Pamela Melroy ’83 is a retired United States Air Force officer, former pilot and NASA astronaut. After earning her B.A. in physics and astronomy she was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force through the Reserved Officer Training Corps. After completing a master’s degree in planetary science from MIT, she attended undergraduate pilot training at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas, and completed the program in 1985.
Colonel Melroy flew with the Air Force for six years as a copilot, aircraft commander, and instructor pilot. She is a veteran of operations JUST CAUSE and DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM and has logged over 200 combat and combat-support hours.
In 1991, Colonel Melroy attended the Air Force Test Pilot School and became the second woman ever to be selected as a test pilot. She served as a test pilot for two years before being selected as one of 20 astronauts for NASA from over 4,000 applicants.
She has served as pilot on two flights (STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002), both of which traveled to the International Space Station. On the STS-92 Discovery, Colonel Melroy became just the third woman to pilot the space shuttle. She has logged over 562 hours in space.
Colonel Melroy has received numerous military honors including the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster. She joined the Federal Aviation Administration in 2011, where she was senior technical advisor and director of field operations for the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Most recently, she left the FAA and joined DARPA as Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office. She also currently serves as a Wellesley College trustee.
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