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Acaba, Joseph Michael
Credit: www.spacefacts.de
American geologist mission specialist astronaut 2004-on.

Status: Active 2004-on. Born: 1967-05-17. Spaceflights: 3 . Total time in space: 306.02 days. Birth Place: California.

Grew up in Anaheim, California. Educated UCSB; Arizona.

Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:JOSEPH M. ACABA
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA:  Born in 1967 in Inglewood, California, and raised in Anaheim, California, where his parents, Ralph and Elsie, still reside.  Enjoys outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, biking, kayaking and scuba diving. 

EDUCATION:  Esperanza High School, Anaheim, California, 1985; Bachelor of Science in Geology, University of California - Santa Barbara, 1990; Master of Science in Geology, University of Arizona, 1992

ORGANIZATIONS:  International Technology Education Association, Florida Association of Science Teachers, Association of Space Explorers

EXPERIENCE:  United States Marine Corps, Reserves.  Worked as a hydro-geologist in Los Angeles, California, primarily on Superfund sites, and was involved in the assessment and remediation of groundwater contaminants.  Spent two years in the United States Peace Corps as an Environmental Education Awareness Promoter in the Dominican Republic.  Manager of the Caribbean Marine Research Center at Lee Stocking Island in the Exumas, Bahamas.  Taught one year of high school science at Melbourne High School, Florida, and four years of middle school math and science at Dunnellon Middle School, Florida.

NASA EXPERIENCE:  Selected as a mission specialist by NASA in May 2004.  In February 2006, he completed astronaut candidate training that included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.  Upon completion of his training, Acaba was assigned to the Hardware Integration Team in the Space Station Branch, working technical issues with European Space Agency (ESA) hardware.  He was also a member of the Space Shuttle Branch, supporting shuttle launch and landing preparations at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. 

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE:  STS-119 Discovery (March 15 to March 28, 2009) was the 125th shuttle flight, the 36th flight of Discovery and the 28th shuttle flight to the International Space Station.  The primary objective of this flight was to deliver the final pair of power-generating solar array wings and truss element to the International Space Station.  Acaba accumulated 12 hours and 57 minutes of extravehicular activity (EVA) in two spacewalks.  STS-119 returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center, having traveled 202 orbits and 5.3 million statute miles in 12 days, 19 hours and 29 minutes.

Expedition 31/32 launched at 9:01 a.m. Baikonur time on May 15, 2012, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Acaba landed their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 8:52 a.m. Kazakhstan time on September 17, 2012.  Acaba spent 123 days aboard the station as a Flight Engineer of the Expedition 31 and 32 crews.  Acaba supported the arrival of the first commercial resupply spacecraft, SpaceX's Dragon, in late May; an undocking, re-docking and final undocking demonstration of the Russian International Space Station Progress 47 cargo ship; the first single-day launch-to-docking demonstration of Progress 48 and the arrival and departure of the third Japanese cargo ship, HTV3.  Acaba served as intra-vehicular crew member for two U.S.-based spacewalks, helping to restore a critical power unit and exchange a faulty camera on the station's robotic arm.  Acaba also participated in numerous scientific research experiments and performed regular maintenance and operational tasks aboard the orbiting complex.  

Acaba has logged a total of 138 days in space during two missions.



Official NASA Biography - May 2004

Joe Acaba, Mission Specialist-Educator

AGE: 36

BORN: Inglewood, California

EDUCATION: BS, Geology, University of California-Santa Barbara, 1990; MS, Geology, Universtiy of Arizona, 1992

CURRENT JOB: Math and Science Teacher, Dunnellon Middle School, Dunnelon, Florida

QUICK FACT: Volunteered for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic

QUOTE: "When I found out I'd been chosen for astronaut training, I cut my long hair. It's made me the butt of a lot of jokes at school."

Even if he had not told them about his big news, Joe Acaba's students in Dunnellon, Fla. would have known something was up.

"When I found out I'd been chosen for astronaut training, I cut my long hair," Acaba says. "It's made me the butt of a lot of jokes at school."

Image left: 2004 Astronaut Candidate Joe Acaba. Click for High Resolution Image Photo credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center.

Dunnellon Middle School, where Acaba teaches 7th and 8th grade science and math, has been abuzz since he got word of his new mission. When he reports to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, he will be one of three educator astronaut candidates, training right alongside pilots, engineers, and researchers to be fully-trained, permanent members of the astronaut corps.

"I've always been intrigued by space travel," Acaba says. "My parents started me at a young age with 8mm films of the first man on the moon."

"Both of my parents were born in Puerto Rico. My dad moved to the States when he was about 10 and my mother moved when she was about 18. My dad is my hero. He came to the States with very little and worked hard to make sure we had what we needed," Acaba says. "He instilled a real work ethic in me."

That work ethic has helped Acaba earn two degrees in geology. He earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master's degree from the University of Arizona. After working as a hydrogeologist -- someone who studies water that is under ground -- Acaba spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, teaching the people about the environment. "Once I did that, I knew that education was what I wanted to do. The only job that could take me away from teaching is being an astronaut," he says. "Being an educator astronaut is the best of both worlds."

Acaba, 36, has been an educator for the past five years. He was born in Inglewood, California and raised in Anaheim along with two older brothers and a younger sister. He now has three children of his own. He says that as an educator astronaut, he hopes to reach out to minority students.

A science-fiction buff, Acaba is thrilled by the new Vision for Space Exploration and NASA's goals of returning humans to the moon and eventually continuing on to Mars. "It's something that's only been written about in books, but it's going to become a reality soon.

"As an educator, I think the most important thing for me is to fulfill the goal of inspiring the next generation. Motivating kids to learn is as important as the subject matter," he says.

More at: Acaba.

Family: Astronaut. Country: USA. Flights: STS-119, Soyuz TMA-04M, Soyuz TMA-22, Soyuz MS-06. Bibliography: 12, 5085.

1967 May 17 - .
2004 May 6 - .
2009 March 15 - . 23:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle.
2009 March 21 - .
2009 March 23 - .
2011 November 14 - . 04:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-FG.
2012 May 15 - . 03:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-FG.
2017 September 12 - . 21:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-FG.
2017 October 20 - .

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