Michael Anderson was a United States Colonel (USAF) and NASA astronaut. He was born Michael Philip Anderson on December 25, 1959 in Plattsburgh, New York. He grew up in Spokane, Washington and graduated from Cheney High School in 1977. He went on to attend the University of Washington and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics/astronomy in 1981.
Following his graduation, Anderson was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. After completing a year of technical training at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, he was assigned to Randolph Air Force Base, where he served as Chief of Communication Maintenance for the 2015 Communication Squadron as well as Director of Information System Maintenance for the 1920 Information System Group. In 1986 he was selected to attend Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, and was subsequently assigned to the 2nd Airborne Command and Control Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska as an EC 135 pilot. In 1990, Anderson earned a Master of Science degree in physics from Creighton University.
From January 1991 to September 1992 Anderson served as an aircraft commander and instructor pilot in the 920th Air Refueling Squadron at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan. He was then assigned as an instructor pilot and tactics officer in the 380 Air Refueling Wing at Plattsburgh Air Force Base in New York, where he served until February 1995.
In March 1995, Anderson reported to the Johnson Space Center, completed a year of training and evaluation, and then qualified for flight crew assignment as a mission specialist. Anderson was initially assigned technical duties in the Flight Support Branch of the Astronaut Office. His first flight was aboard Shuttle Endeavour on STS-89, which launched on January 22, 1998. It was the eighth Shuttle-Mir docking mission during which the crew transferred more than 9,000 pounds of scientific equipment, logistical hardware and water to Mir. They also delivered Andy Thomas to the space station and returned with David Wolf. The mission duration was 8 days, 19 hours and 47 seconds. His second and final flight was aboard Shuttle Columbia on STS-107. It launched on January 16, 2003 as a dedicated science and research mission, during which the crew successfully conducted 80 experiments. However, the mission ended abruptly on February 1, 2003 when the shuttle disintegrated 16 minutes before scheduled landing. Anderson and the crew were killed.
Anderson received many awards for his life, including Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, two Air Force Achievement Medals, Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. He also has many tributes in his honor, including Asteroid 51824 Mikeanderson being named after him.