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Michael Fincke - United States Astronaut - El Camino College

Michael Fincke graduated from Pennsylvania’s Sewickley Academy  in 1985.  He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on an Air Force ROTC scholarship and graduated in 1989 with a bachelor of science in Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as a bachelor of science in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.  This was followed by a master of science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 1990. He was awarded an associates of science degree in Earth Sciences (Geology) from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. in 1993 and then a second master of science in Physical Sciences (Planetary Geology) from the University of Houston - Clear Lake in 2001.

Fincke was born March 14, 1967 in Pittsburgh, PA., but considers Emsworth, PA. to be his hometown.  Married to the former Renita Saikia of Houston, Texas.  They have three children.  In addition to time with his family, Mike enjoys travel, Geology, Astronomy, learning new languages, and reading.  He is conversant in Japanese and Russian.  His parents, Edward and Alma Fincke reside in Emsworth, Pennsylvania.  Renita’s parents, Rupesh and Probha Saikia formerly of Assam, India reside in Houston, Texas.

In addition to two NASA Distinguished Service Medals and two NASA Spaceflight Medals, Colonel Fincke is a recipient of the first ISS Leadership Award as well as a United States Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, three Commendation Medals, two Achievement Medals, and various unit and service awards.  He is a Distinguished Graduate from the United States Air Force ROTC, Squadron Officer School, and Test Pilot School Programs and the recipient of the United States Air Force Test Pilot School Colonel Ray Jones Award as the top Flight Test Engineer/Flight Test Navigator in class 93B. 

Colonel Fincke graduated from MIT in 1989, and immediately attended a summer exchange program with the Moscow Aviation Institute in the former Soviet Union, where he studied Cosmonautics.  Upon graduation from Stanford University in 1990, he entered the United States Air Force where he “washed out” of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, and then was reassigned as a Space Systems Engineer and a Space Test Engineer at Los Angeles Air Force Base.   As a Flight Test Engineer at Edwards and Eglin Air Force Bases he flew in F-16 and F-15 aircraft.  In January of 1996, he reported to the Gifu Test Center, Gifu Air Base, Japan where he was the United States Flight Test Liaison to the Japanese/United States XF-2 fighter program.  Colonel Fincke has more than 1,000 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft types.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Colonel Fincke reported to the Johnson Space Center where he completed two years of training and evaluation.  He was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations Branch serving as an International Space Station Spacecraft Communicator (ISS CAPCOM), a member of the Crew Test Support Team in Russia and as the ISS crew procedures team lead.  He also served as back-up crewmember for ISS Expeditions 4 and 6 as well as back-up commander for ISS Expeditions 13 and 16.  He is qualified to fly as a left-seat Flight Engineer (co-pilot) on the Russian Soyuz TM and TMA spacecraft.  He was the Commander of the second NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO 2) mission living and working underwater for 7 days in May of 2002.  Fincke has a total of 365 days, 21 hours and 32 minutes in orbit, and has logged 26 hours and 12 minutes of EVA time on six spacewalks. 

Fincke was assigned to the crew of STS-134 to the International Space Station.  The mission delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a state-of-the-art cosmic ray particle physics detector designed to examine fundamental issues about matter and the origin of the universe.  The mission also marked the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour.

ISS Expedition 9 (April 18 to Oct. 23, 2004).  Expedition 9 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz TMA-4 spacecraft.  As the NASA Space Station science officer and flight engineer, Colonel Fincke spent six-months aboard the ISS continuing ISS science operations, maintaining Station systems, and performing four spacewalks.  The Expedition 9 mission concluded with undocking from the station and safe landing back in Kazakhstan on October 23, 2004. 

ISS Expedition 18 (October 12, 2008 to April 8, 2009).  Expedition 18 launched from from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft.  As the ISS Commander, Fincke and his 3-person crew helped prepare the station for future six-person crews and hosted the Space Shuttle crews of STS-126 and STS-119.  The Expedition 18 mission concluded with undocking from the station and safe landing back in Kazakhstan on April 8, 2009.

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