A Project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association

2000 – LCDR Daniel C. Burbank Selected as a NASA Astronaut

LCDR Burbank - 2000 - LCDR Daniel C. Burbank Selected as a NASA AstronautLCDR Burbank received his commission from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in May 1985, and was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin (WHEC 721). In January, 1987, he reported to naval flight training at Pensacola, Florida, and graduated in February 1988. Burbank was then assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where he became an Aircraft Commander in the HH-3F Pelican and then an Aircraft Commander and Instructor Pilot in the HH-60J Jayhawk. While at Elizabeth City, he completed training in Aviation Maintenance/Administration in preparation for assignment as an Aeronautical Engineering Officer. He also earned a master’s degree in aeronautical science. In July 1992, Burbank was assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as the Rotary Wing Engineering Officer and HH-60J Aircraft Commander/Instructor Pilot. In May 1995, he was assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, Alaska, as the Aeronautical Engineering Officer and HH-60J Aircraft Commander.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Burbank reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. After completing two years of training and evaluation, Burbank worked technical issues for the Astronaut Office Operations Planning Branch. He served as a spacecraft communicator and was also a member of the Space Shuttle Cockpit Avionics Upgrade design team. He flew as a mission specialist on STS-106 and STS-115. He has logged 23 days – 14 hours- and 18 minutes in space flight.


 The Space Shuttle Atlantis launched at 08:45 September 8, 2000 on an eleven day mission to the International Space Station to prepare the station for thefirst crew scheduled to launch in October. The mission to the 143-foot-long station focused on unloading nearly three tons of cargo from the orbiter and a Progress supply craft already docked to the opposite end of the International Space Station. On flight day two, Atlantis completed a successful rendezvous and docking.

International Space Station - 2000 - LCDR Daniel C. Burbank Selected as a NASA Astronaut
International Space Station

A 6 hour and 14 minute Extravehicular Activity (EVA) was completed successfully on day three. The spacewalk’s objective was focused on the routing and connection of nine power, data and communications cables between the Zvezda module and the other Russian-built module, Zarya, as well as installing the six-foot-long magnetometer to the station to serve as a compass showing the station in respect to the Earth. Mission Specialist Edward Lu and Russian Mission Specialist Yuri Malenchenko used tethers and handrails along the ISS to make their way to a point more than 100 feet above the cargo bay, the farthest any tethered spacewalker has ventured outside the shuttle. They completed this with the assistance of their inside crewmates Burbank and Mastracchio who deftly maneuvered them around with the robotic arm.

On flight day four, the crew entered the International Space Station through Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 (PMA-2) to begin the transfer operations of more than three tons of hardware and supplies. Atlantis’ crew was the first to see the interior of the Russian Zvezda service module since it was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in July. Additionally, a reboost was performed using the orbiter’s Reaction Control System (RCS) to place the station in a higher orbit.

Activities on the following days included electrical work and the installation of three batteries inside Zvezda. In order to reduce the weight for launch, Zveda was launched with only five of eight batteries in place. The crew transferred more than 6,000 pounds of material – including six 100 pound bags of water, all of the food for the first resident crew, office supplies, onboard environmental supplies, a vacuum cleaner and a computer with monitor to the interior of the station.

The astronauts spent a total of five days, nine hours and 21 minutes inside the station before closing the hatch on the orbiting outpost.  Four altitude boosts were made to place the station in an orbit of approximately 241 by 233 statute miles, raising the average altitude by 14 miles. After spending seven days, 21 hours and 54 minutes linked to the station, Atlantis undocked at 11:46 p.m. EDT and Atlantis moved to a distance of about 450 feet for a double-loop flyaround.

The Atlantis returned to the Kennedy Space Center landing at 03:58 on September 20, 2002.


The Space Shuttle Atlantis launched on September 9, 2006 at 11:15 in the morning. The picture-perfect launch proved to be as perfect as it looked. As Atlantis chased the International Space Station, the STS-115 crew made preparations for rendezvous and docking, which took place early on flight day three.

The main purpose of the mission was to install the P3/P4 integrated truss segment with its solar arrays, which will double the existing power-generating capacity of the orbiting outpost after the next mission. The size of the truss with its expansive solar wings also considerably changed the familiar profile of the station. In its launch configuration, the segment was about 45 feet long, but once joined to the station’s structure with the solar arrays deployed, the wingspan extends about 240 feet. Although the truss segment weighed 17.5 tons on Earth, handling it in the weightlessness of space was more a question of careful precision than strength. Using the maneuvering arms on both the orbiter and the space station, the astronauts performed a careful handoff of the segment after removing it from Atlantis’ payload bay. The installation and deployment of the truss segment required three spacewalks — the first and third conducted by Tanner and Piper, with the second handled by Burbank and MacLean.

sts 115 - 2000 - LCDR Daniel C. Burbank Selected as a NASA Astronaut
Dan Burbank during space walk

This mission was billed as one of the most complicated space construction efforts ever conducted, and the STS-115 astronauts had trained longer than any other NASA crew. On flight day four, during their first spacewalk, Tanner and Piper spent six hours and 26 minutes installing power and data cables between the P1 and P3/P4 structures in preparation for solar array deployment.

During day five, Burbank and MacLean performed a seven-hour, 11-minute spacewalk, removing launch locks and launch restraints on the solar alpha rotary joint to allow the arrays to track the sun. During the remainder of the spacewalk, the astronauts were instructed to perform “get-ahead” tasks originally scheduled for later in the mission. They prepared the P3 truss for use by the mobile transporter — a platform that allows the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to move along the integrated truss structure.

The next day, Tanner and Piper returned to complete the spacewalk triple play by conducting a six-hour, 42-minute excursion to prepare the stations newly installed truss segment for operation and to complete other tasks devoted to the assembly and maintenance of the station. They prepared the thermal control panel for deployment and flight controllers unfurled the device which removes heat from the station.

The prediction of bad weather in Florida, and some unidentifiable debris seen traveling in the same orbit as Atlantis, gave the crew members one more day in space to conduct another inspection of the orbiter.  Once the vehicle was given a clean bill of health, the astronauts prepared Atlantis for the return to Earth. Atlantis touched down in the predawn darkness at 6:21 a.m. at the Kennedy Space Center, returning both the crew and vehicle to the place where 12 days earlier, the journey began to restart construction of the space station

Captain Burbank was assigned as Visiting NASA Professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Captain Burbank returned to space on 14 November 2011 as a crewmember aboard Soyuz TMA-22 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft was placed in a 160 mile parking orbit and docked successfully with the International Space Station on 16 November. Burbank then served as commander of Expedition 30. During his stay aboard the station, the ISS crew completed nearly 200 experiments in fluid and combustion physics, earth and space science and technology development. Burbank, along with Anton Shkaplerov and Anotoly Ivanishin, returned to Earth on April 27, 2012.

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