The Harker Speaker Series is proud to announce that astronaut Gregory Errol Chamitoff, Ph.D., will be the first speaker for the 2011-12 season, appearing at 7 p.m. at Nichols Hall on the Saratoga campus on Sept. 26. A Montreal native, Chamitoff attended Blackford High School in San Jose, graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic State University and has received advanced degrees in multiple engineering disciplines from California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Houston Clear Lake.
His experience with NASA began in 1985, working on several NASA projects during his stint at MIT, including stability analysis for deployment of the Hubble space telescope, upgrades for the space shuttle’s autopilot function and more. In 1995, when he joined the mission operations team at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Chamitoff led the development of software applications, one of which is the 3-D displays of the International Space Station (ISS) and the space shuttle, which are used by mission control.
After being selected as an astronaut candidate in 1998, Chamitoff spent nine days living and working in the Aquarius undersea laboratory located at the Florida Keys in 2002. His first mission in space was in 2008, serving as the flight engineer and science officer aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for six months. In 2011, he was a crew member on the last flight of the Space Shuttle “Endeavour,” as a mission specialist conducting operations with robotic arms, helping to install a pallet of spare equipment and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle physics observatory that, as his resume states, could one day lead to breakthroughs on human understanding of the universe. In addition, during one of two spacewalks, he helped complete assembly of the ISS and also performed the final spacewalk of the space shuttle program.
The many honors Chamitoff has won over his career include the NASA distinguished service medal, NASA space flight medals, induction into the California Astronaut Hall of Fame and the Technical Excellence Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.