- James van Hoften, James Wetherbee
- 193 centimetre(s)
- Not Applicable ()
The title of tallest person in space is held jointly by two American astronauts: James “Jim” Wetherbee and James “Ox” van Hoften, both of whom measured 193 cm (6 ft 4 in) tall. Van Hoften flew two missions (STS-41-C and STS-51-I) between 1984 and 1985, while Wetherbee flew six missions between 1990 and 2002. Astronauts get gradually taller the longer they spend in space, so while they were the same height on Earth, Wetherbee (whose longest mission was a few hours short of 14 days) would have had a slight edge on van Hoften (whose longest mission was only six days) in space.
Jim Wetherbee and James van Hoften are as tall as astronauts can possibly be and still enter NASA’s astronaut-selection process. They would not be allowed into space today because they are three centimetres too tall for the Soyuz capsule. The Soyuz TM series only fits astronauts/cosmonauts measuring 150–190 cm, pre-1999 versions had a range of 164–182 cm.
The upcoming US-made commercial crew vehicles will make it possible for taller people to go into space.
Jim Wetherbee is the drummer in Max Q, a band whose members are all astronauts.