Andy Thomas has worked for NASA as a mission specialist on many space shuttle flight crews.
Born in Adelaide in 1951, he attended the University of Adelaide where he completed a bachelor of engineering degree in mechanical engineering with First Class Honours and went on to receive an honorary doctorate. The university has also created a scholarship in his name.
Thomas began his career as a research scientist and soon became the manager of Lockheed's Flight Science Department. In 1992, after his work as the leader of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, NASA selected Thomas for work in the Johnson Space Center.
In 1996, Thomas flew on the spaceship Endeavour and has since completed four flights in space, spending a total of 177 days out of Earth's atmosphere. He is currently leading attempts to develop systems to be used to go into deep space.
Thomas is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia. He has also been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2000 for his services to science and technology and his work as an astronaut, and also received the Centenary Medal for his service in astronautics and space exploration in 2001.
This person has made the short list for the title National Living Treasure, this title is conferred when someone accomplishes an outstanding achievement, swelling the country’s consciousness with admiration, pride and acknowledgement... be they scientists or sports stars; actors, artists or Indigenous activists; politicians, philanthropists or explorers, The National Trust’s 2012 nominees are a true cross section of our country’s finest.
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