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Pamela Melroy
Pam Melroy with astronaut gear

Pamela Melroy is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a former NASA astronaut.

Melroy received a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from Wellesley College in 1983. She then earned a master’s degree in earth and planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984. After completing her master’s degree, she attended undergraduate pilot training at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas, and graduated in 1985. 

Melroy flew the KC-10 for six years as a co-pilot, aircraft commander, and instructor pilot. Colonel Melroy is a veteran of Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, with more than 200 combat and combat support hours.

NASA selected Melroy as an astronaut candidate in December 1994. She was initially assigned to astronaut support duties for launch and landing, and she worked on advanced projects for the Astronaut Office and performed capsule communicator duties in mission control. She served on the Columbia Reconstruction Team as the lead for the crew module and as deputy project manager for the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Team. In her final position with NASA, she served as Branch Chief for the Orion branch of the Astronaut Office. Melroy served as pilot on two flights (STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002) and was mission commander on STS- 120 in 2007, making her one of only two women to command the space shuttle. She logged more than 38 days in space. Colonel Melroy retired from the Air Force in February 2007.

After NASA, Melroy was a senior technical advisor and director of field operations for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. She currently serves as Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award Citation