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Pat Patton Interviews
Table 53 Interview with Astronaut Dr. Bonnie Dunbar
from the Archives
Sunday, August 11, 2002

photos by Lynda GuidryMy interview is with Astronaut Dr. Bonnie Dunbar.  Listen

Dr. Dunbar is a veteran of five space flights and has logged more than 1,208 hours (50 days) in space. She served as a mission specialist on STS 61-A in 1985, STS-32 in 1990, and STS-71 in 1995, and was the Payload Commander on STS-50 in 1992, and STS-89 in 1998.

Dr. Dunbar received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Washington, and a doctorate in Mechanical/Biomedical Engineering from the University of Houston.   Dr. Dunbar became a NASA astronaut in August 1981. 

Just a few of her honors include being inducted into the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame in 2000, one of five women in the world so honored, being selected as one of the top 20 women in technology in Houston, 2000, receiving the NASA Space Flight Medals in 1985, 1990, 1992, 1995, and 1998, the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1996, and receiving the NASA Outstanding Leadership Award in 1993.

Bonnie was raised on a homestead ranch in Sunnyside, Washington, and was very involved in the 4-H programs.  Her experiences of being raised on a ranch, riding horses, and her enthusiasm and focus on education, explain why she enjoys being a member of the Speaker’s Committee for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which benefits the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Scholarship Fund.

From the time Bonnie was a child, she dreamed of flying in space and being an astronaut, and she received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in ceramic engineering to prepare her to be an astronaut.  Her training took her all over the world in countries like Russia, Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and her experiences as a NASA astronaut took her literally “out of this world”.

Bonnie’s dedication and enthusiasm for science and research, and her love of adventure, helped Bonnie’s dream of being an NASA astronaut come true.  Encouraging education, especially in Science and Engineering, is one of her major goals, and she currently serves as the Assistant Director to the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) with a focus on University Research. 

Bonnie’s belief in education, her abilities in research that benefits mankind, and her childhood training in working together to accomplish goals, make her an outstanding choice for this “Women of Excellence” interview.

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