Gregory Chamitoff is an engineer and NASA astronaut. He was born Gregory Errol Chamitoff on August 6, 1962 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is married to Alison Chantal Caviness, M.D., and together they have two children, Natasha and Dimitri. His interests include scuba diving, backpacking, skiing, and racquetball. He graduated from Blackford High School in San Jose, California in 1980.
As an undergraduate student at California Polytechnic State University, Chamitoff taught courses in circuit design and worked summer internships at various technology companies. For his thesis, he developed a self-guided robot. His graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1984, and then went on to attend the California Institute of Technology, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1985. Chamitoff then decided to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While there, he worked with Draper Labs on many NASA projects. He carried out analyses for the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope, designed flight control upgrades for the Space Shuttle, and worked on the control system for Space Station Freedom. His doctoral thesis designed a new approach for intelligent flight control of hypersonic vehicles. In 1992, Chamitoff earned his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics. For the next two years, he was a professor at the University of Sydney, Australia, where he led a research group in the development of independent flight vehicles, as well as taught courses in flight dynamics.
In 1995, Chamitoff went to the Johnson Space Center to work for the Motion Control Systems Group in the Mission Operations Directorate, where he created software applications for spacecraft attitude control monitoring, prediction, analysis, and maneuver optimization. NASA chose Chamitoff for the Astronaut Class of 1998 and after his training, qualified for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist in 2000. Since then, he has served in the Space Station Robotics branch, worked as the lead CAPCOM for Expedition 9, acted as Crew Support Astronaut for ISS Expedition 6, and helped develop various procedures and displays for Space Station system operations. In July 2002, Chamitoff worked aboard the crew of the Aquarius undersea research habitat for 9 days as part of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 3 mission. He also served as the backup Flight Engineer for Expedition 15 and 16, and Mission Specialist 5 for Clayton Anderson.
Chamitoff eventually flew into space and served on a long duration mission aboard the International Space Station. He launched on May 31, 2008 as a Mission Specialist on mission STS-124. He was in space 183 days, joining Expedition 18 after his previous one concluded, and then returned to Earth on November 30, 2008 on STS-126. While Richard Garriott was aboard the ISS during Expedition 18, he and Chamitoff filmed the first magic show in space, and along with Yury Lonchakov and Michael Fincke, filmed the first science-fiction movie made in space, called Apogee of Fear. Chamitoff has since been chosen as Mission Specialist 3 on STS-134.
Chamitoff was awarded many honors throughout his career, including the AIAA Technical Excellence Award, NASA Silver Snoopy award, Academic Excellence Award, Most Outstanding Senior Award.