Jeffrey Hoffman (SHS 1962)

Astronaut, now lecturer at MIT

Jeffrey Hoffman was bound to be an astronaut.  As a small child he was captivated by the Hayden Planetarium in New York.  At Amherst College he received a BA degree summa cum laude in Astronomy.  His original research was in high-energy astrophysics.  His doctoral work at Harvard University was on the design, construction and flight of a gamma ray telescope.

Dr. Hoffman became an astronaut in 1979. Six years later, he made his first space flight as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery.  He made his second flight on the Space Shuttle Columbia.  On this flight he made the first STS contingency spacewalk.

     By his third flight in 1992, he was payload commander and carried out the first test flight of the Tethered Satellite System. 

     Hoffman's fifth and final flight took place in 1996.  The flight demonstrated the ability of the Tethered Satellite System to produce electricity.  With the completion of this flight, Hoffman had logged 1,211 hours and 21.5 million miles in space.   

     In July 1997, Hoffman left the astronaut program and became the European representative of NASA in Paris.  Since 2001, he has been a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.