Scott Altman is a test pilot and NASA astronaut. He was born Scott Douglas Altman on August 15, 1959 in Lincoln, Illinois. He grew up in Pekin, Illimois and graduated from Pekin Community High School in 1977. He continued on to the University of Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering. He was commissioned in the United States Navy in August 1981 and received his Navy wings of gold in February 1983. Altman was deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean flying the F-14A Tomcat. In August 1987, he was chosen for the Naval Postgraduate School-Test Pilot School. He graduated with a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering in June 1990 as a Distinguished Graduate. After graduation, he worked on various F-14 projects as a test pilot. Altman also took the F-14D on its first operational deployment with VF-31 Tomcatters.
In March 1995, Selected Altman reported to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center after being selected as a candidate by NASA. He completed a year of training and was then assigned to work technical aspects of orbiter landing and roll out issues for the Astronaut Office Vehicle Systems Branch. His first flight was on STS-90 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia, which launched on April 17, 1998. During the 16-day Spacelab flight, the crew served as both experiment subjects and operators for 26 individual life science experiments, which focused on the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system. The mission successfully landed on May 3, 1998. Altman’s second mission was aboard Shuttle Atlantis on STS-106. The mission launched on September 8, 2000 and successfully prepared the International Space Station for the arrival of the first permanent crew. Altman also flew two complete flyarounds of the station after undocking. They returned to Earth 12 days later. Altman was next assigned to STS-109, which launched aboard Shuttle Columbia on March 1, 2002 as the fourth Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. The crew successfully upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope with a new power unit, a new camera and new solar arrays during five spacewalks. STS-109 orbited the Earth 165 times before landing at Kennedy Space Center on March 12, 2002. Altman’s most recent flight was aboard Shuttle Atlantis on STS-125. It was launched on May 11, 2009, and was the fifth and final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. They carried two new instruments to the telescope, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Wide Field Camera 3. Additionally, the mission replaced a Fine Guidance Sensor, six gyroscopes, and two battery unit modules, and also installed new thermal blanket insulating panels to provide improved thermal protection. The mission also carried an IMAX camera to document its progress. The mission ended successfully with a landing on May 24, 2009.
Altman is married to Jill Shannon, and together they have three children. His middle child, Alex, graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas in May 2009. Altman appeared in the well known film, Top Gun, performing many of the aerial stunts. He is currently assigned as Shuttle Branch chief for the Astronaut Office and as lead for the Cockpit Avionics Upgrade. He has received many honors, including Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal.