Astronaut’s wife to speak in Wapak


WAPAKONETA — The 2019 Committee will present a talk by Simone Thomas, “An Astronaut Wife’s Life,” at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, in the Central Library, 203 S. Perry St., Wapakoneta.

Thomas, wife of retired astronaut Dr. Don Thomas, will provide a candid look at her life on Earth while her husband worked among the stars. The event is free and open to the public and is presented in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 2019.

Thomas was born and raised in southern Germany, in a suburb of Stuttgart. She attended the University of Hohenheim and graduated with a master’s degree in animal science. She initially intended to continue graduate studies, but her plans changed when she was offered a position in the German Astronaut Office. Her work required frequent trips to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where she was permanently stationed during the last eight months before the launch of the STS-55 Space Shuttle mission. It was there she met her future husband.

After their marriage in 1993, Thomas worked for NASA’s human life sciences program until they moved to Baltimore in 2007. For the next eight years, she worked for the European Space Agency’s human life sciences program as its interface to NASA. Since 2015, she has served at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as the senior research study coordinator and project manager for clinical trials and other research projects.

When Simone and Don first met, Don just had completed his initial astronaut training. While they dated, he was assigned to his first space shuttle flight. By the time he launched into space, they were married. Simone supported and experienced Don’s four space shuttle missions and the 44 days he spent in space. She is a member in good standing of the Astronaut Wives’ Club.

2019 Committee Cochairwoman Rachel Barber said, “The committee is pleased that Simone Thomas’s visit will serve as a wonderful January kickoff to our year of celebration and to our Auglaize County Community Read of ‘The Astronaut Wives’ Club.’ ‘The Astronaut Wives’ Club’ presents the true story of the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts, while Simone Thomas will provide a more contemporary perspective about being an astronaut’s spouse. We hope that many will join us for this fascinating presentation.”