Captain Michael E. Lopez-Alegria, a DC resident, is one of just three astronauts selected to be inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame® this year. He is set to join just 99 individuals who currently hold the esteemed honor, and is further recognized as the “First Class of the New Decade.”
Lopez-Alegria and his 2020 co-inductees — Pamela A. Melroy and Scott Kelly — have each demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in furthering NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery, and have been selected to receive one of the highest honors in their industry.
Each year, inductees are selected by a committee of Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians, and journalists. To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction. Candidates must be a U.S. citizen and a NASA-trained commander, pilot or mission specialist who has orbited the Earth at least once.
The official ceremony and gala will take place at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on May 16, 2020. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the majestic Space Shuttle Atlantis®, the ceremony will be attended by a roster of astronaut legends. Later that evening, the newest Hall of Fame members will be celebrated at a black-tie event hosted by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
“[These astronauts] exemplify bravery, dedication, and passion, and their hard work has paved the way for what promises to be an unprecedented new decade of space exploration and interplanetary travel,” said Curt Brown, space shuttle astronaut and board chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which oversees the selection process.
Michael E. Lopez-Alegria, a naval aviator, engineering test pilot, program manager, and NASA astronaut, has completed four NASA spaceflights, including space shuttle missions STS-73, STS-92, and STS-113, and served as commander of International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 14 (flying to and from the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-9). In addition to his new Hall of Fame accolade, he holds NASA records for most extravehicular activities (EVA, also read: spacewalks) – 10, as well as cumulative EVA time of 67 hours and 40 minutes.