Former NASA astronaut, Jay Apt, will appear at a special public appearance July 14 at 3 p.m. at Stone Memorial High School. Apt will speak in the auditorium and will discuss his space flights and scientific activities while with the space agency. 

Apt has an impressive background in space technologies. Before entering the astronaut corps, he was involved in developing techniques for servicing the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gamma Ray Observatory. His Crossville appearance will include slides and video segments from his four space shuttle flights and two spacewalks.

Apt was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 1985 and qualified as an astronaut in July 1986. Prior to his flight experience, he was involved in techniques for NASA’s space station and was a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) for shuttle flights which is the voice link between the flight crew and the Mission Control Center in Houston. He was also a supervisor of astronaut training in the astronaut office.

Apt was a crew member aboard the  Atlantis Space Shuttle on April 5, 1991. During the STS-37 mission, the crew deployed the Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) spacecraft into orbit. Apt and crew mate Jerry Ross performed an unscheduled spacewalk (EVA). They manually deployed the observatory’s large radio antenna after remotely controlled motors failed to operate. The next day, the pair conducted the first scheduled spacewalk in five and a half years. During their second EVA, Apt and Ross tested concepts for getting around on large space structures. Concepts for radiating heat from the shuttle were also tested. Apt operated an amateur radio station and took over 4,000 photographs of the Earth. 

Apt’s next flight came aboard shuttle Endeavor (STS-47). The eight day flight was in cooperation with the Japanese space program. After launch on September 12, 1992, the crew participated in a variety of life science and material processing experiments in space. During the relatively brief mission, Apt was responsible for operating the orbiter controls. After completing 126 Earth orbits, the Endeavor landed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on September 20, 1992. 

He flew again on April 9, 1994, aboard Endeavor (STS-59) as the crew operated the Space Radar Laboratory. The mission objective was to observe the land surface and oceans of the Earth with three imaging radar systems and to map pollution in the lower atmosphere. Endeavor was put through the largest series of maneuvers in shuttle history to point the radar precisely at hundreds of ecology, geology and oceanography sites. Land-based research scientists were provided the equivalent of 26,000 encyclopedia volumes of data. The shuttle completed 183 orbits of the Earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California on April 20, 1994. 

His last shuttle flight was aboard the Atlantis (STS-79) with launch on September 16, 1996. At an altitude of 240 miles, Atlantis docked with the Russian Mir Space Station and exchanged four tons of supplies and equipment. U.S. astronauts John Blaha and Shannon Lucid traded places. Lucid had been on the Mir station for a record six month stay. The historic mission of international cooperation ended on September 26, 1996, when the Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Center. 

Apt logged over 847 hours in space. 10 hours and 49 minutes of that time was spent on two spacewalks. 

Prior to his astronaut experience, Apt was employed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Presently, he is a professor at Carnegie University in Pittsburgh, PA.