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First American Physician in Space: Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin

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First American Physician in Space: Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin

By In Aerospace Medicine, Blog, Flight Medicine, History, . . . On February 19, 2014


Dr Joseph KerwinHappy 82nd birthday to Dr. Joseph Peter Kerwin!! Dr Kerwin was the first American physician to be selected as an astronaut and sent to outer space by NASA. Born 19 February 1932, Dr Kerwin was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in 1965 and served as science pilot for the Skylab 2 mission from May to June in 1973.

Dr Kerwin attended the United States Navy School of Aviation Medicine at Pensacola, Florida, becoming a naval flight surgeon in December 1958. He earned his pilot wings at Beeville, Texas, in 1962. From 1984-1987, he served as Director, Space and Life Sciences, Johnson Space Center. Upon retiring from NASA in 1987, he took a job with Lockheed Martin. According to his NASA bio1, he has logged 4,500 hours flying time and 3 hours 23 minutes of Extra-vehicular activity in space. Although officially retired, Dr Kerwin remains an active voice in a variety of aerospace organizations.

Medical Exams at Zero-Gravity

1. NASA biography, Joseph Peter Kerwin, M.D.