Ronald E. McNair with fellow Challenger crew members, 1986
Ronald "Ron" Erwin McNair PhD '77 studied physics under professor Michael Feld. McNair became the second African-American NASA astronaut to make a flight to outer space. He was Mission Specialist for Space Shuttle "Challenger" in February 1984. On January 28, 1986, McNair and eight other astronauts lost their lives in the space shuttle Challenger, following an explosion during the launch phase of the STS-51L mission. MIT renamed a campus building in McNair's honor.