Jerry L. Ross (b. Jan. 20, 1948, Crown Point, IN) is a retred Air Force officer and astronaut. He received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1970 and 1972, respectively. Ross entered active duty with the Air Force in 1972 and graduated from the United States Air Force Test Pilot School’s Flight Test Engineer Course in 1976; he has flown in 21 different types of aircraft, holds a private pilot’s license and has logged more than 4,100 flying hours.
Ross was selected to be an astronaut in May 1980. A veteran of seven space flights, Ross logged more than 1,393 hours in space, including 58 hours and 18 minutes of Extravehicular Activity on nine spacewalks. He was the first human to be launched into space seven times. These seven flights comprise a world record that Ross now shares with one other NASA astronaut. Both his number of and time on spacewalks are all time second highest among NASA astronauts.
He retired from the Air Force on March 31, 2000 and from NASA in January 2012. He is one of only three astronauts to serve throughout the Space Shuttle program, from the first launch in 1981 to the last in 2011. In addition to tying for the most number of launches with seven, Ross ranks third in the world for his nine spacewalks. He was among the first astronauts to enter the International Space Station in orbit, played a key role in recovering pieces of the Columbia Shuttle after its tragic accident, and helped develop facilities, tools and techniques that continue to be used in space today.