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Dr. Kathryn C. Thornton

Professor, School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Virginia

Dr. Thornton teaches in the Department of Science, Technology and Society and in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She also manages the Graduate Studies Office as Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. Selected as an astronaut in 1984, Thornton is a veteran of four Space Shuttle flights between 1989 and 1995, including the maiden flight of Endeavour in 1992 and the first Hubble Space Telescope Service Mission in 1993. She was Payload Commander in 1995 on the second U.S. Microgravity Laboratory mission. She has logged over 975 hours in space, including more than 21 hours of extravehicular activity. Her technical assignments at NASA included flight software verification in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). She was a member of the Vehicle Integration Test Team at the Kennedy Space Center, and she served as a Spacecraft Communicator, or CAPCOM. Thornton holds a B.S. in Physics from Auburn University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Virginia. She was awarded a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue her research at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, West Germany. She was then employed as a physicist at the U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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