STS-81 CREW & MISSION
Mission Commander Michael A. Baker (STS-.43, 52, 68)
Pilot Brent W. Jett (STS-72)
MS John M.Grunsfeld (STS-67)
MS Marsha S. Ivins (STS-32, 46, 62)
MS Peter J.K. Wisoff (STS-57)
MS Jerry Linenger (ascent only, replaced Blaha aboard Mir)
MS John Blaha (descent only, stayed aboard Mir since September 1996)
Michael A. Baker (Captain, USN), will serve as Commander (CDR) for STS-81. He was born October 27, 1953, in Memphis, TN, but considers Lemoore, CA, to be his hometown. He graduated from Lemoore Union High School in 1971 and received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1975. Baker completed flight training and earned his Wings of Gold at Naval Air Station Chase Field, Beeville, TX, in 1977. Baker was selected for the astronaut program in June 1985. He is a veteran of three space flights, STS-43 in 1991, STS-52 in 1992, and STS-68 in 1994, and has logged over 720 hours in space. From March to October 1995, Baker was the Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, responsible for the coordination and implementation of mission operations activities in the Moscow region for the Shuttle-Mir program.
Brent Jett (Commander, USN), will serve as Pilot (PLT) for STS-81. He was born October 5, 1958 in Pontiac, MI, but considers Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to be his hometown. Jett graduated from Northeast High School in Oakland Park, FL, in 1976. He received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981 and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1989. Jett received his commission from the Naval Academy in May 1981 and was designated a Naval Aviator in March 1993. He was selected for the astronaut program in March 1992. He is a veteran of STS-72 and has logged 214 hours in space.
John M. Grunsfeld (Ph.D.), will serve as Mission Specialist-2 (MS- 2) on STS-81. He was born October 10, 1958 in Chicago, IL. He graduated from Highland Park High School, Highland Park, IL, in 1976. He received a bachelor of science degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980, and a master of science degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago in 1984 and 1988, respectively. Dr. Grunsfeld's research has covered x-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, high energy cosmic ray studies, and the development of new detectors and instrumentation. He was selected for the astronaut program in March 1992. He served as mission specialist on STS-67/Astro-2 in 1995 and has logged 399 hours in space.
Marsha S. Ivins will serve as Mission Specialist-3 (MS-3) on STS- 81. She was born April 15, 1951 in Baltimore, MD. She graduated from Nether Providence High School, Wallingford, PA, in 1969. She received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in 1973. Ivins was employed as an engineer and pilot at Johnson Space Center for several years prior to her selection for the astronaut program in 1984. A veteran of three space flights, Ivins was mission specialist on STS-32 in 1990, STS-46 in 1992 and STS-62 in 1994. She has logged over 764 hours in space.
Peter J.K. "Jeff" Wisoff (Ph.D.), will serve as Mission Specialist-1 (MS-1) on STS-81. He was born August 16, 1958 in Norfolk, VA. He graduated from Norfolk Academy in 1976. He received a bachelor of science degree in physics (with highest distinction) from the University of Virginia in 1980, a master of science degree and a doctorate in applied physics from Standford University in 1982 and 1986, respectively. In his research career before joining NASA, Wisoff focused on the development of new vacuum ultraviolet and high intensity laser sources, and also collaborated on research on the applications of lasers to the reconstruction of damaged nerves. He was selected for the astronaut program in January 1990. Wisoff served as a mission specialist on STS-57 in 1993 and STS-68 in 1994 and has logged over 509 hours in space.
Jerry Linenger (Captain, Medical Corps, USN), will serve as Mission Specialist-4 (MS-4) from launch through docking on STS-81. After docking and a crew exchange, Linenger will replace John Blaha aboard Mir and officially become a member of the Mir crew. During his five-month stay aboard the station, he will conduct material, fluid and life science research before being replaced by U.S. astronaut Mike Foale in May 1997. Linenger was born January 16, 1955, in Eastpointe, MI. He graduated from East Detroit High School in 1973. He received a bachelor of science degree in bioscience from the U.S. Naval Adademy in 1977. He holds four advanced degrees: a doctorate in medicine from Wayne State University in 1981, a master of science in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1988, a master of public health degree in health policy from the University of North Carolina in 1989, and a doctor of philosophy degree in epidemiology, also from the University of North Carolina, in 1989. Linenger was selected for the astronaut program in August 1992. He served as a mission specialist on STS-64 in September 1994 and has logged more than 262 hours in space.
John E. Blaha (Colonel, USAF, Ret.) is the third NASA astronaut to serve as a researcher aboard the Mir Space Station. He has been aboard the orbiting facility as a member of the Mir 22 crew since September when Atlantis docked to retrieve Shannon Lucid and deliver supplies. Blaha was born August 26, 1942, in San Antonio, TX. He graduated from Granby High School in Norfolk, VA, in 1960. Blaha received a bachelor of science in engineering science from the United States Air Force Academy in 1965 and a master of science in astronomical engineering from Purdue University in 1966. He graduated in 1971 from the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School. Blaha was selected as an astronaut in May 1980. Prior to STS-79, he had logged 33 days in space on four space missions. He served as commander on two flights - STS-58 in 1993 and STS-43 in 1991 and as Pilot on two flights - STS-33 and STS-29, both in 1989.