Leland Melvin is an engineer and astronaut whose work with fiber optics sensors has been applied to the safety and integrity of space vehicles and supports the ongoing development of aerospace and civil health monitoring systems. Mr. Melvin, a veteran of two space flights, was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in 1998.
During his first mission in 2008, he and his crew delivered and installed the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory to the International Space Station. During the second in 2009, he helped deliver and install nearly 30,000 pounds of replacement parts, including spare gyroscopes, robotic arm parts, and a trailing umbilical system for the Mobile Transporter.
As co-manager of NASA’s Educator Astronaut Program, Mr. Melvin travels across the country, engaging students and teachers in the excitement of space exploration, and inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A professional football candidate before suffering a hamstring injury that ended his athletic career, Mr. Melvin has received eight NASA Outstanding Performance Awards and two NASA Superior Accomplishment Awards.