The Army Astronaut Program

Monday July 7, 2008

What is it?

Since the successful launch of the Explorer I satellite Jan. 31, 1958, the Army has had a proud tradition of contributing to our nation's space program. The Army's NASA detachment, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, continues this tradition. The detachment is part of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (SMDC/ARSTRAT). The current Army astronauts are Col. Douglas Wheelock, detachment commander; Col. Timothy Creamer; Col. Timothy Kopra; and Lt. Col. Shane Kimbrough.

What has the Army done?

Starting with the selection of Maj. Robert Stewart as the Army's first astronaut in 1978, there have been 15 Soldiers who served as astronauts and played a key role in NASA's space shuttle program. The Army's success in the shuttle program, however, is just the beginning. The space shuttle and two types of Russian rockets are being used to launch and assemble the more than 100 elements for the completed international space station, the largest international cooperative space effort in history. Army astronauts are playing a key role in its construction and operation.

What continuing efforts does the ARMY have planned?

SMDC/ARSTRAT is the Army proponent for Functional Area 40 (FA40), Space Operations. Space operations officers provide the Army with a core of space-smart professionals. FA40 provides two distinct career paths: space operations officer (AOC 40A) and astronaut (AOC 40C). Space operations officers provide commanders with expertise and guidance on conducting the space component of operations, enhancing a command's ability to task, collect, process and act on space-based products, information, warnings and space-related capabilities. FA40 officers in non-tactical assignments, formulate policy, develop operational concepts, conduct research, develop technologies, evaluate and implement the tactics, techniques and procedures for the operation and use of space. Army astronauts provide the opportunity for officers selected by NASA to serve as astronauts for exploration of space. Astronauts may perform as a space shuttle mission specialist, International Space Station commander, flight engineer, science officer, ground support for space shuttle and International Space Station crews, capsule communicator, crew support astronaut, or Kennedy Space Center support astronaut.

Why is this important to the ARMY?

Army astronauts help the Army define its requirements for the space program and enhance the Army's use of space capabilities. Ultimately, these Soldiers are Army ambassadors to NASA and the public.

Web site:

Current Army Astronaut Biographies:

Col. Timothy (TJ) Creamer
Col. Douglas H. Wheelock
Col. Timothy L. Kopra
Lt. Col. Robert S. Kimbrough


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More than 1,200 enjoy concert with 338th Army Band

Soldiers treat Iraqi kids with severe burns



  • Video: Folding flags (
  • 1,215 servicemembers re-up in Iraq (ARN)
  • Va. Army National Guard's troop levels bounce back (HR)
  • Rural areas remain fertile for recruiting (AT)
  • Afghan war: A fight for their hearts (PTR)
  • LST in WWII (ARNews)


  • Gains in Iraq may lead to pullouts (USA)
  • Iraqi Shiite party rises as Sadr falls (CSM)
  • Afghans say new U.S. strike killed civilians (NYT)


  • GAO cites spiraling costs of new weapons programs (WP)
  • Medic in famous photo dies after PTSD struggle (AT)
  • Overdose kills ex-Fort Bliss Soldier (EPT)
  • Baghdad park a unique refuge for young couples in love (USA)
  • More power in Iraq, but shortages linger (AZS)


  • General David Petraeus beats megastar Angeline Jolie as Iraq crowd-puller (TO | Story)
  • India's PM, Manmohan Singh saves nuclear agreement with U.S. (TO | Story)
  • Defence attache killed in Kabul mission blast (TOI | Story)
  • U.S. helps remove uranium from Iraq (IHT | Story)
  • Iran has resumed A-bomb project, says West (DT | Story)
  • UAE waives billions of Iraqi debt (BBC | Story)


  • Independence Day 2008 (SM)
  • Historic 48 star American flag flown in Afghanistan (TT)
  • Independence Day: Celebrating liberty & those who defend it (AR)
  • India nuke deal back on? (WPR)

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July 13, 2008: Army National Guard concert band performance

July 26, 2008: 60th Anniversary of the Integration of the Armed Forces


"I've spent more than one Independence Day in this country, and this is the first time we have been able to do this. It really shows the faith that we have in the Sons of Iraq program and also the amount of security that they are able to do essentially by themselves."

-Capt. Andrew Farina, a company commander with the 27th Infantry who, with his Soldiers, spent July 4 participating in athletic competitions with Iraqi security forces near Baghdad

U.S. Soldiers share July 4 celebration with Iraqi army partners


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