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Veteran NASA Astronauts James Buchli and Janet Kavandi Inducted into U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Veteran NASA Astronauts James Buchli and Janet Kavandi
Inducted into U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®
at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Editor’s Note: Additional photographs and video of the inductees are available here.
CAPE CANAVERAL (April 6, 2019) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTERVeteran NASA astronauts James Buchli and Janet Kavandi were inducted today into the prestigious United States Astronaut Hall of Fame® – marking the 18th class of honorees to join this esteemed society.
The ceremony was held at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, set underneath the awe-inspiring space shuttle Atlantis. Buchli and Kavandi were honored for their outstanding accomplishments in furthering NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery. Their induction brings the total number of astronauts in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame to 99.
Providing remarks to officially welcome the astronauts to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame were Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Curt Brown, veteran NASA astronaut and board chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Robert Cabana, veteran NASA astronaut and center director, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
Also in attendance were veteran astronauts Scott Altman, Tony Antonelli, Karol “Bo” Bobko, Charlie Bolden, Vance Brand, Dan Brandenstein, Franklin Chang-Diaz, Michael Coats, Dick Covey, Bob Crippen, Frank Culbertson, Fred Gregory, Robert “Hoot” Gibson, Jeffery Hoffman, Tom Jones, Steve Lindsey, Bruce Melnick, Ellen Ochoa, Gary Payton, Charlie Precourt, Kent Rominger, Jerry Ross, Rhea Seddon, Loren Shriver, Brewster Shaw, Kathy Sullivan and Al Worden.
“With the era of new space exploration upon us, I am honored to recognize these two individuals who have dedicated their careers to furthering space exploration,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, prior to the induction ceremony. “Without the dedication and commitment of pioneers such as Buchli and Kavandi we would not be where we are today.”
Both Buchli and Kavandi have had distinguished careers, centered around their love of space and science:
James Buchli, Colonel, USMC, retired
Retired USMC Colonel James F. Buchli dedicated 25 years to military service and became a NASA astronaut in 1979. His considerable experience includes a career 4,200 hours of flying time, 4,000 of which were in jet aircraft. He was a member of the support crew for STS-1 and STS-2, and On-Orbit CAPCOM for STS-2. A veteran of four space flights, Buchli has orbited the earth 319 times, traveling 7.74 million miles in 20 days, 10 hours, 25 minutes, 32 seconds. He served as a mission specialist on STS-51C Discovery (1985), which was the first dedicated Department of Defense mission; on STS-61A Challenger (1985), which was the first to carry eight crew members, the largest crew to fly in space, and the first in which payload activities were controlled from outside the United States; STS-29 Discovery (1989), a highly successful mission during which the crew deployed a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, performed numerous secondary experiments and took more than 3,000 photographs of the earth; and STS-48 Discovery (1991), a five-day mission during which the crew deployed the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) designed to provide scientists with their first complete data set on the upper atmosphere’s chemistry, winds and energy inputs. From March 1989 through May 1992 he also served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. In the fall of 1992, Buchli retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and the NASA Astronaut Office. Following his time at NASA, he started working with Boeing Defense Space Group. He also served as the Operations & Utilization Manager for Space Station, Boeing Defense and Space Group.
Janet Kavandi (Ph.D.)
Janet Kavandi was selected as a NASA astronaut in December 1994 as a member of the 15th class of U.S. astronauts. During her time in the Astronaut Office, she supported ISS payload integration, capsule communications, robotics, and served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. She is a veteran of three space flights, serving as a mission specialist on STS-91 (1998), STS-99 (2000), and STS-104 (2001). Kavandi has logged more than 33 days in space, traveling more than 13.1 million miles in 535 Earth orbits. She moved on to work at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she served as the Director of Flight Crew Operations, responsible for the Astronaut Corps and aircraft operations at Ellington Field. Kavandi also served as the deputy director of the Health and Human Performance Directorate, responsible for the NASA flight surgeons and human research investigations on the International Space Station (ISS). Currently, she is the Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John H. Glenn Research Center. Her work has been recognized with a Presidential Rank Award, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, two Exceptional Service Medals and three NASA Space Flight Medals.
The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame was spearheaded more than 30 years ago by the six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts. In November 2016, a new U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame opened at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, as part of the Heroes & Legends attraction.
U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Process and Eligibility
Each year, inductees are selected by a committee of Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians and journalists. The process is administered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction. Candidates must be a U.S. citizen and a NASA-trained commander, pilot or mission specialist who has orbited the earth at least once.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun, inspiration and educational activities. This includes the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which features an actual Saturn V Moon rocket, and is currently being upgraded and expanded in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch and Moon landing. Also included with admission are Heroes & Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, presented by Boeing, the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour, Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Shuttle Launch Experience®, IMAX® A Beautiful Planet 3D and Journey To Space 3D films, Astronaut Encounter, Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted, Science on a Sphere®, and the Rocket Garden. Add-on experiences available for an additional fee include the new Astronaut Training Experience® Exploring with Lockheed Martin, Cosmic Quest, Dine With an Astronaut and special interest bus tours. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season. Admission is $57 + tax for adults and $47 + tax for children ages 3 – 11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $82 + tax for adults and $67 + tax for children ages 3 – 11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit
Twitter: @ExploreSpaceKSC
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) participated in creating a venue where space travelers could be remembered – the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which opened in 1990. Today, the foundation serves as a consultant for the Hall of Fame, which includes conducting the selection process of astronauts for enshrinement by an outside committee. The Foundation's mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in technology and innovation by supporting the very best and brightest scholars in science, technology, engineering and mathematics while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts.
ASF has awarded almost $5 million to outstanding Astronaut Scholars nationwide with support from astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs who participate in this educational endeavor. For more information, visit
Media Contacts:
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Lauren Eisele Walbert, Sandy Hillman Communications,, 410-616-8943