Encyclopedia Astronautica

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McBride, Jon Andrew (1943-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-41-G. Heavyset Navy pilot with a talent for playing to a crowd. Flew 64 combat missions in Vietnam. Later ran in, but lost, the Republican primary for governor of West Virginia.

Memorably pleased the audience when the TFNG astronauts were introduced at the Astrodome in the fall of 1978.

Official NASA Biography

NAME: Jon A. McBride (Captain, USN)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born August 14, 1943, in Charleston, West Virginia, but considers Beckley, West Virginia, to be his hometown. His mother, Mrs. W. L. McBride, resides in Charleston, West Virginia.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Red hair; blue eyes; height: 6 feet 2 inches; weight: 205 pounds.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley, West Virginia, in 1960; received a bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1971. Graduate work in Human Resources Management at Pepperdine University.

MARITAL STATUS: Married to the former Sharon Lynne White of Nacogdoches, Texas.

CHILDREN: Lt. Richard M. (USN), March 3, 1962; Melissa L., December 12, 1966; and Jon A., October 21, 1970; Stephen Michael, August 4, 1971.

RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: He enjoys flying, basketball, golf, softball, racquetball, gourmet cooking, numismatics, gardening, and carpentry.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member of Association of Naval Aviation, the Tailhook Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion; associate member, Society of Experimental Test Pilots; and life member of Phi Delta Theta and the National Honor Society.

SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal (DSSM), 3 Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, a Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnamese Service Medal, and the NASA Space Flight Medal; recipient of West Virginia Secretary of State's "State Medallion" and appointed "West Virginia Ambassador of Good Will Among All Men" (1980). Received Honorary Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering from Salem College (1984); Honorary Doctorate of Science from West Virginia University (1985); Honorary Doctorate of Science from University of Charleston (1987); Honorary Doctorate of Science from West Virginia Institute of Technology (1987).

EXPERIENCE: McBride's naval service began in 1965 with flight training at Pensacola, Florida. After winning his wings as a naval aviator, he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 101 based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, for training in the F-4 "Phantom II" aircraft. He was subsequently assigned to Fighter Squadron 41 where he served 3 years as a fighter pilot and division officer. He has also served tours with Fighter Squadrons 11 and 103. While deployed to Southeast Asia, McBride flew 64 combat missions.

He attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base prior to reporting to Air Test and Development Squadron Four at Point Mugu, California, where he served as maintenance officer and Sidewinder project officer. He has flown over 40 different types of military and civilian aircraft and piloted the Navy "Spirit of '76" bicentennial-painted F-4J "Phantom" in various air shows during 1976, 1977, and 1978. He holds current FAA ratings which include commercial pilot (multi-engine), instrument, and glider; and he previously served as a certified flight instructor (CFI).

He has logged more than 5,200 hours flying time -- including 4,700 hours in jet aircraft.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in January 1978, McBride became an astronaut in August 1979. His NASA assignments have included lead chase pilot for the maiden voyage of "Columbia"; software verification in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL); and capsule communicator (CAPCOM) for STS-5, STS-6, and STS-7. McBride was pilot of STS 41-G, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 5, 1984,aboard the Orbiter Challenger. This was the first crew of seven. During their eight day mission, crew members deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, conducted scientific observations of the earth with the OSTA-3 pallet and Large Format Camera, and demonstrated potential satellite refueling with an EVA and associated hydrazine transfer. Mission duration was 197 hours and concluded with a landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 13, 1984.

McBride was scheduled to fly next in March 1986, as the commander of STS 61-E crew. This flight was one of several deferred by NASA in the wake of the Challenger accident in January 1986.

On July 30, 1987, Captain McBride was assigned to NASA Headquarters to serve as Acting Assistant Administrator for Congressional Relations, with responsibility for NASA's relationship with Congress, and for providing coordination and direction to all Headquarters and Field Center communications with Congressional support organizations. He held this post from September 1987 thru March 1989. Last year McBride was named to command the crew of the STS-35 (ASTRO-1) mission, scheduled for launch in March 1990.

In May 1989, Captain McBride retired from NASA and the Navy, in order to pursue a business career. He is currently President and Chief Executive Officer, Flying Eagle Corp., Lewisburg, West Virginia.



Departed Date: 1989-05-12. Marital Status: Married. Children: Four children. Childhood: Grew up in Beckley, West Virginia.. Education: USNPGS;Edwards.

Birth Place: Charleston, West Virginia.
Status: Inactive.

Born: 1943.08.14.
Spaceflights: 1 .
Total time in space: 8.22 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...
  • NASA Group 8 - 1978 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Recruit women and minorities to introduce diversity into the astronaut corps. Nickname: TFNG - Thirty-Five New Guys, also an obscene military phrase. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-41-G Crew: Crippen, Garneau, Leestma, McBride, Ride, Scully-Power, Sullivan. First spaceflight to include two women. First American woman to walk in space. First Canadian astronaut. Record crew size aboard a single spacecraft. Manned seven crew. Deployed Earth Radiation Budget Satellite; performed high resolution Earth imagery. More...
  • STS-61-E Crew: McBride, Richards, Leestma, Hoffman, Parker, Durrance, Parise. Planned Astro-1 shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. Backup crew: Nordsieck. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Mullane, Mike, Riding Rockets, Scribner, New York, 2006.

McBride Chronology

1978 January 16 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 8 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Brandenstein; Buchli; Coats; Covey; Creighton; Fabian; Fisher; Gardner; Gibson; Gregory; Griggs; Hart; Hauck; Hawley; Hoffman; Lucid; McBride; McNair; Mullane; Nagel; Nelson; Onizuka; Resnik; Ride; Scobee; Seddon; Shaw; Shriver; Stewart; Sullivan. The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Recruit women and minorities to introduce diversity into the astronaut corps. Qualifications: Pilots: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degree desirable. At least 1,000 flight-hours of pilot-in-command time. Flight test experience desirable. Excellent health. Vision minimum 20/50 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 vision; maximum sitting blood pressure 140/90. Height between 163 and 193 cm.

    Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm.. 8,079 applicants, of which half met the basic qualifications. 208 invited for physical tests and interviews. Of the 35 selected, six were women, three were male African-Americans, and one was a male Asian-American.

1984 October 5 - . 11:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-17/41-G.
  • STS-41-G - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Crippen; Garneau; Leestma; McBride; Ride; Scully-Power; Sullivan. Payload: Challenger F06 / ERBS / LFC / ORS. Mass: 10,643 kg (23,463 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Crippen; Garneau; Leestma; McBride; Ride; Scully-Power; Sullivan. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-41-G. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 8.22 days. Decay Date: 1984-10-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 15353 . COSPAR: 1984-108A. Apogee: 390 km (240 mi). Perigee: 350 km (210 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.00 min. Manned seven crew. Deployed ERBS; performed high resolution Earth imagery. Payloads: Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) deployment, Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (OSTA)-3 experiments, Large Format Camera (LFC). First use of Orbital Refueling System (ORS) with extravehicular activity (EVA) astronauts, IMAX camera.

1984 October 13 - .
1986 March - .
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