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Andy Thomas
Title : Andy Thomas Andy Thomas
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Creator : NASA, photographer
Date of creation : ca. 1996
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of NASA. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from NASA and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Official NASA portrait of astronaut Andy Thomas.

Born in Adelaide in 1951, Andy Thomas was awarded a degree and doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Adelaide before moving to the United States of America to pursue a career in the aviation industry. He was selected for NASA training in 1992, and qualified for space travel in 1993.

He has been involved in four space missions. His first mission was a 10 day flight on Endeavour in May 1996. After training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia, he served as Flight Engineer 2 aboard the Russian space station Mir for 141 days, from January to June 1998. The astronauts on Mir endured lengthy isolation, fire, and a collision with another spacecraft.

Thomas also took part in a 13 day mission on Discovery in March 2001; and a two week space flight on space shuttle Discovery throughout July and August 2005. During the 2001 mission, he completed his first space walk (Extra-vehicular Activity or EVA), while Discovery was docked to the International Space Station. With Paul Richards, Thomas performed an EVA of 6.5 hours to install equipment and make repairs.

For his 2005 mission, Thomas wanted to have something from his home state traveling with him. An 1851 'Tallis' map from the State Library of South Australia was forwarded to him in Houston, and taken on the flight.

Thomas has received a number of honours and awards, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal; the Yuri Gagarin Medal; the Order of Friendship from Russia and Kazakhstan; and 1998 South Australian of the Year. He is Australia's first career astronaut, and the first Australian to walk in space.

In 2005, Andy Thomas took a State Library collection item to accompany him on his last space flight. The map entitled Part of South Australia, published by John Tallis & Co. shows counties and mining districts and is adorned with five small vignettes.

Details of the significance of the item and handling isntructions were sent to Dr Thomas along with the map.

Related names :

Thomas, Andrew, 1951-

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (U.S.)

Further reading :
'Andy's return to Earth', Adelaidean, vol. 7, no. 9 (8 June 1998), p. 4

Ellis, David. 'From space station Mir, with love', Adelaidean, vol. 7, no. 1 (16 February 1998), p. 1

Wallace, Alan. 'Dr Andrew Thomas: Adelaide's own astronaut', Geonews, vol. 3, no. 5 (November/December 1996), p. 7-8

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