Born August 15, 1959 in Lincoln, Illinois. Considers Pekin, Illinois, to be his hometown. Married to the former Jill Shannon Loomer of Tucson, Arizona. They have three children. Enjoys classic automobiles, flying and computers. Avid reader and sports fan/participant. Hometown is Pekin, Illinois, where his parents, Fred and Sharon Altman, currently reside. Her father, Larry Loomer, resides in San Diego, California. Her mother, Donna Loomer, is deceased.
Graduated from Pekin Community High School, Pekin, Illinois in 1977; received bachelor of science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois in May 1981, and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in June 1990.
University of Illinois Alumni Association, Sigma Chi Alumni Association, life member Association of Naval Aviation and Military Order of the World Wars, full member Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Navy Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation
Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, 1987 Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in
Tactical Aviation as selected by the Association of Naval Aviation.
Altman was commissioned an Ensign in the United
States Navy following completion of Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate School in
Pensacola, Florida, in August 1981. Following training in Florida and Texas, he
received his Navy wings of gold in February 1983 and was ordered to NAS Miramar in San
Diego, California, to fly the F-14. Attached to Fighter Squadron 51, Altman completed two
deployments to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. In August 1987, he was selected for
the Naval Postgraduate School-Test Pilot School Coop program and graduated with Test
Pilot School Class 97 in June 1990 as a Distinguished Graduate. After graduation, he
spent the next two years as a test pilot working on various F-14 projects such as the
air to ground separation effort, and aft center of gravity flying qualities evaluation,
as well as the Navy evaluation of the Air Force F-15 S/MTD technology demonstrator.
Selected to help take the new F-14D on its first operational deployment, his next
assignment was to VF-31 at NAS Miramar where he served as Maintenance Officer and
later Operations Officer. Altman was awarded the Navy Air Medal for his role as a
strike leader flying over Southern Iraq in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.
Shortly following his return from this six month deployment, he was selected for
the astronaut program. He has logged over 3400 flight hours in more than 40
types of aircraft.
Selected as an astronaut
candidate by NASA in December 1994, Altman reported to the Johnson Space Center
in March 1995. He completed a year of training and was initially assigned to
work technical aspects of orbiter landing and roll out issues for the Astronaut
Office Vehicle Systems Branch. Most recently, he served as pilot on STS-90
Neurolab (April 17 to May 3, 1998). During the 16-day Spacelab flight the
seven person crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia served as both experiment subjects
and operators for 26 individual life science experiments focusing on the effects of
microgravity on the brain and nervous system. The STS-90 flight orbited the Earth
256 times, covered 6.3 million miles, with over 381 hours in space.