Six of the Seven Astronauts Were in the Military


Source: AFPS

WASHINGTON- Six of the seven astronauts killed aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were in the military; Payload Specialist Col. Ilan Ramon was an honored pilot for the Israeli Air Force, the other five of the six were serving U.S. military officers.

The orbiter broke apart above north-central Texas on Feb. 1 at about 203,000 feet and was going about 12,500 mph, or Mach 18, when the accident occurred. It was headed for a planned touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in about 15 minutes.

The mission commander was Air Force Col. Rick D. Husband. The 45-year-old officer was from Amarillo, Texas. He was married and had two children. Husband received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University in 1980 and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno, in 1990.

Husband was commissioned in May 1980, and attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla. He flew F-4 Phantom aircraft. In December 1987, Husband was assigned to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where he attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. Upon completion, Husband served as a test pilot flying the F-4 and all five models of the F- 15. In June 1992, Husband was assigned to the Aircraft and Armament Evaluation Establishment at Boscombe Down, England, as an exchange test pilot with the Royal Air Force. He logged over 3,800 hours of flight time in more than 40 different types of aircraft.

NASA selected Husband as an astronaut candidate in December 1994. He flew as pilot on STS-96 in 1999, and logged 235 hours and 13 minutes in space.

Navy Cmdr. William C. McCool was the pilot of the Columbia. Born in San Diego, he was 41. He graduated from high school in Lubbock, Texas. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated second in his class in 1983. He was married.

McCool completed flight training in August 1986 and flew EA-6B Prowlers aboard the aircraft carriers USS Coral Sea and the USS Enterprise. He was also assigned to the Navy Test Pilot School, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. McCool had more than 2,800 hours of flight experience in 24 aircraft and more than 400 carrier arrestments.

He was selected as an astronaut in 1996. This was his first flight into space.

Air Force Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, 43, was born in Plattsburgh, N.Y. He received a bachelor of science degree in physics/astronomy from University of Washington in 1981, and a master of science degree in physics from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., in 1990.

Anderson entered the Air Force in 1981 and was assigned to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, as the chief of communication maintenance at the communications squadron. In 1986, he was selected to attend Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the 2nd Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as an EC-135 pilot. Anderson had logged over 3,000 hours in various models of the KC-135 and the T-38A aircraft.

He was selected as an astronaut in December 1994. He flew on STS-89 in January 1998.

Navy Capt. (Dr.) David M. Brown was 46 and from Arlington, Va. He received a bachelor of science degree in biology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., in 1978, and a doctorate in medicine from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1982.

Upon completion of flight surgeon training in 1984, was assigned to Adak, Alaska. He was then deployed aboard the carrier USS Carl Vinson. In 1988, he was the only flight surgeon in a 10-year period to be chosen for pilot training. He received his wings of gold in 1990. Brown flew the A-6E Intruder and later the F-18 Hornet. He served aboard the carrier USS Independence. In 1995, he reported to the Navy Test Pilot School as its flight surgeon, where he also flew the T-38 Talon. Brown logged over 2,700 flight hours, with 1,700 in high performance military aircraft.

He was selected as an astronaut in 1996. This was his first flight into space.

Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Laurel B. Clark was born in Iowa, but considered Racine, Wis., to be her hometown. She was married with one child. She received her bachelor of science degree in zoology in 1983 and doctorate in medicine in 1987, both from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

During medical school, Clark did active duty training with the Diving Medicine Department at the Naval Experimental Diving Unit, Panama City, Fla., in March 1987. After completing medical school, Clark underwent postgraduate medical education in Pediatrics at the Naval Hospital Bethesda, Md. In 1989, she completed Navy undersea medical officer training at the Naval Undersea Medical Institute in Groton, Conn., and diving medical officer training at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City.

She was then assigned as the Submarine Squadron Fourteen Medical Department Head in Holy Loch, Scotland. During that assignment, she dove with U.S. Navy divers and Naval Special Warfare Unit Two Seals and performed numerous medical evacuations from submarines.

Clark also was designated as a Naval flight surgeon. She was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. She made numerous deployments, including one overseas to the Western Pacific, practiced medicine in austere environments and flew on multiple aircraft.

Prior to her selection as an astronaut candidate, she served as a flight surgeon for the Naval Flight Officer advanced training squadron in Pensacola, Fla.

The Columbia mission was her first space flight.