Kathryn D. Sullivan
Kathryn D. Sullivan
Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan
October 3, 1951
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Time in space
|22 days 04 hours 49 minutes|
|Selection||1978 NASA Group|
Total EVA time
|3 hours 29 minutes|
|Missions||STS-41-G, STS-31, STS-45|
March 1, 2013 – January 20, 2017
Acting: March 1, 2013 – March 6, 2014
|Preceded by||Jane Lubchenco|
|Succeeded by||Benjamin Friedman (acting)|
|Thesis||The Structure and Evolution of the Newfoundland Basin, Offshore Eastern Canada (1978)|
|Doctoral advisor||Michael John Keen|
A graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz, in the United States, and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada—where she earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in geology in 1978—Sullivan was selected as one of the six women among the 35 astronaut candidate in NASA Astronaut Group 8, the first group to include women. During her training, she became the first woman to be certified to wear a United States Air Force pressure suit, and on July 1, 1979, she set an unofficial sustained American aviation altitude record for women. During her first mission, STS-41-G, Sullivan performed the first extra-vehicular activity (EVA) by an American woman. On her second, STS-31, she helped deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. On the third, STS-45, she served as Payload Commander on the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASA's Mission to Planet Earth.
Sullivan was Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) after being confirmed by the US Senate on March 6, 2014. Her tenure ended on January 20, 2017, after which she was designated as the 2017 Charles A. Lindbergh Chair of Aerospace History at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, and also served as a Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. On June 7, 2020, Sullivan became the first woman to dive into the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth's oceans. In September 2021, President Joe Biden appointed her to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.