Alarm Glitch, NASA Says". Space.com. Retrieved October 7, 2008. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sergei Krikalev
ISS Expedition Commander
October 3, 2005 to April 8, 2006
Succeeded by
Pavel Vinogradov