Dr. Sandra H. Magnus Appointed to AESAC
A warm welcome to Dr. Sandra H. Magnus, MSE '96, who has accepted an appointment to the School of AE Advisory Council (AESAC). Dr. Magnus was also recently appointed to be the Executive Director of the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). Her long list of accomplishments includes being a NASA astronaut; she flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight STS-135 in 2011, in addition to serving a 4.5 month term on the International Space Station (ISS) as part of Expedition 18.
From 1986 to 1991, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company as a stealth engineer, working on internal research and development and later, the Navy's A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques. From 1991 to 1996, Dr. Magnus completed her thesis work, supported by NASA Lewis Research Center through a Graduate Student Fellowship and involving investigations on materials of interest for "Scandate" thermionic cathodes.
Dr. Magnus wsa selected by NASA in 1996 and after two years of training and evaluation became qualified for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist. Her various positions include the Astronaut Office Payloads/Habitability branch where she worked with the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) and Brazil on facility-type paylioads. Dr. Magnus also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products for the International Space Station. She served as an ISS Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) during the intial phase of manned operations before being assigned to STS-112. Following STS-112, Dr. Magnus was assigned to work with the Canadian Space Agency to prepare the Special Dexterous Manipulator robot for installation on the space station. She was also involved in Return to Flight activities, leading the Astronaut Office team in that effort. Dr. Magnus began training for a future station long-duration mission. She flew to the station with the crew of STS-126, launching on November 14 and arriving at the station on November 16, 2008, where she joined Expedition 18. Folliwing her station mission, Dr. Magnus served six months at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., working in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. In July 2011, Dr. Magnus flew as a mission specialist on the crew of STS 135/ULF7, an ISS cargo delivery mission that carried the Multi Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), "Raffaello". She became Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office in September 2012.
Dr. Magnus graduated from the Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly named the University of Missouri-Rolla) in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a master's degree in electrical engineering. She holds a PhD in materials science and engineering from Georgia Tech. She has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, thre NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX.)
STS-112 Atlantis (October 7 to October 18, 2002) launched from and returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. STS-112 was an International Space Station assembly mission, during which the crew conducted joint operations with Expedition 5 by delivering and installing the S-1 truss (the third piece of the ISS 11 piece integrated truss structure). Dr. Magnus operated the station robotic arm during the three spacewalks required to outfit and activate the new component. The crew also transferred cargo between the two vehicles and used the shuttle jets during two manuevers to raise the station orbit. STS-112 was the first shuttle mission to use a camera on the external tank, providing a live view of the launch to flight controllers and NASA TV viewers. The mission was accomplished in 170 orbits, traveling 4.5 million miles in 10 days, 19 hours and 58 minutes.
STS-126 Endeavor launched on November 14, 2008, and arrived at the International Space Station two days later to start Dr. Magnus' participation in Expedition 18 as the Flight Engineer 2 and Science Officer. The shuttle delivered all the additional components necessary to expand the station to support a six-person crew. During the course of Expedition 18, Dr. Magnus and Capt. Mike Fincke worked to install a water regeneration system, two new crew quarters, an advanced resistive exercise device and a second toilet. In addition, several new payload racks were installed and activated. Overall, the mission completed the upgrade required to begin six-person-crew operations in May 2009; supported two Orlan based spacewalks and completed twice the amount of science originally planned for the increment. Dr. Magnus returned home on STS-199, which delivered and installed the final solar array to the space station. STS-119 landed on March 28, 2009, bringing Dr. Magnus safely back to Earth after a stay of 4.5 montrhs and traveling 50,304,000 miles.
STS-135/ULF7 Atlantis (July 8 to July 21, 2011) carried the Raffaello MPLM to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the station. The mission also flew a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing spacecraft and returned a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. Dr. Magnus was assigned loadmaster on STS-135 and was responsible for the transfer of nearly 10,000 pounds of supplies to the station and 6,000 pounds of equipment for return. She also was the primary robotics officer and worked with pilot Doug Hurley to install the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) on the space station and supported the spacewalk. STS-135 was the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the station and the 135th and final mission of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. The mission, which included one spacewalk by Expedition 28's Mike Fossum and Ron Garan, was accomplished in 200 orbits of the Earth, traveling 5,284,862 miles in 12 days, 18 hours, 27 minutes and 56 seconds.