Encyclopedia Astronautica

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McCulley, Michael James (1943-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-34.

Grew up in Livingston, Tennessee. Educated Purdue; Patuxent; ETPS. US Navy test pilot.

NASA Official Biography

NAME: Michael J. McCulley (Captain, USN, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut (former)

Born August 4, 1943, in San Diego, California, but considers Livingston, Tennessee to be his hometown. Married to the former Jane Emalie Thygeson of Melbourne, Florida. Six children. Recreational interests include skiing, reading, camping, and jogging.

Graduated from Livingston Academy Livingston, Tennessee, in 1961; received a bachelor of science degree and a master of science degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Purdue University.

Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Association of Space Explorations, the Boy Scouts of America (Eagle Scout), and Tau Beta Pi.

Awarded the Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, Navy Commendation medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Ribbon, National Defense Medal, Small Arms Expert Ribbon, and the Battle "E" Ribbon.

After graduation from high school, McCulley enlisted in the U.S. Navy and subsequently served on one diesel-powered and two nuclear-powered submarines. In 1965 he entered Purdue University, and in January 1970, received his Naval Officers commission and both degrees. Following flight training, he served tours of duty in A-4 and A-6 aircraft, and was selected to attend the Empire Test Pilots School in Great Britain. He served in a variety of test pilots billets at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, before returning to sea duty on USS SARATOGA and USS NIMITZ.

He has flown over 50 aircraft types, logging over 5,00 flying hours, and has nearly 400 carrier landings from six aircraft carriers.

Selected by NASA in May 1984, McCulley completed a one-year training and evaluation program in June 1985, qualifying him for assignment as a pilot on future Space Shuttle flight crews. His technical assignments include: Astronaut Office weather coordinator; flight crew representative to the Shuttle Requirements Control Board; Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations; lead of the Astronaut Support Team at the Kennedy Space Center. He flew on STS-34 in 1989 and has logged a total of 119 hours and 41 minutes in space. In October 1990, McCulley retired from NASA and the Navy to join the Lockheed Space Operations Company as the Deputy Director of the Kennedy Space Center Launch Site with responsibility for over 6000 people who are involved in the processing of space shuttles from wheels-stop on the runway through T-0 on the Launch pad. Currently, McCulley is Vice President and Deputy Program Manager for the Space Flight Operation Contract and United Space Alliance. He is responsible for over 9000 people involved in virtually all aspects of Space Shuttle operation including flight controllers, astronaut training, and both launch and mission control facilities and operations in Texas and Florida.

McCulley was the pilot on STS-34. The crew aboard Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on October 18, 1989, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on October 23, 1989. During the mission crew members successfully deployed the Galileo spacecraft on its journey to explore Jupiter, operated the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Instrument (SSBUV) to map atmospheric ozone, and performed numerous secondary experiments involving radiation measurements, polymer morphology, lightning research, microgravity effects on plants, and a student experiment on ice crystal growth in space. Mission duration was 4 days, 23 hours, 41 minutes.

APRIL 1998

Birth Place: San Diego, California.
Status: Inactive.

Born: 1943.08.04.
Spaceflights: 1 .
Total time in space: 4.99 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 10 - 1984 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Maggots. Named by Bill Shepherd, who dubbed them in their earliest group training in aircraft survival school, a term familiar to graduates of USMC boot camp. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-61-N Crew: Shaw, McCulley, Leestma, Adamson, Brown Mark, Casserino. Planned Department of Defense shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. Backup crew: Joseph. More...
  • STS-34 Crew: Baker, Chang-Diaz, Lucid, McCulley, Williams Donald. Manned five crew. Deployed Galileo Jupiter probe. 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.

McCulley Chronology

1984 May 23 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 10 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Adamson; Baker; Brown, Mark; Cameron; Carter; Casper; Culbertson; Gutierrez; Hammond; Ivins; Lee; Low; McCulley; Shepherd; Thornton; Veach; Wetherbee. The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights.. 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..

1986 September - .
1989 October 18 - . 16:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-34R.
  • STS-34 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Baker; Chang-Diaz; Lucid; McCulley; Williams, Donald. Payload: Atlantis F05 / Galileo [IUS]. Mass: 22,064 kg (48,642 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Baker; Chang-Diaz; Lucid; McCulley; Williams, Donald. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-34. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 4.99 days. Decay Date: 1989-10-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 20297 . COSPAR: 1989-084A. Apogee: 307 km (190 mi). Perigee: 298 km (185 mi). Inclination: 34.3000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Manned five crew. Deployed Galileo .Payloads: Deploy IUS with Galileo spacecraft. Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV), Polymer Morphology (PM) experiments, IMAX camera project, Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment, Growth Hormone Concentration and Distribution (GHCD) in Plants experiment, Sensor Technology Experiment (STEX), SSIP Student Experiment (SE) 82-15, Ice Crystals Experiment. First flight at this inclination.

1989 October 23 - .
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