Senate confirms Pam Melroy as NASA deputy

The U.S. Senate on June 17 confirmed by voice vote the nomination of Pam Melroy to be deputy administrator of NASA.

President Joe Biden nominated Melroy for the position on April 16.

“It’s an honor to be confirmed by the Senate to serve as NASA deputy administrator, and I am humbled by President Biden and Vice President Harris’ confidence in me,” Melroy said. “I look forward to returning to the NASA family and working with Administrator Nelson to ensure the United States continues to lead in space and beyond — exploring the wonders of the universe, expanding the Earth science research critical to combatting climate change, unlocking scientific discoveries that will change the world as we know it, and inspiring the next generation of discoverers and dreamers.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also released a statement on the confirmation.

“Pam is a pioneer and veteran of NASA, and will be an outstanding leader as we venture farther out to the stars,” said Nelson. “We certainly are lucky to have her on board, and I look forward to leading NASA with her as a team.”

Melroy was born in Palo Alto, Calif., but considers Rochester, N.Y., as her hometown.

Pam Melroy on the flightline at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (Air Force photograph)

She served in the U.S. Air Force, earning her commission through the ROTC program in 1983.

After completing a 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 at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., as a co-pilot, aircraft commander and instructor pilot. Melroy is a veteran of Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, with more than 200 combat and combat support hours.

In June 1991, she attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Upon her graduation, she was assigned to the C-17 Combined Test Force, where she served as a test pilot until her selection for the Astronaut Program. She has logged more than 6,000 hours flight time in more than 50 different aircraft. Melroy retired from the Air Force in February 2007.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994, Colonel Melroy reported to the Johnson Space Center, Texas, in March 1995.

She completed a year of training and evaluation and was qualified for flight assignment as a shuttle pilot.

Astronaut Pam Melroy, STS-120 commander, floats into the Unity node of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Discovery is docked with the station. The entrance is filled with white stowage bags in September 2010. (NASA photograph)

Initially assigned to astronaut support duties for launch and landing, she also worked advanced projects for the Astronaut Office. She also performed Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) duties in mission control. Melroy served on the Columbia Reconstruction Team as the lead for the crew module and served as Deputy Project Manager for the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Team. In her final position, 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 the mission commander on STS-120 in 2007, making her one of only two women who commanded the space shuttle.
She has logged more than 924 hours (more than 38 days) in space.

Melroy left the agency in August 2009 and currently serving as deputy director, Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

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