Jerry Lynn Ross is an Indiana native, a graduate of Purdue University, a retired United States Air Force officer, and a former astronaut who retired from NASA in 2012. He is a veteran of seven U.S. Space Shuttle missions and shares an individual world record for the most spaceflights flown.
With NASA Astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, Ross holds the record for the number of times launched into space -- seven.
He is one of only three NASA astronauts to support the US Space Shuttle program from before the first launch through its final landing. Ross supported the International Space Station program from its inception through the final assembly and initial operations. He helped develop and create the facilities, tools, techniques, and training needed to construct the ISS.
He led the team of spacewalkers who began assembly of the Space Station and among the first to enter it on orbit.
Ross is a member of the Silver Team, NASA's first pair of spacewalking grandfathers. With nine spacewalks, Ross is tied for third among spacewalkers worldwide and second in the US for most spacewalks performed. Additionally, with over 58 hours on spacewalks, Ross is third among spacewalkers worldwide and second in the US for time spent walking in space. He is the only three-time recipient of the American Astronautical Society's Victor A. Prather Award for spacewalking achievements and the only four-time recipient of the Society's Flight Achievement Award.
Ross performed a leadership role in the recovery of the Space Shuttle Columbia wreckage. He has been awarded two Defense Superior Service Medals, the Air Force Legion of Merit, four Defense Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, and fifteen NASA medals.
He was named to the Purdue University Air Force ROTC Hall of Fame. He was also the recipient of the honorary doctor of science degree from Purdue University in 2000 and the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award from the Purdue University College of Engineering in 2004.
In 2003, his hometown school system, Crown Point Community School Corporation, named Jerry Ross Elementary School in his honor.
In January 2013, Ross with John Norberg released the autobiography "Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA's Record-Setting Frequent Flyer."
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