George D. Zamka


George D. Zamka
Zamka G NASA.jpg
Born1962 (age 58–59)
OccupationTest Pilot
Space career
NASA Astronaut
RankColonel, USMC
Time in space
28 days, 20 hours, 32 minutes
Selection1998 NASA Group
MissionsSTS-120, STS-130
Mission insignia
Sts-120-patch.svg STS-130 patch.png

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.[1] He was raised in New York City; Irvington, New York; Medellin, Colombia,;[2] and Rochester Hills, Michigan. He graduated from Rochester Adams High School in Michigan in 1980.

Zamka is married and has two children. His extended family resides in Colorado, Mississippi, Georgia, Indiana, Florida and Tennessee. Zamka is of Colombian[3][4] and Polish ancestry.[5]

Military career

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 1997, he earned a Masters of Science degree in engineering management from the Florida Institute of Technology. In 1998, he returned to VMFA(AW)-121 and deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.

In August 2010, Zamka retired from the Marine Corps after almost 30 years of distinguished service. As of May 2018 he is chairman of the board of the National Association of Spaceports.[6]

NASA career

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.

Honors and awards

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).[7][8]

Promotional activities

Zamka in bogota colombia.jpg

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.[9]

See also


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a United States government agency.
  1. ^ "George D. Zamka, Biographical Data" (PDF). Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. NASA. March 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  2. ^ Posada-Swafford, Angela. "George Zamka: astronauta, matemático y 'top gun'" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2007-12-28.
  3. ^ NASA Hispanic Astronauts Archived 2001-07-11 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Virgil Fernandez (2006). Hispanic military heroes. Austin, Texas: VFJ Pub. ISBN 0-9675876-1-1. OCLC 63180907.
  5. ^ Astronaut George Zamka in Poland Archived 2012-02-19 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Space Voyagers".
  7. ^ Odznaczenie dla astronauty George'a Zamki Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine (in Polish)
  8. ^ M.P.2011 Nr 12 poz. 130 (in Polish)
  9. ^ Zamka visits Bogota's planetarium
  • NASA Appoints Crew for Space Station Mission, UPI, 2006-06-20. Retrieved on 2006-06-25.
  • Spacefacts biography of George D. Zamka

External links

Media related to George D. Zamka at Wikimedia Commons