Selected by NASA in June 1985, Michael A. Baker, became an astronaut in July 1986 upon completion of a one-year training and evaluation program. Following the Challenger accident, from January 1986 to December 1987, Baker was assigned as a member of the team that was pursuing redesign, modification and improvements to the Shuttle Landing and Deceleration Systems, including nosewheel steering, brakes, tires, and drag chute, in an effort to provide greater safety margins during landing and rollout.
He was then assigned to the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), where he was involved in the checkout and verification of the computer software and hardware interfaces for STS-26 (the return-to-flight mission) and subsequent flights. From 1988-1990, Baker then served as an ascent, entry and orbit spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) for STS-27, STS-29, STS-30, STS-28, STS-34, STS-33, STS-32, STS-36, STS-31, STS-38, and STS-35. In this capacity his duties included communication with the Shuttle crew during simulations and actual missions, as well as working procedural problems and modifications between missions. He served as the leader of the Astronaut Support Personnel team at the Kennedy Space Center for Shuttle Missions STS-44, STS-42 and STS-45. From December 1992 to January 1994 he was assigned as the Flight Crew Operations Directorate Representative to the Space Shuttle Program Office.
From March to October 1995 he served as the Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. He was responsible for the coordination and implementation of mission operation activities in the Moscow region for the joint U.S./Russian Shuttle/Mir program. From October 1997 to August 2001 he was the Assistant Director of Johnson Space Center (JSC) for Human Space Flight Programs, Russia and was responsible for implementation and integration of NASA’s Human space flight programs in Russia. Those activities included International Space Station (ISS) training, operations, technical liaison, logistics and personnel administration support. He also served as the NASA JSC representative to the Russian Space Agency, Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City; Mission Control Center-Moscow, Energia Rocket and Spacecraft Corporation, Krunichev State Scientific and Production Space Center and other Russian government agencies and manufacturers involved in the ISS program.
Mike Baker is currently assigned as the International Space Station Program Manager for International and Crew Operations and is responsible for the coordination of program operations, integration and flight crew training and support activities with the International Partners. A veteran of four space flights, Baker has logged 965 hours in space. He served as pilot on STS-43 (August 2-11, 1991) and STS-52 (October 22 to November 1, 1992), and was the mission commander on STS-68 (September 30 to October 11, 1994) and STS-81 (January 12-22, 1997).
Biography courtesy NASA