Col. Mark C. Lee, USAF (Ret.)

Director Aerospace Facilities
Affiliated Engineers

Former NASA Astronaut

Born August 14, 1952, in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Married to the former Paula Marie Simon of Chicago, Illinois. They have three boys, Erik, Matthew, and Jonathon. He enjoys jogging, swimming, golf, carpentry, and farming. His parents, Charles M. and Ruth Lee, reside in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Currently the Director of Aerospace Facilities for Affiliated Engineers, Inc and can be contacted through their main office at 5802 Research Park Blvd Madison WI 53719.

Graduated from Viroqua High School, Viroqua, Wisconsin, in 1970; received a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1974, and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980.

Registered professional engineer in the States of Colorado and Texas.

Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, 2 Air Force Commendation Medals, 4 NASA Space Flight Medals, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award, and 2 NASA Exceptional Service Medals.

Following pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and F-4 upgrade at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Lee spent 2-1/2 years at Okinawa Air Base, Japan, flying F-4’s in the 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Following this assignment, he began his studies at MIT in 1979 specializing in graphite/epoxy advanced composite materials. After graduation in 1980, he was assigned to Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, in the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Program Office, as the operational support manager. His responsibilities included resolving mechanical and material deficiencies which affected the mission readiness of the AWACS aircraft. In 1982 he returned to flying, upgrading in the F-16 and serving as executive officer for the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing Deputy Commander for Operations, and as flight commander in the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, until his selection as an astronaut candidate.

He has logged 4,500 hours flying time, predominantly in the T-38, F-4 and F-16 aircraft.

Lee was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in May 1984. In June 1985, he completed a one- year training and evaluation program, qualifying him for assignment as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flight crews. His technical responsibilities within the Astronaut Office have included extravehicular activity (EVA), the inertial upper stage (IUS), Spacelab and Space Station systems. Lee has also served as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in the Mission Control Center, as Lead ”Cape Crusader” at the Kennedy Space Center, Chief of Astronaut Appearances, Chief of the Astronaut Office Mission Development Branch, Chief of the EVA Robotics Branch, and Chief of the EVA Branch. He also worked Space Station assembly issues for the Astronaut Office.

A veteran of four space flights, Lee has traveled over 13 million miles going around the world 517 times and spending 33 days in orbit. He flew as a mission specialist on STS-30 (May 4-8, 1989) and STS-64 (September 9-20, 1994), and was the Payload Commander on STS-47 (September 12-20, 1992), and STS-82 (February 11-21, 1997). During STS-64, he logged EVA hours totaling 6 hours and 51 minutes. During STS-82 he logged 19 hours and 10 minutes in 3 EVAs.

Lee retired from NASA and the Air Force effective July 1, 2001.

STS-30 Atlantis was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on May 4, 1989. During this four-day mission, the crew successfully deployed the Magellan Venus-exploration spacecraft, the first U.S. planetary science mission launched since 1978, and the first planetary probe to be deployed from the Shuttle. Magellan arrived at Venus in August 1990, and mapped over 95% of the surface of Venus. Magellan has been one of NASA’s most successful scientific missions and has provided us with valuable information about the Venetian atmosphere and magnetic field. In addition, the crew also worked on secondary payloads involving life sciences and crystals. Following 64 orbits of the Earth, the STS-30 mission concluded with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on May 8, 1989.

STS-47 Endeavour, Spacelab-J, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on September 12, 1992, and landed at the same location on Runway 33 eight days later. Lee was the payload commander on this mission with overall crew responsibility for the planning, integration, and on-orbit coordination of payload/Space Shuttle activities. This cooperative mission between the United States and Japan included 44 Japanese and U.S. life science and materials processing experiments.

STS-64 Discovery, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on September 9, 1994 and landed eleven days later at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Mission highlights included: first use of lasers for environmental research; deployment and retrieval of a solar science satellite; robotic processing of semiconductors; use of RMS boom for jet thruster research; first untethered spacewalk in 10 years to test a self-rescue jetpack, during which Lee logged 6 hours and 51 minutes of EVA.

STS-82 Discovery, was the second Hubble Space Telescope maintenance mission. STS-82 launched at night on February 11 and returned to a night landing at Kennedy Space Center on February 21, 1997. Lee again served as payload commander. During the flight, the crew retrieved and secured the HST in Discovery’s payload bay. In five space walks, two teams installed two new spectrometers and eight replacement instruments, as well as replacing insulation patches over three compartments containing key data processing, electronics and scientific instrument telemetry packages. Lee conducted three space walks totaling 19 hours and 10 minutes. Following completion of upgrades and repairs, HST was redeployed and boosted to a higher orbit. The flight was completed in 149 orbits covering 3.8 million miles in 9 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes.

Related Sessions

New Generation Space Leaders: Leadership Exchange “Speed Mentoring”

Monday, March 30, 2020

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