Encyclopedia Astronautica

Thorne, Steven Douglas (1953-1986) German test pilot mission specialist astronaut, 1985-1986. Died in an airplane crash.

Educated Annapolis; Patuxent.

NASA Official Biography

NAME: Stephen D. Thorne (Lieutenant Commander, USN)
NASA Astronaut (Deceased)

Born February 11, 1953, in Frankfurt-on-Main, West Germany. Died May 24, 1986. He is survived by his wife, Sue. He enjoyed baseball, running, reading, and general aviation.

Graduated from T.L. Hanna High School, Anderson, South Carolina, in 1971; received a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975.

Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Life member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.

Received Navy Commendation Medal in January 1986.

Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, Thorne entered flight training and received his wings in December 1976. Following training in the F-4 Phantom, he joined Fighter Squadron 21 (VF-21) and deployed to the Western Pacific aboard the USS Ranger. After training at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1981, Thorne spent the next two years at Strike Aircraft Test at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, flying mostly ordnance and weapons systems tests in the F-4 and A-7 Corsair II. He completed F-18 Hornet transition training in October 1984 and joined Strike Fighter Squadron 132 (VFA-132) aboard USS Coral Sea until departing for NASA.

He accumulated over 2,500 hours and 200 carrier landings in approximately 30 different types of aircraft.

Thorne was selected as an astronaut by NASA in June 1985 and, in August, commenced a one-year training and evaluation program to qualify him for subsequent assignment as a pilot on future Space Shuttle flightcrews.

Lieutenant Commander Thorne was killed in an aircraft accident, in which he was a passenger, on May 24, 1986.


Birth Place: Frankfurt-an-Main.
Status: Deceased.

Born: 1953.02.11.
Died: 1986.05.24.

More... - Chronology...

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

  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Thorne Chronology

1984 May 23 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 11 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Apt; Baker, Mike; Cabana; Duffy; Gemar; Godwin; Henricks; Hieb; Jernigan; Meade; Oswald; Thorne; Thuot. 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.. Thirteen astronauts, taken from 33 civilians and 133 military applicants for the 1984 selection. 59 of these were screened for the final selection.

1986 May 24 - .
  • Astronaut Steven Douglas Thorne dies at age of 33 -- Airplane crash - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thorne. Summary: German test pilot mission specialist astronaut, 1985-1986..

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