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Mission Viejo’s 2003 Hometown Hero inducted into U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame

Michael Lopez-Alegria

Veteran astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame class of 2021 Saturday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Among two other inductees, he was honored for demonstrating outstanding accomplishments in furthering NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery.  

Lopez-Alegria grew up in Mission Viejo and attended La Paz Intermediate School and Mission Viejo High School. In 2003, he was named the City’s Hometown Hero and four years later served as Grand Marshall of the Walk Against Drugs. His impact on this community, the world and beyond is significant.  

“These three pioneers propelled upward and explored the heavens,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson about Lopez-Alegria and fellow veteran astronauts Pam Melroy and Scott Kelly. “They broke barriers and set records. They pushed the boundaries of humanity's reach.” 

NASA selected Lopez-Alegria as an astronaut in 1992. He was a mission specialist for three flights aboard the space shuttle and served as commander of Expedition 14 aboard the space station from September 2006 to April 2007. Lopez-Alegria logged more than 257 days in space and performed 10 spacewalks, totaling 67 hours and 40 minutes. 

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