Article By: Barbara Honegger
Friday, January 23, 2009
Former NASA astronaut and Naval Postgraduate School Professor of Space Systems James Newman has been inducted into the California Astronaut Hall of Fame.
The occasion for the presentation of the award was the California Space Authority's Fifth Annual SpotBeam Awards Dinner held in Los Angeles, Nov. 19. The event was co-sponsored with the California Space Education and Workforce Institute as part of Los Angeles Air Force Week.
Newman received the honor in the former astronaut category. He was joined by Air Force Col. Rex Walheim who was inducted as a current astronaut.
"I'm very honored and pleased to have participated in the American Space Program, which is especially meaningful for me now that I'm at the Naval Postgraduate School," Newman said. "I left California when I was 17 to follow my dreams, and it took me 32 years to get back. Now I'm trying to help others pursue their dreams by educating the space professionals of tomorrow at NPS."
"The Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (GSEAS) is proud to have Professor Jim Newman mentoring our students," said GSEAS Dean Sivaguru Sritharan. "It is a privilege in any student's career to be taught by such an accomplished astronaut."
The Chairman of NPS' Space Systems Academic Group, Prof. Rudy Panholzer, agreed. "I was privileged to be with Jim at the Fifth Annual California SpotBeam Awards dinner," he said. "I can't think of a more qualified and deserving person to be honored by induction into the California Astronaut Hall of Fame. Jim is an outstanding teacher, a great researcher and a perfect role model for our space students."
Newman is a veteran of four Space Shuttle flights, logging a total of more than 17 million miles, 679 Earth orbits and 43 days in space, including the first International Space Station assembly mission and six space walks. His current specialization is using very small satellites in focused research and education projects of national interest.
Newman earned his master's and doctoral degrees in physics from Rice University in Texas, where he also was an adjunct professor, before moving to NASA's Johnson Space Center to conduct flight crew and flight control team training for all Orbiter propulsion, guidance and control mission phases. He was selected for the space agency's astronaut program while serving as a simulation supervisor at the Center, and entered the astronaut training program in July 1990.
Newman's many NASA roles included working with the Astronaut Office's Mission Support, Mission Development and Computer Support branches. He was detailed to the Space Shuttle Program Office, and served as Remote Manipulator System Integration Manager responsible for the Orbiter Canadian robotic arm and Space Vision System.
Newman then served three years with NASA's International Space Station (ISS) Program Office, serving as Director for Human Space Flight Program, Russia. As the ISS Program Manager's lead representative to the Russian Federal Space Agency, he oversaw NASA's human space flight program in Russia, including the agency's operations, logistics and technical functions in Moscow, at NASA's Mission Control Center in Korolev, and crew training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City.
Newman is the recipient of NASA's Exceptional Service Medal and the Institute of Navigation's 1995 Superior Achievement Award for his "outstanding accomplishments as a practical navigator" working on the Space Shuttle's Global Positioning System. As the leader of NASA's Space Vision System Development Team, he shared the space agency's 2002 Group Achievement Award and the Rotary National Space Achievement Foundation Team Award for 2001.