Paul LockhartPaul S. Lockhart was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF in 1981. Upon graduation from pilot training in 1983, he was assigned to the 49th Fighter Interceptor Squadron flying T-33s. In 1986, he transitioned to the F-4 and flew operationally with U.S. Air Forces, Europe (in Germany) from 1987-1990 as an instructor pilot for F-4 and F-16 aircrew in the tactics of surface-to-air missile suppression. In 1991 he reported to Edwards Air Force Base for year-long training as a test pilot in high performance military aircraft.

Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Test Wing at the Air Force Developmental Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, performing weapons testing for the F-16 aircraft. During his 4-1/2 year tour at Eglin, he was selected as the Operations Officer for the 39th Flight Test Squadron. Much of America’s state-of-the-art weaponry was first tested under his guidance at the 39th Flight Test Squadron.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Lockhart reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. After completion of initial astronaut training, Lockhart was assigned to the Astronaut Office Spacecraft Systems/Operations Branch where he worked various technical issues including the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) and redesign of the orbiter’s flight display. A veteran of two space flights, STS-111 (June 2002) and STS-113 (November 2002), Lockhart has logged 26 days, 39 minutes, and 82 seconds in space. Lockhart left NASA in January 2005 and returned to the Air Force. Post the Columbia accident, Col Lockhart attended the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), London, England, as an exchange officer in fulfillment of Air War College. The Ministry of Defence’s premier institution for grooming senior leaders in the UK military and civil fields, Col. Lockhart completed a year of Studies in International Conflict Resolution at RCDS with 84 other fellow members representing 44 nations from around the world.

After graduation, he was assigned to the Air Staff, Headquarters USAF, Pentagon, where he has held the position of Director, Future Capabilities at the Air Forces Directorate of Studies and Analysis, Assessments, and Lessons Learned (HQAF/A9). Paul Lockhart retired from the Air Force in March 2007 and currently serves as Special Assistant, Program Management, Explorations Systems Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. and as Acting Division Director, Constellation Systems Division. 

He has logged over 5,000 hours in more than 30 different aircraft and the Space Shuttle.

Article courtesy NASA

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