photo of Michael Baker

Captain, United States Navy (retired); Advisor to Rhodium Scientific LLC.; Inspirational Speaker

B.S. ASE 1975, The University of Texas at Austin

Michael Baker currently serves as an advisor to Rhodium Scientific, LLC, a small BioTech company that specializes in helping organizations and scientists get their payloads to orbit onboard the International Space Station.

Born in Memphis, TN, Baker considers Lemoore, CA his hometown. After graduating from The University of Texas in 1975 with a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering, Baker was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and earned his Wings of Gold in 1977. He was assigned to Attack Squadron 56, on the USS Midway, homeported in Japan, and flew the A-7E Corsair. He attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) in 1981 and was then assigned to the Carrier Suitability Branch of the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate. Baker has served as an instructor at both USNTPS and the Empire Test Pilots School in England. He has logged over 5,400 hours flying time in 50 different types of airplanes and has over 300 carrier landings.

Baker was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1985 and is a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions. He served as the pilot on STS-43 Atlantis (1991) and STS-52 Endeavor (1992). He then served as the commander on STS-68 Endeavor (1994) and STS-81 Atlantis (1997). He held numerous positions at NASA between space missions including CAPCOM on eleven space shuttle missions, the assistant director of NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) for Human Space Flight Programs, Russia, and as the International Space Station program manager for International Operations.

Baker left NASA in 2017 and served as the president and CEO of RD AMROSS, a US/Russia joint venture between a Russian rocket engine manufacturer, Energomash, and a U.S. jet engine manufacturer, Pratt and Whitney, that sold the RD-180 rocket engine to United Launch Alliance for use on the first stage of the Atlas V rocket. He retired from that position in 2019.

Baker has received numerous awards including: the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Navy Unit Commendation, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Battle "E" Award, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, four NASA Space Flight Medals, three Navy Expeditionary Medals, the National Defense Medal, two Sea Service Awards, and the Overseas Service Award.

Baker has served on UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering External Advisory Board and was named a 1993 Outstanding Young Texas Ex. He lives in Houston, TX with his wife, Margarita.