Summer of Discovery - Suit Up! Special Guest: Have Spacesuit - Will Travel
Retired NASA astronaut, Donald "Don" Thomas, Ph.D., is bringing his spacesuit to Summer of Discovery. Join us at the Discovery Center as we learn the ins and outs of spacesuits. Participate in a hands-on experience as Don lets you interact with a real Russian spacesuit.
Donald A. Thomas, Ph.D., Former NASA Astronaut
Dr. Thomas was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and received his B.S. in physics from Case Western Reserve University. He then attended Cornell University where he received his master and doctorate degrees in materials engineering.
From 1982-1987, he was a senior member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey, where he was awarded two patents for inventions related to the packaging of semiconductor devices. He then joined the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as a materials engineer for the Space Shuttle program.
In 1990, Dr. Thomas was selected in NASA’s 13th group of astronauts and flew as a mission specialist on four Space Shuttle missions: STS-65, STS-70, STS-83 and STS-94. He performed hundreds of microgravity science experiments and helped deploy a large communications satellite from the Space Shuttle. He has spent a total of 44 days in space and has completed 692 orbits of the Earth.
From 1999-2000, Dr. Thomas was the NASA director of operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, where he coordinated the training of NASA astronauts for missions aboard the International Space Station. From 2003-2006, Dr. Thomas was the International Space Station Program Scientist and was responsible for the selection and scheduling of experiments to be performed aboard the ISS. From 2007-2015, Dr. Thomas worked at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, as the founding director of the Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science. Today, he is an author and public speaker and still actively engaged in inspiring our next generation of engineers, scientists and explorers.