Originally from Mobile, AL, Kay also counts
Merritt Island, FL as her home town. She attended school in Mobile before receiving an appointment to the US Naval Academy.
Kay Hire is a United States Navy Captain (retired) and twice flown NASA Astronaut
(retired). She earned a bachelor of science degree from the U. S. Naval Academy,
graduating in 1981 with the second class to include women. After completing Naval
Flight Officer training, her adventures began by flying naval oceanographic research
missions to 25 countries. In 1989 Kay started work at NASA Kennedy Space Center as a
space shuttle engineer while she continued to serve in the Navy Reserve. Once United
States combat exclusion laws were modified in 1993, Kay became the first U.S. woman
assigned to a military combat position, flying P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. Two years
later, she reported to NASA Johnson Space Center for astronaut training. Kay flew in
space as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions. During the STS-90 Neurolab
mission, she served as both researcher and test subject in the SpaceLab, 170 miles
above the earth. Kay installed the 7-windowed cupola onto the International Space
Station while flying 25 times the speed of sound, as part of the STS-130 construction
mission. She traveled more than of 12 million miles in space, orbiting the earth 473
times. As the 34 th woman to fly in space, Kay is among only 565 total space travelers.
A veteran of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, Kay served in multiple leadership
positions for a total of 35 years active and reserve U. S. Navy duty. She holds a master of
science degree from the Florida Institute of Technology, is a Syracuse University
National Security Management Fellow, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Seminar XXI (Foreign Policy International Relations and the National Interest) Fellow.
She flew more than 3400 hours in various aircraft, and 711 hours in space.
As founder and president of Astra Portolan Corporation, Kay now guides students and corporate
managers to seize emerging opportunities, while she shares her experiences as an
astronaut and naval leader.