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Leland Melvin

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Information about Leland Melvin

Profile image of Leland Melvin

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Astronaut

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Favorite Quote:
Believe in yourself. Don't limit yourself. The sky is the limit.

Birthplace

Born:
2/15/1964
Birth Location:
Lynchburg, Virginia

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Astronaut

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Favorite Quote:
Believe in yourself. Don't limit yourself. The sky is the limit.

Birthplace

Born:
2/15/1964
Birth Location:
Lynchburg
See how Leland Melvin is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Aerospace engineer Leland D. Melvin was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on February 15, 1964 to Deems and Grace Melvin. Upon graduating from Heritage High School in 1982, Melvin was awarded a football scholarship to attend the University of Richmond. He earned his B.A. degree in chemistry from the University of Richmond in 1986, and his M.S. degree in materials science engineering from the University of Virginia in 1991.

From 1982 to 1985, Melvin was a wide receiver on the University of Richmond football team, where he became the all-time reception leader and was an Associated Press All-America selection in 1984 and 1985. The Detroit Lions selected Melvin in the eleventh round of the 1986 National Football League player draft. Several months later, he suffered a hamstring injury and was unable to fully recover. Melvin’s NASA career began in 1989 in the Fiber Optic Sensors group of the Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch at NASA Langley Research Center, where he conducted research in the area of physical measurements for the development of advanced instrumentation for nondestructive evaluation. In 1994, Melvin was selected to lead the vehicle health monitoring team for the cooperative Lockheed/NASA X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle program.

In 1998, Melvin was selected into the NASA Astronaut Corps. He flew into space twice on the
STS-122 in 2008 and STS-129 in 2009. Both missions were aboard the orbiter Atlantis. Melvin has logged more than 565 hours in space. Additionally, Melvin has served the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch and the Robotics Branch of the Astronaut Office. In 2010, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden selected Melvin as the associate administrator for education. In this position, Melvin travels throughout the U.S. engaging thousands of students and teachers in the excitement of space exploration and inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Melvin was also selected to serve on the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education and is the U.S. representative on the International Space Education Board.

Melvin is a member of the American Chemical Society and the Society for Experimental Mechanics. He also holds honorary doctorates from Centre College, St Paul's College and Campbellsville University.

Leland D. Melvin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 15, 2013.

See how Leland Melvin is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leland Melvin's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his mother's educational background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about his aunt
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leland Melvin talks about his father's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leland Melvin talks about his father's service in World War II
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leland Melvin describes his father's educational background and involvement in sports
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leland Melvin talks about his father's teaching experience
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin describes his parents' personalities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin describes his family growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin talks about the origin of his name
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin describes his childhood neighborhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leland Melvin describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leland Melvin describes himself as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leland Melvin talks about his early interest in science, space, and photography
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leland Melvin describes his family camping trips
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Leland Melvin describes his early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin describes a lesson learned on the football field
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin talks about studying math in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin describes his decision to study chemistry at the University of Richmond
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his college research
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin talks about being drafted by the Detroit Lions
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about training with the Detroit Lions
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leland Melvin talks about the Dallas Cowboys and the University of Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin talks about his musical background
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin talks about football and head trauma
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin talks about his transition to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his graduate research
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin describes his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about becoming an astronaut
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leland Melvin describes his experience in Russia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leland Melvin talks about the International Space Station
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin talks about his hearing and his work with the Educator Astronaut Program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin describes his astronaut training
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin describes his space flights - part one
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his space flights - part two
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin talks about the effects of space travel on the body
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about other crew members during his space flights
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin talks about what he has learned from his space flights
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin describes his work in the Office of Education
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin discusses his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin talks about his aspirations to have a family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about his legacy and how he would like to be remembered