Smith, Michael John
(1945-1986) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-51-L. Died in Challenger accident.
Official NASA Biography:
Michael J. Smith was born on April 30, 1945 in Beaufort, North Carolina. At the time of the Challenger accident a commander in the U.S. Navy, Smith had been educated at the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1967, and received an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1968. From there he underwent aviator training at Kingsville, Texas, and received his wings in May 1969. After a tour as an instructor at the Navy's Advanced Jet Training Command between 1969 and 1971, Smith flew A- 6 "Intruders" from the USS Kitty Hawk in Southeast Asia. Later he worked as a test pilot for the Navy, flying 28 different types of aircraft and logging more than 4,300 hours of flying time. Smith was selected as a NASA astronaut in May 1980, and a year later, after completing further training, he received an assignment as a Space Shuttle pilot, the position he occupied aboard Challenger. This mission was his first space flight. He died in the Challenger explosion.
Birth Place: Beaufort, North Carolina.
More... - Chronology...
Spaceflights: 1 .
Total time in space: 0.0008 days.
Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...
NASA Group 9 - 1980 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: 19+80 - The two European astronauts in the group were not considered by the Americans to be part of the 'official' group. This led to a scene at graduation. More...
STS-51-L Crew: Jarvis, McAuliffe, McNair, Onizuka, Resnik, Scobee, Smith. First shuttle launch from pad LC-39B. An O-ring failure in a solid rocket booster led to leaking of hot gases against the external tank; exploded 73 seconds after launch, all seven crew, with no means of escape, were killed when crew cabin hit the ocean. More...
STS-61-I Crew: Williams Donald, Smith, Dunbar, Carter, Bagian, Bhat. Planned shuttle LDEF (Long Duration Exposure Facility) recovery mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. Backup crew: Nair. More...
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...
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.
1980 May 19 -
- NASA Astronaut Training Group 9 selected. - .
Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bagian; Blaha; Bolden; Bridges; Chang-Diaz; Cleave; Dunbar; Fisher, William; Gardner, Guy; Grabe; Hilmers; Leestma; Lounge; O Connor; Richards; Ross; Smith; Spring; Springer. 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 January 28 -
16:38 GMT - .
: Cape Canaveral
. Launch Complex
: Cape Canaveral LC39B
. LV Family
. Launch Vehicle
. LV Configuration
: Space Shuttle STS-33/51-L. FAILURE
: Seal on SRB failed, allowed hot gas to burn through External Tank.. Failed Stage
1986 September -
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