Columbia crew bio: Laurel Clark

By United Press International

Dr. Laurel Blair Salton Clark, a commander in the U.S. Navy, was a mission specialist for NASA.

"We're incredibly lucky to be able to be working where we are up above the Earth and being able to see our planet from that vantage point," Clark said in an interview before the mission's launch aboard shuttle Columbia on Jan. 16. "I'm expecting to have a lot of fun. I'm expecting to be tired at the end. But I'm expecting it to be the experience of my lifetime so far."


Prior to her selection as an astronaut candidate, Clark served as a flight surgeon for the Naval Flight Officer advanced training squadron in Pensacola, Fla. From 1997 to 2000 Clark worked in the Astronaut Office's Payloads/Habitability Branch.

She was board certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and held a Wisconsin medical license. Her military qualifications included: radiation health officer, undersea medical officer, diving medical officer, submarine medical officer, and naval flight surgeon.

Clark, stationed at Yuma, Ariz., was assigned as flight surgeon for a Marine Corps AV-8B Night Attack Harrier Squadron, made numerous deployments, including one overseas to the Western Pacific, practicing medicine in austere environments.


She graduated with a doctorate in medicine from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987 and earned a bachelor's degree in zoology in 1983 from the same university.

Born in Iowa, Clark considered Racine, Wis., her hometown. She was married with one child. Clark was 41.

Clark was honored with three Navy Commendation Medals, the National Defense Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon.


(Editors: UPI photo WAX2003020113 available)

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