Status: Inactive; Active 1978-1985. Born: 1936-03-07. Spaceflights: 1 . Total time in space: 7.95 days. Birth Place: Lewistown, Montana.
Educated Montana State; Colorado.
Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:Loren W. Acton (Ph.D.)
PERSONAL DATA: Born March 7, 1936, in Lewiston, Montana. Married. Two children.
EDUCATION: Received a bachelor of science degree from Montana State University in 1959, and a doctor of philosophy from the University of Colorado in 1965.
ORGANIZATIONS: American Astronomical Society, International Astronomical Union, Sigma Chi, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Tau Beta Pi.
EXPERIENCE: Dr. Acton is the senior staff scientist with the Space Sciences Laboratory, Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory, California. As a research scientist, his principle duties included conducting scientific studies of the Sun and other celestial objects using advanced space instruments and serving as a co-investigator on one of the Spacelab 2 solar experiments, the Solar Optical Universal Polarimeter. In 1985, he was a payload specialist on STS-51F/ Spacelab-2. At mission conclusion, Dr. Acton had traveled over 2.8 million miles in 126 Earth orbits, logging over 190 hours in space.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-51F/Spacelab-2 Challenger (July 29 to August 6, 1985) was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California. STS-51F was the first pallet-only Spacelab mission, and the first mission to operate the Spacelab Instrument Pointing System (IPS). It carried 13 major experiments in astronomy, astrophysics, and life sciences. Mission duration was 7 days, 22 hours, 45 minutes and 26.
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EDUCATION: B.S., Engineering Physics, 1959, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Ph.D., Astro-Geophysics, 1965, University of Colorado. Thesis: X-Radiation of the Sun.
EXPERIENCE: Dr. Acton was a Payload Specialist on STS-51-F in 1985. He thereafter oversaw the solar physics group at Montana State University, which carried on an active research program under NASA support. They were actively involved in day-to-day operation and scientific utilization of the Japan/US/UK Yohkoh mission for studies of high-energy solar physics. This satellite carried a solar x-ray telescope, prepared under the leadership of Dr. Acton, for the study of high-energy processes, such as solar flares, on the sun. The primary emission of the extremely hot outer atmosphere of the sun, the solar corona, is at x-ray wavelengths and the extended duration, high resolution x-ray imagery from Yohkoh were analyzed in an effort to learn why the sun has a corona at all and why it varies in intensity so strongly in response to the 11 year sunspot cycle.
Dr. Acton was also a co-investigator on the NASA Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) mission which was launched in 1998. This battery of 4 ultraviolet telescopes provided new and detailed observations of the thin and dynamic interface region at the base of the corona. This region is also the source of much of the ionizing radiation that determines the properties of the upper atmosphere of the earth such as the ionosphere and ozone layer.
AWARDS AND HONORS: Full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, 1993. 100 Centennial Alumni, Montana State University, 1993. NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, 1993. Fellow of Am. Assoc. for the Advancement of Science, 1989. Honorary Doctor of Science from Montana State University, 1988. Robert E. Gross Award for Technical Excellence, Lockheed Corp, 1988. National Advisory Board, Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT, 1987. Spaceflight Achievement award of American Astronautical Society, 1986.
Manned seven crew. At 5 minutes, 45 seconds into ascent the number one engine shut down prematurely due to a a sensor problem and an abort to orbit was declared. Despite the anomaly the mission continued. Launched PDP; carried Spacelab 2. Payloads: Spacelab-2 with 13 experiments, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), Protein Crystal Growth (PCG). The flight crew was divided into a red and blue team. Each team worked 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation.