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James Buchli posing in NASA uniform

James Buchli

Operations and Utilization Manager for Space Station, Boeing Defense and Space Group

Retired United States Marine Corps Colonel James Buchli dedicated 25 years to military service following his 1967 graduation from the United States Naval Academy. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering systems from UWF in 1975 and became a NASA astronaut in 1979. In 1992, Buchli retired from the Marine Corps and the NASA Astronaut Office and spent the next 25 years working with Boeing Defense Space Group. He currently serves as the operations and utilization manager for Space Station, Boeing Defense and Space Group in Houston, Texas.

Congratulations on being named a 2019 inductee into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex! How does it feel to be honored in this way?

First, I am very humbled to have been given this honor. Many who have been honored before me are true giants in the astronaut family and to join their ranks is rewarding and quite exciting for me and my family. I also feel that this represents every one of the men and women who have and continue to work in the human space programs. Nothing is done without teamwork!

How did your education at UWF help you achieve your career goals?

Without a doubt, the master’s degree I received from UWF made a huge difference in the screening and selection process. It also provided a very strong education foundation for me to succeed in the aerospace community. My education from UWF helped greatly.

What advice would you give to students or alumni seeking to become a NASA astronaut?

Be persistent! Prepare yourself as best you can with education and experience and then let people know what your goals are and what you wish to attain. You will be surprised how many people along the way are there to help you.