STS 41B Challenger Crewmembers, 1983

STS 41B Challenger Crew
Photo: NASA [S83-40555]

STS-41B (STS-11) Mission Crew portrait, 1983. Seated left to right: Vance D. Brand, commander; and Robert "Hoot" L. Gibson, pilot (both (wearing shuttle blue flight suits). Standing left to right: mission specialists Robert L. Stewart, Ronald E. McNair, and Bruce McCandless (Stewart and McCandless wearing extravehicular mobility units [EMU]).

Ronald E. McNair PhD '77 was selected as one of 35 applicants from a pool of 10,000 for the NASA astronaut program in 1978. He was one of the first three African Americans astronauts ever selected by the space program.

From February 3 to 11, 1984, McNair successfully flew on the STS 41-B mission aboard the Challenger as a mission specialist. NASA's tenth space shuttle mission was McNair's first trip and made him the second African-American to make a flight to outer space. He was the first astronaut to operate the Canadarm giant robotic arm to position EVA crewman around Challenger’s payload bay, and the first to conduct experiments using a laser ranging device. An accomplished jazz saxophonist, McNair was also the first to play a musical instrument in space.

Timeline: 1980s
School: School of Science
Department: Physics
Career: EngineeringScienceTechnologyTransportation
Object: Photograph
Collection: Integration and Differentiation 1969-1994, NASA, Ronald E. McNair