Winston Elliott Scott is a former NASA astronaut and retired U.S. Navy captain. He has logged over 24 days in space, including three spacewalks totaling over 19 hours. He is currently the dean of the College of Aeronautics at the Florida Institute of Technology. Winston was born in Miami, Florida, in 1950. He grew up in a segregated neighborhood and attended a segregated school. He was fascinated by science and aviation from an early age and dreamed of becoming a pilot or an astronaut. He excelled in math and science and won a scholarship to attend Florida State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1972.
He joined the U.S. Navy after graduation and became a naval aviator. He flew helicopters and jets and served as a test pilot, flight instructor, and safety officer. He also earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1980.
In 1992, he was selected by NASA to become an astronaut. He completed two years of training and evaluation and was assigned to various technical and operational roles within the Astronaut Office. He flew as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions: STS-72 in 1996 and STS-87 in 1997.
On STS-72, he performed two spacewalks to capture and return a Japanese satellite, and to test tools and techniques for the construction of the International Space Station (ISS). On STS-87, he performed one spacewalk to test a robotic arm extension called the Spartan Manipulator Flight Experiment.
He retired from NASA and the Navy in 1999 and joined the faculty of Florida State University as an associate dean of engineering. He later became the vice president for student affairs at FSU, and then the senior vice president for external relations and economic development at Florida A&M University.
In 2013, he became the dean of the College of Aeronautics at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he oversees academic programs in aviation, aerospace engineering, meteorology, human factors, and space systems. He is also involved in research projects on aviation safety, unmanned aerial systems, and space exploration.
Winston has received numerous awards and honors for his achievements, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished National Scientist Award, and the Florida State University Distinguished Alumni Award. He has also written a memoir titled Reflections from Earth Orbit, which chronicles his life and experiences as an astronaut.
Winston is a role model for anyone who wants to pursue their dreams and overcome challenges. He has demonstrated courage, perseverance, excellence, and leadership throughout his career. He has also contributed to the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and inspired many young people to follow in his footsteps.