George D. Zamka
|Born||1962 (age 58–59)|
Time in space
|28 days, 20 hours, 32 minutes|
|Selection||1998 NASA Group|
George David "Zambo" Zamka (born 1962) is a former NASA astronaut and United States Marine Corps pilot with over 3500 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft. Zamka piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery in its October 2007 mission to the International Space Station and served as the commander of mission STS-130 in February 2010.
George David Zamka was born in 1962 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was raised in New York City; Irvington, New York; Medellin, Colombia,; and Rochester Hills, Michigan. He graduated from Rochester Adams High School in Michigan in 1980.
Zamka graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the United States Naval Academy in 1984. He was then commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He received A-6E Intruder training at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington in 1985–1987. He was assigned to VMA(AW)-242 at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California. In addition to flight safety and administration, he was a squadron weapons and tactics instructor. In 1990, he trained as an F/A-18D Hornet pilot and was then assigned to VMFA(AW)-121. Zamka flew 66 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm. In 1993, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California as a forward air controller. In December 1994, he graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, following which, he served as an F/A-18 Hornet test pilot and operations officer.
In June 1998, Zamka was selected for the NASA astronaut program, and reported for training in August. He served as lead for the Shuttle training and procedures division and as supervisor for the astronaut candidate class of 2004. Zamka made his first spaceflight as the pilot of mission STS-120, and second as the commander for STS-130.
Zamka has received the following honors and awards: the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Strike Air Medal (6), Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V", and various other military service and campaign awards. Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy. Commodore's list and Academic Achievement Award, Training Air Wing Five. Recipient of the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, two NASA Space Flight Medals, four NASA Superior Accomplishment Awards and the GEM Award. He received also Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2010).
In March 2008, Zamka visited Colombia's Planetarium of Bogotá with the crew of mission STS-120 to share their experience as NASA astronauts with 200 students, 50 teachers, and 20 science major experts.
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