Leroy Chiao was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1960. He spent most of his childhood in Danville, California, with his two sisters and his parents. He was eight years old when he decided he wanted to be an astronaut after watching the Apollo 11 moon landing. He earned a BS in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was hired by NASA as an astronaut in January of 1990. He flew on four space missions: STS-65 Columbia, STS-72 Endeavor, STS-92 Discovery, and ISS Expedition 10. His post-NASA career has involved leadership positions in technology startup companies, teaching, consulting, and public speaking. He has used his platform to advocate for improving relations between the US and China through collaboration in space. He and his wife have twin children.