Gregory Errol Chamitoff[pronunciation?] (born 6 August 1962 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada) is an engineer and NASA astronaut. He was assigned to Expedition 17 and flew to the International Space Station on STS-124, launching 31 May 2008. He was in space 198 days, joining Expedition 18 after Expedition 17 left the station, and returned to Earth 30 November 2008 on STS-126. Chamitoff served as a mission specialist on the STS-134 mission, which was the last flight of Endeavour and delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.


Chamitoff was born 6 August 1962 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to a Jewish family of Russian origin[3] and is married to Alison Chantal Caviness, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. They have two children, Natasha and Dimitri.

On his father's side of the family, he is also related to the owners of the famous Fairmount bagel establishment in Montreal, from which Chamitoff brought bagels into space on his first mission into orbit.

Chamitoff's recreational interests include scuba diving, backpacking, flying, skiing, racquetball, Aikido, juggling, magic and guitar. He is a certified divemaster and instrument rated pilot. Chamitoff also enjoys chess and has played games with people on earth while living in the ISS.[4]

His education includes:


As an undergraduate student at Cal Poly, Chamitoff taught lab courses in circuit design and worked summer internships at Four Phase Systems, Atari Computers, Northern Telecom, and IBM. He developed a self-guided robot for his undergraduate thesis project. While at MIT and Draper Labs (1985–1992), Chamitoff worked on several NASA projects. He performed stability analyses for the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope, designed flight control upgrades for the Space Shuttle autopilot, and worked on the attitude control system for Space Station Freedom. His doctoral thesis developed a new approach for robust intelligent flight control of hypersonic vehicles. From 1993 to 1995, Chamitoff was a visiting professor at the University of Sydney, Australia, where he led a research group in the development of autonomous flight vehicles, and taught courses in flight dynamics and control. He has published numerous papers on aircraft and spacecraft guidance and control, trajectory optimization, and Mars mission design. Dr Chamitoff is currently the Lawrence Hargrave Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is also Professor of Engineering Practice in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University.

NASA career

Gregory Chamitoff on the International Space Station (ISS), early November 2008.

In 1995, Chamitoff joined the Motion Control Systems Group in the Mission Operations Directorate at the Johnson Space Center, where he developed software applications for spacecraft attitude control monitoring, prediction, analysis, and maneuver optimization.

Selected by NASA for the Astronaut Class of 1998, Chamitoff started training in August 1998 and qualified for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist in 2000. Since then, Chamitoff has worked in the Space Station Robotics branch, been the lead CAPCOM for ISS Expedition 9, acted as Crew Support Astronaut for ISS Expedition 6, and helped develop onboard procedures and displays for Space Station system operations.

In July 2002, Chamitoff was a crew-member on the Aquarius undersea research habitat for 9 days as part of the NEEMO 3 mission (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations).[5]

He served as the backup Expedition 15/16 Flight Engineer 2 and STS-117/STS-120 Mission Specialist 5 for Clayton Anderson.

Chamitoff served on a long duration mission to the International Space Station. He launched as a Mission Specialist on board Space Shuttle mission STS-124. He was Flight Engineer 2 and Science Officer on Expedition 17. He returned home as a Mission Specialist on STS-126, completing a tour that lasted six months. As part of his personal allowance, Chamitoff brought the first bagels into space, 3 bags (18 sesame seed bagels) of Fairmount Bagels with him, from his cousin's bagel bakery.[6][7]

While Richard Garriott was aboard the ISS at the beginning of Expedition 18, Chamitoff and Garriott filmed the first magic show in space, and along with Yury Lonchakov, Michael Fincke and Richard Garriott, filmed the first science-fiction movie made in space, "Apogee of Fear".

Chamitoff during the final spacewalk of the STS-134 mission.

Chamitoff served as a mission specialist on STS-134, the penultimate Space Shuttle mission, during which he made two spacewalks.[8]

Awards and honors

California Astronaut Hall of Fame, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, Honored Alumnus CalPoly, AIAA Associate Fellow; AIAA Technical Excellence Award; NASA Silver Snoopy award; NASA/USA Space Flight Awareness Award; C.S. Draper Laboratory Graduate Fellowship; IEEE Graduate Fellowship; Tau Beta Pi Honor Society Fellowship; Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society; Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society; Applied Magnetics Scholarships; Academic Excellence Award; Most Outstanding Senior Award; Degree of Excellence and California Statewide Speech Finalist; Eagle Scout.[9]


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

  1. ^ The Canadian Jewish News - Former Montrealer heading into space
  2. ^ "Shuttle lifts off with Montreal-born astronaut aboard". CBC News. 31 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "Preflight Interview: Gregory Chamitoff". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. my whole family’s from Montreal, although a generation before that they’re from Russia 
  4. ^ "Chess in Space: Houston, we have a checkmate". ChessBase. August 29, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ NASA (April 21, 2011). "Life Sciences Data Archive : Experiment". NASA. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ Montreal-born astronaut brings bagels into space Sun. Jun. 1 2008 7:29 PM ET ; CTV National News - 1 June 2008 - 11pm TV newscast
  7. ^ The Gazette (Montreal), Here's proof: Montreal bagels are out of this world, IRWIN BLOCK, Tuesday June 3, 2008, Section A, Page A2
  8. ^ NASA (May 2011). "STS-134 Mission Summary" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Astronauts and the BSA" (PDF). Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 2010-06-07.