Meet The Team: Dr. Richard M Linnehan

Dr. Richard M Linnehan, BS, DVM, MPA and NASA Astronaut
PWDA Board Member

Dr. Richard M. Linnehan is a former zoo and marine mammal veterinarian and also a United States Astronaut currently living in Houston, TX, He is assigned to mission operations and crew training within the Flight Operations Directorate (FOD) astronaut office.  Dr. Linnehan received his B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in animal sciences and microbiology in 1980 and his D.V.M. from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985.  He was later accepted to a 2-year joint internship/residency in exotic animal medicine and comparative pathology at the Baltimore Zoo and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

After completing his two years in Baltimore Dr. Linnehan was recruited as chief clinical veterinarian and officer in charge (OIC) for the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, CA.  During his four years there he initiated research projects targeting cetacean and pinniped anesthesia, orthopedics, drug pharmacokinetics and reproduction - all in direct support of U.S. Navy mobile marine mammal systems stationed in California, Florida, and Hawaii. 

Dr. Linnehan was selected by NASA for astronaut training in March 1992 and reported to Johnson Space Center (JSC) in August of that year as an astronaut candidate (ASCAN).  He is a veteran of four space shuttle missions, logging almost 60 days in space, including 6 EVAs (spacewalks) totaling 42 hours and 11 minutes. After an agency wide competition, Dr. Linnehan was selected for NASA’s Fellowship program and in 2009 received his Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, MA. Post Harvard, he completed a two-year Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement (IPA) between NASA and the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) Vice Chancellor’s Office for Strategic Initiatives and the Texas Institute for Preclinical Studies (TIPS) as the Director of Space Sciences, Education and Policy.

Currently, Dr. Linnehan is involved in exploration Initiatives studying advanced space suit designs, physiological exercise countermeasures and associated hardware as well as occupant protection and EVA training initiatives for future long duration human space flight missions.  He continues to pursue STEM educational projects and environmental/One Health endeavors studying specific coastal ecosystems and endemic marine mammal populations as sentinel indicators for human public health.