[James D. Wetherbee] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: James D. Wetherbee (Captain, USN)
NASA Astronaut

Born November 27, 1952, in Flushing, New York. Considers his hometown to be Huntington Station, New York. Married to the former Robin DeVore Platt of Jacksonville, Florida. They have two children. He enjoys tennis, skiing, softball, running, and music. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dana A. Wetherbee, reside in Huntington Station, New York. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry T. Platt, Jr., reside in Jacksonville, Florida.

Graduated from Holy Family Diocesan High School, South Huntington, New York, in 1970; received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1974.

Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Distinguished Flying Cross; Navy Achievement Medal; two Meritorious Unit Commendations.

Wetherbee received his commission in the United States Navy in 1975 and was designated a naval aviator in December 1976. After training in the A-7E, he was assigned to Attack Squadron 72 (VA-72) from August 1977 to November 1980 aboard the USS John F. Kennedy and logged 125 night carrier landings. After attending the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Maryland, in 1981 he was assigned to the Systems Engineering Test Directorate. He was a project officer and test pilot for the weapons delivery system and avionics integration for the F/A-18 aircraft. Subsequently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 132 (VFA-132), he flew operationally in the F/A-18 from January 1984 until his selection for the astronaut candidate program. He has logged over 5,000 hours flying time and 345 carrier landings in 20 different types of aircraft.

Selected by NASA in May 1984, Wetherbee became an astronaut in June 1985. A veteran of four space flights, Wetherbee has logged over 955 hours in space. He was the pilot on STS-32 in 1990, and was the mission commander on STS-52 in 1992, STS-63 in 1995 and STS-86 in 1997. Wetherbee is Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center.


STS-32 Columbia (January 9-20, 1990) included the successful deployment of the Syncom IV-F5 satellite, and retrieval of the 21,400-pound Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) using the remote manipulator system (RMS). The crew also operated a variety of middeck experiments and conducted numerous medical test objectives, including in-flight aerobic exercise and muscle performance to evaluate human adaptation to extended duration missions. Mission duration was 173 orbits in 261 hours and 01 minute.

STS-52 Columbia (October 22 to November 1, 1992) successfully deployed the Laser Geodynamic Satellite (LAGEOS), a joint Italian-American project. The crew also operated the first U.S. Microgravity Payload (USMP) with French and American experiments, and successfully completed the initial flight tests of the Canadian-built Space Vision System (SVS). Mission duration was 236 hours and 56 minutes.

STS-63 Discovery (February 2-11, 1995), was the first joint flight of the new Russian-American Space Program. Mission highlights included the rendezvous with the Russian Space Station, Mir, operation of Spacehab, and the deployment and retrieval of Spartan 204. The mission was accomplished in 129 orbits in 198 hours and 29 minutes.

STS-86 Atlantis (September 25 to October 6, 1997) was the seventh mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. Highlights included the delivery of a Mir attitude control computer, the exchange of U.S. crew members Mike Foale and David Wolf, a spacewalk by Scott Parazynski and Vladimir Titov to retrieve four experiments first deployed on Mir during the STS-76 docking mission, the transfer to Mir of 10,400 pounds of science and logistics, and the return of experiment hardware and results to Earth. Mission duration was 169 orbits in 259 hours and 21 minutes.


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