NASA astronaut Janice Voss, who joined agency as a teenager and flew five missions in seven years, dies at 55 after losing battle with cancer

8 Feb

She had logged five space flights with NASA, spending a total of 49 days in orbit and traveling 18.8 million miles in 779 laps of the Earth.

Born in South Bend, Indiana, Ms Voss earned her bachelor’s degree in engineering science at Purdue and then gained a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


She joined NASA as a teenager while attending Purdue in 1973 and became an astronaut in 1991, blasting into space for the first time two years later.

She took part in space missions in 1995, two in 1997 and the last in 2000.

In total, she flew five shuttle missions in seven years.


Her final mission was an 11-day flight during which the international crew aboard shuttle Endeavour mapped more than 47 million square miles of the Earth’s land surface.

After her final space mission, Voss continued to work for NASA on payload issues, and used her cachet as an astronaut to encourage students to study science and math.

Plans for a memorial service are pending.

NASA says Voss was one of six women to fly in space at least five times.

The agency put a halt to its space exploration program after 30 years of sending shuttles into space.


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