Trojans in Space

12 Alumni that “Slipped the Surly Bonds of Earth”

Neil A. Armstrong


M.S., Aerospace Engineering,’70

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, ’05

Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, 1993


  • Gemini 8, command pilot, 1966
  • Apollo 11, spacecraft commander, 1969


  • First man to walk on the moon (Apollo 11)
  • Flew over 200 different models of aircraft including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders
  • Decorated by 17 countries; honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, among others


Charles A Bassett II


Graduate work at USC (no degree)


  • Selected as pilot for Gemini 9, but died in crash of a T-38 jet in 1966


  • Was an Air Force captain
  • Served as an experimental test pilot and engineering test pilot in the Fighter Projects Office at Edwards Air Force Base
  • Logged over 3,600 hours of flight time


Karol J. Bobko


M.S., Aerospace Engineering, ’70

Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, 2011


  • STS-6, Challenger, pilot, 1983
  • STS-51D, Discovery, mission commander, 1985
  • STS-51J, Atlantis, mission commander, 1985

*STS stands for Space Transportation System, commonly referred to as the space shuttle program


  • Air Force colonel and member of the Air Force Academy’s first graduating class
  • Crewmember on the Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMEAT), a 56-day ground simulation of the Skylab mission, in 1972
  • Current program manager for support of the NASA Ames Simulation Laboratories (SimLabs)
  • Logged 386 hours in space


Charles F. Bolden


M.S., Systems Management, ’77

Honorary Doctor of Science, ’84

Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, 2006


  • STS-61C, Columbia, pilot, 1986
  • STS-31, Discovery, pilot, 1990
  • STS-45, Atlantis, commander, 1992
  • STS-60, Discovery, commander, 1994


  • 12th administrator of NASA, 2009–2017, nominated by President Barack Obama
  • Missions included deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope (STS-31) and the first SPACELAB “mission to planet Earth” (STS-45)
  • Former commanding general in the Marine Corps; military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Logged over 680 hours in space


Gerald P. Carr


B.E., Mechanical Engineering (Navy ROTC), ’54

Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, 1997


  • Skylab 4, commander, 1973


  • At the time, Skylab 4 was the longest manned flight in history, lasting 84 days.
  • Former Marine lieutenant colonel and a naval aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Founded CAMUS, a corporation that provided technical support to the Boeing Company in the crew systems design of the ISS
  • Logged 2,017 hours in space, including three space walks


Nancy J. Currie-Gregg


M.S., Safety Engineering, ’85


  • STS-57, Endeavour, mission specialist, 1993
  • STS-70, Discovery, mission specialist, 1995
  • STS-88, Endeavour, mission specialist, 1998
  • STS-109, Columbia, mission specialist, 2002


  • Part of the first ISS assembly mission (STS-88)
  • With an expertise in space robotic systems operations, her primary role during missions was to operate the shuttle’s 50-foot robotic arm
  • Former colonel and master army navigator in the U.S. Army
  • Current principal engineer in the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC)
  • Logged over 1,000 hours in space


Brian Duffy


M.S., Systems Management, ’81

Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, 2016


  • STS-45, Atlantis, pilot, 1992
  • STS-57, Endeavour, pilot, 1993
  • STS-72, Endeavour, commander, 1996
  • STS-92, Discovery, commander, 2000


  • Missions include the first ATLAS mission, a series to address the atmosphere and its interaction with the sun (STS-45)
  • Commander of the 100th space shuttle mission (STS-92)
  • Was a colonel of the U.S. Air Force
  • Served as assistant director (technical) and deputy director (acting) of the Johnson Space Center
  • Current vice president and Johnson Space Center manager for exploration systems at Orbital ATK
  • Logged 977 hours in space


J.M. Linenger


M.S., Systems Management, ’88


  • STS-64, Discovery, mission specialist, 1966
  • STS-81, Atlantis, mission specialist, 1997 (remained on shuttle until STS-84)
  • STS-84, Atlantis, mission specialist, 1997


  • Received an M.D. in 1981 from Wayne State University and an M.P.H. and Ph.D. in epidemiology in 1989 from the University of North Carolina
  • Trained at the Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia and stayed on the Russian Space Station Mir for five months (STS-81 to STS-84), making him the first American to conduct a spacewalk from a foreign space station and in a non-American made spacesuit
  • On Mir, they experienced the most severe fire ever aboard an orbiting spacecraft, failures of onboard systems, a near collision with a cargo ship, loss of electrical power, and loss of altitude control resulting in an uncontrolled “tumble” through space — but still completed their mission
  • Logged over 3,400 hours in space


James A. Lovell


Aviation Safety School at USC, ’61

Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, 1993


  • Gemini 7, pilot, 1965
  • Gemini 12, commander, 1966
  • Apollo 8, command module pilot and navigator, 1968
  • Apollo 13, spacecraft commander, 1970


  • Missions include first rendezvous of two manned maneuverable spacecraft (Gemini 7) and man’s maiden voyage to the moon (Apollo 8)
  • First man to journey to the moon twice (Apollo 8 and 13)
  • Received Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970 and Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1995
  • Appointed as consultant for Physical Fitness and Sports by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 and chairman of the Physical Fitness Council by President Richard Nixon in 1970
  • Logged 715 hours in space


Carlos I. Noriega


B.S., Computer Science (Navy ROTC), ’81


  • STS-84, Atlantis, mission specialist, 1997
  • STS-97, Endeavour, mission specialist, 2000


  • Missions include the installation of the first set of U.S. solar arrays on the ISS (STS-97)
  • Former chief of the Exploration Systems Division and director of safety, reliability and quality assurance for the Constellation Program at the Johnson Space Center
  • Current manager of Advanced Projects Office in the Constellation Program at the Johnson Space Center
  • Logged over 481 hours in space, including three space walks


Kenneth S. Reightler Jr.


M.S., Systems Management, ’84


  • STS-48, Discovery, pilot, 1991
  • STS-60, Discovery, pilot, 1994


  • Missions include first space shuttle flight in support of “Mission to Planet Earth”
  • Former vice president of NASA’s Program Integration for Lockheed Martin Space Systems
  • Current Robert A. Heinlein Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy
  • Logged over 327 hours in space


Pierre J. Thuot


M.S., Systems Management, ’85


  • STS-36, Atlantis, mission specialist, 1990
  • STS-49, Endeavour, mission specialist, 1992
  • STS-62, Columbia, mission specialist, 1994


  • Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1977 and attended the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) while assigned to Fighter Squadron 14
  • Missions include the maiden voyage of Endeavour and the first ever three-person spacewalk (STS-49)
  • As the Remote Manipulator System (robot arm), crew equipment, and Extravehicular Activity (EVA) representative for the Astronaut Office, he participated in the design, development and evaluation of space shuttle payloads, crew equipment and crew procedures.
  • Honors include two Defense Superior Service Medals, three NASA Space Flight Medals and two NASA Exceptional Service Medals
  • Logged over 654 hours in space, including three space walks