[James van Hoften] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: James D. A. "Ox" van Hoften (Ph.D.)
NASA Astronaut

Born June 11, 1944, in Fresno, California, but considers Burlingame, California, to be his hometown. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adriaan van Hoften, reside in Redwood City, California.

Brown hair; hazel eyes; height: 6 feet 4 inches; weight: 200 pounds.

Graduated from Mills High School, Millbrae, California, in 1962; received a bachelor of science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966, and a master of science degree and a doctor of philosophy in Hydraulic Engineering from Colorado State University in 1968 and 1976, respectively.

Married to the former Vallarie Davis of Pasadena, California; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Davis, are residents of San Diego, California.

Jennifer Lyn, October 31, 1971; Jamie Juliana, August 24, 1977; Victoria Jane, March 17, 1981.

Enjoys skiing, playing handball and racquetball, and jogging.

Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Sigma Xi, Chi Epsilon, and Pi Kappa Alpha.

Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Air Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and two NASA Space Flight Medals.

From 1969 to 1974, van Hoften was a pilot in the United States Navy. He received flight training at Pensacola, Florida, and completed jet pilot training at Beeville, Texas, in November 1970. He was then assigned to the Naval Air Station, Miramar, California, to fly F-4 Phantoms, and subsequently to VF-121 Replacement Air Group. As a pilot with VF-154 assigned to the carrier USS RANGER in 1972, van Hoften participated in two cruises to Southeast Asia where he flew approximately 60 combat missions. He resumed his academic studies in 1974 and completed a dissertation on the interaction of waves and turbulent channel flow for his doctorate. In September 1976, he accepted an assistant professorship of Civil Engineering at the University of Houston, and until his selection as an astronaut candidate, taught fluid mechanics and conducted research on biomedical fluid flows concerning flows in artificial internal organs and valves. Dr. van Hoften has published a number of papers on turbulence, waves, and cardiovascular flows. From 1977 until 1980 he flew F4N's with Naval Reserve Fighter Squadron 201 at NAS Dallas. He currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and, as a member of the Texas Air National Guard, is flying with the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group as a pilot in the F4C.

He has logged 3,300 hours flying time, the majority in jet aircraft.

Dr. van Hoften was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978. He completed a one year training and evaluation period in August 1979.

From 1979 through the first flight, STS-l, van Hoften supported the Shuttle entry and on-orbit guidance, navigation and flight control testing at the Flight Systems Laboratory at Downey, California. Subsequently he was the lead of the Astronaut Support Team at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, responsible for the Space Shuttle turn-around testing and flight preparations. Dr. van Hoften was a mission specialist on STS 41-C, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 6, 1984. He was accompanied by Captain Robert L. Crippen (spacecraft commander), Mr. F.R. (Dick) Scobee (pilot), and fellow mission specialists, Mr. Terry J. Hart, and Dr. G. D. "Pinky" Nelson. During this mission the crew successfully deployed the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF); retrieved the ailing Solar Maximum Satellite, repaired it on-board the orbiting Challenger, and replaced it in orbit, using the robot arm called the Remote Manipulator System (RMS). The mission also included flight testing of Manned Maneuvering Units (MMU's) in two extravehicular activities (EVA's); operation of the Cinema 360 and IMAX Camera Systems, as well as a Bee Hive Honeycomb Structures student experiment. Mission duration was seven days before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 13, 1984.

Dr. van Hoften was next a mission specialist on STS 51-1, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 27,1985. The crew included Col. Joe Engle (commander), Col. Dick Covey (pilot), and mission specialists Mr. Mike Lounge and Dr. William Fisher. During this mission the crew successfully deployed three communications satellites, the Navy's Syncom IV-4, Australian Aussat, and American Satellite Company's ASC-l. The crew also performed the successful salvage of the ailing Navy Syncom IV-3 satellite. This task included two Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) in which Dr. van Hoften, attached to the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), performed the first manual grapple and manual deployment of a satellite in orbit. The mission also included the Physical Vapor Transport of Organic Solids (PVTOS), the second material processing experiment to be flown aboard a Shuttle for 3M. STS 51-1 completed 112 orbits of the Earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on September 3, 1985. With the completion of this flight, Dr. van Hoften has logged a total of 338 hours in space, including 22 hours of EVA flight time.

Dr. van Hoften has been selected to serve as a mission specialist for mission STS 61-G, scheduled for launch in May 1986.


Click here to return to the SPACE EDUCATORS' HANDBOOK HOME PAGE.