Emeritus FacultyLloyd Barrett
BiographyKathryn C. Thornton is a Professor at the University of Virginia in the School of Engineering and Applied Science in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She served from 1999 until 2012 as the Assistant Dean and later Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. Selected by NASA in May 1984, Thornton is a veteran of four space flights: STS-33 in 1989, STS-49 in 1992, STS-61 in 1993, and STS-73 in 1995. She has logged over 975 hours in space, including more than 21 hours of extravehicular activity (EVA). Since leaving NASA, Thornton has served on several review committees and task groups, including the National Research Council Study: Science Opportunities Enabled by Constellation (2007) as co-chair, and the NASA Return to Flight Task Group (2006) which evaluated NASA’s work in meeting goals set by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board prior to resumption of Space Shuttle flights. She also served for several years on the National Research Council Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. She is a member of the Board of Director of the Space Foundation and a co-author on Pearson’s Interactive Science, a K-8 science program. Prior to becoming an astronaut, Thornton was employed as a physicist at the U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center in Charlottesville, VA. Dr. Thornton is the recipient of numerous awards including NASA Space Flight Medals, the 1993 Robert J. Collier Trophy from the National Aeronautics Association (with the Hubble Space Telescope Recovery Team), the Explorer Club Lowell Thomas Award, the University of Virginia Distinguished Alumna Award, the Freedom Foundation Freedom Spirit Award, and the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement. She was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010, the only the third woman to hold this honor.