NASA astronaut Michael E. Lopez-Alegria
Science & Exploration

Michael E. Lopez-Alegria

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Astrolab

NASA astronaut

Personal data

Born 30 May 1958, in Madrid, Spain, and grew up in Mission Viejo, California. Married with one son. Enjoys sports, travelling and cooking, and is interested in national and international political, economic and security affairs.


Graduated from Mission Viejo High School, Mission Viejo, California, in 1976; received a Bachelor of Science degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980; and a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1988. Graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security. Speaks Spanish, French and Russian.


Following flight training, Lopez-Alegria was designated a Naval Aviator on 4 September 1981. He served as a flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida, until March 1983 and then as a pilot and mission commander of EP-3E aircraft. In 1986 he was assigned to a two-year cooperative programme between the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. His final tour before being assigned to NASA was at the Naval Air Test Center as an engineering test pilot and programme manager. He has accumulated more than 5 000 pilot hours in over 30 different aircraft types.

NASA experience

Lopez-Alegria started his astronaut training at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in August 1992. Following one year of training his was first assigned to the Astronaut Office technical point of contact to various Space Shuttle project elements, then to the Kennedy Space Center where he provided crew representation on orbiter processing issues and support during launches and landings.

Following his first space flight he served as NASA Director of Operations at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, Star City, Russia. After his second mission, he led the newly formed ISS Crew Operations branch of the Astronaut Office. Upon completion of his third spaceflight, he was assigned as the technical assistant to JSC’s EVA Office.

Lopez-Alegria has logged over 42 days in space, circled the Earth 674 times, and performed 5 EVAs totalling 34 hours. He is Commander for Expedition 14 and serves as the NASA Station Science Officer during a six-month tour of duty aboard the International Space Station. Expedition 14 was launched aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on 18 September 2006.

Spaceflight experience

STS-73 Columbia (20 October to 5 November 1995) STS-73 was the second United States Microgravity Laboratory mission and focused on materials science, biotechnology, combustion science, the physics of fluids, and numerous scientific experiments housed in the pressurized Spacelab module.

STS-92 Discovery (11-24 October 2000) was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida and returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California. During the 13-day flight, the seven-member crew attached the Z1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 to the International Space Station using Discovery’s robotic arm and performed four space walks to configure these elements. Lopez-Alegria totaled 14 hours and 3 minutes of EVA time in two spacewalks.

STS-113 Endeavour (23 November-7 December 2002) was the sixteenth Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Mission accomplishments included the delivery of the Expedition 6 crew, the delivery, installation and activation of the P1 Truss, and the transfer of cargo from Endeavour to the ISS. During the mission Lopez-Alegria performed three EVAs totalling 19 hours and 55 minutes. STS-113 brought home the Expedition 5 crew from their 6-month stay aboard the Station.