Michael López-Alegría (born May 30, 1958) is a Spanish-American astronaut; a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and one International Space Station mission. He is known for having performed ten spacewalks so far in his career, presently holding the second longest all-time EVA duration record and having the second longest spaceflight of any American at the length of 215 days; this time was spent on board the ISS from September 18, 2006 to April 21, 2007.


López-Alegría was born in Madrid, Spain and raised in Mission Viejo, California. López-Alegría joined the United States Navy, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering in 1980 from the United States Naval Academy, and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1988 from the Naval Postgraduate School. Designated a Naval Aviator in 1981, his fleet experience in the Navy was at Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 2 (VQ-2) in Rota, Spain, and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. A natural leader, he was the top Lieutenant of 60 in the second largest aviation wardroom in the Navy (105 officers). He made many connections with Spanish military and civilian personnel while in Spain during his first tour that have made him very popular and well known in Spanish media. He was one of the few EP-3E pilots in the squadron to get flying time in the EA-3B Skywarrior. He is a graduate of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security. He is fluent in English, Spanish, French, and Russian. His son Nicolas starred alongside López-Alegría in 2006 in Mira La Luna (directed by Eduard Bosch). A second documentary, directed by Manuel Huerga, Son And Moon, was released in Spanish theaters in 2009 featuring astronauts Mikhail Tyurin, Sunita Williams, and himself.

Mission recordEdit

Lopez-Alegria after landing

López-Alegría after landing of Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft in Kazakhstan.

López-Alegría's first space mission was STS-73 in 1995; for several years afterwards he led NASA's International Space Station (ISS) Crew Operations office before returning to space aboard STS-92 in 2000 and STS-113 in 2002. During flight STS-92, he tested the SAFER jet backpack with fellow astronaut Jeff Wisoff, flying up to 50 feet from the spacecraft.[1]

López-Alegría served as an aquanaut on the first NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) crew aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory in October 2001.[2]

On September 20, 2006 López-Alegría docked with the ISS as Commander of Expedition 14, having taken off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on September 18, onboard Soyuz TMA-9. On Expedition 14, he performed five spacewalks. On April 21, 2007 he undocked from the ISS and returned to Earth.

López-Alegría holds the all time American record for number of EVAs (10) and total EVA duration (67 hours and 40 minutes). The previous record holder, Jerry L. Ross had a total of 9 EVAs with a duration of 58 hours and 18 minutes. López-Alegría is the second most experienced spacewalker overall, behind Russia's Anatoly Solovyev. On April 2, 2007, López-Alegría set the record for the longest space mission of any American astronaut. When he landed on April 21, his time in space on a single mission was 215 days.[3] (The longest space mission on record is that of Valeriy Polyakov, who spent 437 days aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1994 and 1995.)

Promotional activities and current assignmentEdit

On October 19, 2007, López-Alegría visited his old high school Mission Viejo High School, where he told the students about his space travel expedition.

List of EVAsEdit

Lopez-Alegria EVA

López-Alegría conducting EVA during Expedition 14.

  • 2000-10-16 7:07 hours STS-92, EVA 2
  • 2000-10-18 6:56 hours STS-92, EVA 4
  • 2002-11-26 6:45 hours STS-113, EVA 1
  • 2002-11-28 6:10 hours STS-113, EVA 2
  • 2002-11-30 7:00 hours STS-113, EVA 3
  • 2006-11-22 7:39 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 1
  • 2007-01-31 7:55 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 2
  • 2007-02-04 7:11 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 3
  • 2007-02-07 6:39 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 4
  • 2007-02-22 6:18 hours ISS Expedition 14, EVA 5

At the end of his mission, he commanded the longest flight by a Soyuz spacecraft, making Expedition 14 the longest expedition thus far. López-Alegría broke the record for longest spaceflight by an American astronaut.[4]


López-Alegría retired from NASA on March 12, 2012[5] and served as the President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation through the end of 2014. López-Alegría is now an independent consultant to traditional and commercial space companies, serves on several advisory boards and committees to public and private organizations, and is engaged in public speaking domestically and internationally. He is based in Washington, DC.

Awards and decorationsEdit

Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with one award star
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
NASA Space Flight Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Medal For Merit in an Space Exploration (Russia 2010) ribbon.svg Medal "For Merit in Space Exploration"

See alsoEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

External linksEdit

Template:Space program of Spain

Preceded by
Pavel Vinogradov
ISS Expedition Commander
July 6, 2006 to April 21, 2007
Succeeded by
Fyodor Yurchikhin
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