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Richard M. Linnehan

Richard M. Linnehan (DVM)
NASA Astronaut

Table of contents

Personal data

Born September 19, 1957, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Raised by his paternal grandparents, Henry and Mae Linnehan. Single. He enjoys various sports, outdoor activities and natural history. His sister, Colleen, resides in Nevada.



Member of:

  • the American Veterinary Medical Association
  • the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
  • the International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine
  • the Association of Space Explorers
  • Adjunct Professor at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Board member, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and the Tulane/Xavier/NASA Astrobiology Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

Special honors

  • Navy Group Achievement Award
  • Navy Commendation Medal
  • three NASA Space Flight Medals (1996, 1998, 2002)
  • NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (1999)
  • AVMA President’s Award
  • The OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Award
  • The University of New Hampshire Distinguished Alumni Award.


After graduating from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in June 1985, Dr. Linnehan entered private veterinary practice and was later accepted to a 2-year joint internship in zoo animal medicine and comparative pathology at the Baltimore Zoo and Johns Hopkins University. After completing his internship Dr. Linnehan was commissioned as a Captain in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps and reported for duty in early 1989 at the Naval Ocean Systems Center, San Diego, California, as chief clinical veterinarian for the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program. During his assignment at the Naval Ocean Systems Center Dr. Linnehan initiated and supervised research in the areas of cetacean and pinniped anesthesia, orthopedics, drug pharmacokinetics and reproduction in direct support of U.S. Navy mobile marine mammal systems stationed in California, Florida, and Hawaii.

NASA experience

Selected by NASA in March 1992, Dr. Linnehan reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1992 where he completed one year of Astronaut Candidate training qualifying him for Space Shuttle flight assignments as a mission specialist. Dr. Linnehan was initially assigned to flight software verification in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). He was subsequently assigned to the Astronaut Office Mission Development Branch, working on payload development, and mission development flight support for future Space Shuttle missions. He first flew as a mission specialist in 1996 on STS-78, the Life Sciences and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS) mission. In 1998, he served as the payload commander on the STS-90 Neurolab mission. In 2002, he was a member of the 4-man EVA crew on STS-109. A veteran of three space flights, Dr. Linnehan has logged over 43 days in space, including 3 EVAs (spacewalks) totaling 21 hours and 9 minutes.

Space flight experience

STS-78 LMS (June 20 to July 7, 1996). The Life Sciences and Microgravity Spacelab mission was flown aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. The 17-day flight included studies sponsored by ten nations and five space agencies, and was the first mission to combine both a full microgravity studies agenda and a comprehensive life sciences payload. STS-78 orbited the Earth 271 times, and covered 7 million miles (11 Gm) in 405 hours and 48 minutes.

STS-90 Neurolab (April 17 to May 3, 1998) was his second Spacelab mission. During the 16-day flight the seven person crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia served as both experimental subjects and operators for 26 individual life science experiments focusing on the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system. STS-90 orbited the Earth 256 times, and covered 6.3 million miles (10 Gm) in 381 hours and 50 minutes. Both missions served as a model for future life sciences studies on board the International Space Station.

STS-109/HST Servicing Mission 3B (March 1-12, 2002) was the fourth Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission and Rick’s third flight aboard Columbia. The crew of STS-109 successfully upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope’s systems over the course of 5 consecutive EVAs, leaving it with a new power control unit, improved solar arrays, the new Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), and an experimental refrigeration unit for cooling the dormant Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). With his teammate Dr. John Grunsfeld (EV1), Dr. Linnehan (EV2) performed three of the five spacewalks totaling 21 hours and 9 minutes. STS-109 orbited the Earth 165 times and covered 3.9 million miles (6.3 Gm) in just over 262 hours.


Source: [1]

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