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Janice E. Voss, American astronaut, died from breast cancer she was 55

Janice Elaine Voss ( was an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She flew in space five times, jointly holding the record for American women.[2] Voss died on February 6, 2012, from breast cancer.[3][4]

(October 8, 1956 – February 6, 2012)


Voss graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, in 1972.[5] She
earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Purdue University while working on a co-op at the Johnson Space Center. She earned an S.M. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1977. After studying space physics at Rice University from 1977 to 1978, she went on to earn a doctorate in aeronautics/astronautics from MIT in 1987.


Voss was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1990 and flew as a mission specialist on missions STS-57 (1993), STS-63 (1995), STS-83 (1997), STS-94 (1997) and STS-99 (2000).[6][7] All of her flights included another female astronaut as well.[8]

During her career as an astronaut, she participated in the first Shuttle rendezvous with the Mir space station
on STS-63: it flew around the station, testing communications and
inflight manoeuvres for later missions, but did not actually dock. As an
STS-99 crew member on the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission,
she and her fellow crew members worked continuously in shifts to
produce what was at the time the most accurate digital topographical map
of the Earth.[3]

From October 2004 to November 2007, she was Science Director for NASA’s Kepler Space Observatory, an Earth-orbiting satellite designed to find Earth-like extrasolar planets
in nearby solar systems. It was launched in March 2009 and was still
operational at the time of her death at age 55 from breast cancer.

At the Astronaut Office Station Branch, she served as the Payloads Lead. She also worked for Orbital Sciences Corporation in flight operations support.[6]

To see more of who died in 2012 click here

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