August 6, 2015 – NASA and its International Space Station (ISS) partners have announced the crew members for missions to the orbiting laboratory in 2017. The selection includes first-time space flyers NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Jack Fischer. Fischer’s hometown is Louisville, Colorado.
“Spaceflight assignment is one of the highlights of my job, and this is made even more special when that person has not yet flown in space,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “I’m very excited for both Mark and Jack and very much look forward to watching them on the ISS.”
Both Vande Hei and Fischer are members of NASA’s 2009 Astronaut Class. Vande Hei will be the first to fly, when he and Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Nikolai Tikhonov, also a first-time flyer, launch in March 2017. The three will join the station’s Expedition 51 crew of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos.
Fischer’s mission will begin in May 2017, when he and his crewmates Fyodor Yurchikin of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA will join Vande Hei, Misurkin and Tikhonov on the station for Expedition 52.
The Expedition 51 and 52 crews will continue important research that advances NASA’s journey to Mars while making discoveries that can benefit all of humanity. With adequate funding and technical progress on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, astronauts Vande Hei and Fischer are expected to be at the station during the first test flights of the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, targeted for 2017.
Fischer was born in 1974 and considers his hometown to be Louisville, Colorado. He graduated from Centaurus High School in Lafayette in 1992 and received his Bachelor of Science in Astronautical Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in 1996. He then earned a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in 1998.
Fischer is currently a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He served two combat tours in Southwest Asia, flying the F-15E Strike Eagle during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch. He then became a test pilot, flying more than 50 different types of aircraft, including all types of the F-15 and F-22 Raptor. After two test assignments, Fischer served as an Air Force Fellow in Washington, with rotations serving under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
After finishing his astronaut candidate training in July 2011, Fischer also served as a CAPCOM in mission control. Additionally, he performed technical roles supporting Soyuz and space station operations. He most recently served on the Astronaut Office’s Exploration team working on the next generation of human space exploration vehicles, NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, and Commercial Crew Program.
Fischer is married to the former Elizabeth Simonson from Boulder, Colorado. They have two daughters, Sariah and Bethany. Fischer’s father, Gary Fischer, is deceased, and his mother, JoBelle Fischer, still lives near Louisville, Colorado.
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