“The pioneering spirit we see in every astronaut is truly exemplified by this year’s inductees,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Janet Kavandi and James Buchli represent the best of America’s astronauts, and I congratulate them for achieving this prestigious honor. Each has contributed greatly to the NASA mission, and their efforts have helped lay the groundwork for where we are today — including Janet’s leadership directing Glenn’s Moon to Mars work — as we chart a course for a return of American astronauts to the lunar surface in five years, and eventually on to Mars.”
Bob Cabana, director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and a 2008 inductee, was among the speakers at the ceremony, which took place Saturday at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and now brings the total number of hall of fame space explorers to 99.
Kavandi was a member of NASA’s 15th class of astronaut candidates, selected in 1994. She is a veteran of three space shuttle missions, serving as a mission specialist on STS-91 in 1998, STS-99 in 2000, and STS-104 in 2001. She has logged more than 33 days in space, traveling more than 13.1 million miles in 535 Earth orbits.
During her time in the NASA Astronaut Office, Kavandi supported International Space Station payload integration, capsule communications and robotics, and served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office. She became the director of Glenn in 2016.
Buchli was part of NASA’s 1978 astronaut candidate class. He was a member of the space shuttle support crew for STS-1 and STS-2, both in 1981, and served as on-orbit capsule communicator for STS-2. A veteran of four space flights, Buchli has orbited Earth 319 times, traveling 7.74 million miles over a span of more than 20 days. He served as a mission specialist on STS-51C in 1985, STS-61A in 1985, STS-29 in 1989, and STS-48 in 1991. From March 1989 until May 1992, he also served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation selects astronauts for induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which was founded more than 30 years ago by the six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts as a venue where space travelers could be remembered and honored.