NASA today named Dr. Donald A. Thomas as the new
International Space Station Program Scientist for the agency.

As International Space Station Program Scientist, Thomas will
be based at Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston. He will work
with principal investigators and the Station program office
to ensure scientific and engineering requirements are clearly
communicated among the participants. He will serve as the
science spokesman for the Program to the scientific and
international research communities and the general public.

“Don has a unique and very diverse background which makes him
an excellent choice for this position,” said Mary Kicza,
Associate Administrator for the Office of Biological and
Physical Research at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “His
experiences as a materials science researcher in industry
prior to joining NASA and his scientific and management
accomplishments since becoming an astronaut will serve the
Space Station program extremely well, as we optimize the
available research opportunities and move forward toward
assembly and completion of the Station,” she said.

A veteran of four space flights, Thomas came to NASA from
Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Company in Houston. His
responsibilities involved reviewing materials used in Space
Shuttle payloads. In 1988 he joined JSC as a Materials
Engineer. His work involved projections for advanced
composite materials for use on Space Station Freedom. He was
also a Principal Investigator for the Microgravity
Disturbances Experiment, a middeck crystal growth experiment
that flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-32) in January

Thomas became an astronaut in July 1991. Three of his four
flights were on Spacelab research missions. In July 1994, on
Columbia (STS-65), the second International Microgravity
Laboratory mission, the crew conducted more than 80
experiments focusing on materials and life sciences research
in microgravity. As a mission specialist during the
Microgravity Science Laboratory Spacelab mission, he focused
on materials and combustion science research in microgravity.

He has served in the Safety, Operations Development and
Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Office, and was Director
of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training
Center in Star City, Russia.

Thomas will succeed Neal Pellis, the first International
Space Station Program Scientist. “Neal’s leadership was
impressive and admirable,” Kicza said. “We appreciated his
ability to provide guidance regarding the various Station
research priorities and wish him the best, as he returns to
his important research at JSC.” In July, Pellis became
Associate Director, Biological Sciences and Applications
Office at JSC.

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