Selection 1996 NASA Group
First space flight STS-115
Time in space 27d 15h 36m 12s
Space missions STS-126, STS-115
|Other occupation Diver|
Space agency NASA
|Born February 7, 1963 (age 52)
St. Paul, Minnesota (1963-02-07) |
Name Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper
Education Cretin-Derham Hall High School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Rank Captain, United States Navy
Similar People Stephen Bowen, Robert S Kimbrough, Joseph R Tanner, Christopher Ferguson, Brent W Jett - Jr
Heidemarie Stefanyshyn Piper Former Astronaut Interview CHCC
Heidemarie Martha Stefanyshyn-Piper (born February 7, 1963) is an American Naval officer and a former NASA astronaut. She has achieved the rank of Captain in the United States Navy. She is also a qualified and experienced salvage officer. Her major salvage projects include de-stranding the tanker Exxon Houston off the coast of Barbers Point, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and developing the plan for the Peruvian Navy salvage of the Peruvian submarine Pacocha.
- Heidemarie Stefanyshyn Piper Former Astronaut Interview CHCC
- Early life and education
- Military career
- NASA career
- STS 115 Atlantis (September 9–21, 2006)
- NEEMO 12 (May 7–18, 2007)
- STS 126 Endeavour (November 14–30, 2008)
- Lost tool bag during spacewalk
- Retirement from NASA
- Commanding the NSWCCD
Stefanyshyn-Piper has received numerous honors and awards, such as the Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, and two Navy Achievement Medals. She has flown on two Space Shuttle missions, STS-115 and STS-126, during which she completed five spacewalks totaling 33 hours and 42 minutes. As of 2017, she ranks 39th on the all-time list of space walkers by duration.
Early life and education
Stefanyshyn-Piper was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, of Ukrainian-American heritage. Her father, Michael (Mykhailo) Stefanyshyn, now deceased, was born in the Halychyna region of Ukraine, and sent to work in Germany during World War II. After the end of the war, he married a German woman and they both immigrated to the U.S. Stefanyshyn-Piper's mother, Adelheid Stefanyshyn, still lives in St. Paul. Stefanyshyn-Piper was raised in the Ukrainian cultural community of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, is a member of Plast – a Ukrainian scouting organization, and speaks Ukrainian.
Stefanyshyn-Piper graduated in 1980 from what was then the all-girls Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, and holds Bachelor of Science (1984) and Master of Science (1985) degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is a licensed ham radio operator with Technician License KD5TVR.
Stefanyshyn-Piper married Glenn A. Piper, and they have one son, Michael, named after Piper's grandfather. Stefanyshyn-Piper hyphenated her surname after marriage to serve as a reminder of her family roots.
Stefanyshyn-Piper received her commission from the Naval ROTC Program at MIT in June 1985. She completed training at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida as a Navy Basic Diving Officer and Salvage Officer. During her Salvage tour, she participated in the de-stranding of the tanker Exxon Houston off the coast of Barbers Point in Hawaii. Stefanyshyn-Piper is currently a Captain in the United States Navy.
During her military career she was awarded: the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, and other service medals.
Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Stefanyshyn-Piper reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. After two years of training and evaluation, she qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Initially assigned to astronaut support duties for launch and landing, she has also served as lead Astronaut Office Representative for Payloads and in the Astronaut Office EVA branch.
STS-115 - Atlantis (September 9–21, 2006)
Stefanyshyn-Piper flew her first mission on STS-115, aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis (launched September 9, 2006, and returned September 21), as a Mission Specialist and became only the 8th woman to perform a spacewalk (out of 180 total spacewalkers). Stefanyshyn-Piper participated in two of the mission's three EVAs for a total of 12 hours, 8 minutes made her the second most experienced female spacewalker. She also became the first Minnesota woman to go into space.
During her pre-flight interview, she described her philosophy about human exploration of space:
Piper fainted twice during the STS-115 welcome home ceremony.
NEEMO 12 (May 7–18, 2007)
Stefanyshyn-Piper was commander of the 12th expedition of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO), a NASA program for studying human survival in the Aquarius underwater laboratory in preparation for future space exploration.
STS-126 - Endeavour (November 14–30, 2008)
Stefanyshyn-Piper flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-126, aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour (launched November 14, 2008, and returned November 30), during which she participated in and was Lead Spacewalker on three of four spacewalks. The mission ended when Endeavour landed successfully at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Following Stefanyshyn-Piper's third spacewalk during STS-126, her fifth overall, her total time in EVA became 33 hours, 42 minutes, putting her in twenty-fifth place for total time in EVA.
Lost tool bag during spacewalk
During the first EVA of STS-126 on November 18, 2008, as Stefanyshyn-Piper was preparing to begin work on the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, she noticed a significant amount of grease in her tool bag. "I think we had a grease gun explode in the large bag, because there's grease in the bag," Stefanyshyn-Piper reported to Kimbrough, who was working inside the shuttle to help coordinate the EVA. Mission Control managers instructed Stefanyshyn-Piper to clean up the grease using a dry wipe, and while she was doing the cleanup, she accidentally pushed aside the bag. "I guess one of my crew lock bags was not transferred and it's loose," Stefanyshyn-Piper told Kimbrough. The bag floated aft and starboard of the station, and did not pose a risk to the station or orbiter. The bag and its contents entered Low Earth Orbit as space debris, where it eventually burned-up as it entered the Earth's atmosphere west of Mexico on August 3, 2009. When in orbit, it was visible from the ground using a telescope.
After taking an inventory of the items inside the lost bag, managers on the ground determined that Bowen had all those items in his bag, and the two could share equipment. While it extended the EVA duration slightly, the major objectives were not changed. The estimated value of the equipment lost is US$100,000.
During the Mission Status Briefing, lead International Space Station Flight Director Ginger Kerrick said that there was no way to know what caused the bag to come loose. "We don't know that this incident occurred because they forgot to tether something. We don't know if perhaps the hook just came loose inside the bag," Kerrick said. "You've got to remember, we are working with humans here and we are prone to human error. We do the best we can, and we learn from our mistakes." Said Stefanyshyn-Piper of the incident, "that definitely was not the high point of the EVA. It was very disheartening to watch it float away."
Retirement from NASA
In July 2009, Stefanyshyn-Piper retired from NASA's Astronaut Corps to return to her Navy duties.
Fellow astronaut Steven Lindsey, Chief of the Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, stated on her retirement: "Heide has been an outstanding astronaut, contributing significantly to the Space Shuttle and Space Station programs. In particular, her superb leadership as lead spacewalker during the STS-126 mission resulted in restoring full power generation capability to the International Space Station. We wish her the best of luck back in the Navy – she will be missed." She was awarded two NASA Space Flight Medals, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.
In August 2009, Stefanyshyn-Piper reported to the Naval Sea Systems Command as the Chief Technology Officer.
Commanding the NSWCCD
On May 20, 2011 Captain Stefanyshyn-Piper became commander of the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Maryland.