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Ronald Grabe


Piloted the mission to deploy the Magellan Venus-exploration spacecraft. He was a U.S. Atmosphere Force trainer. He piloted two spaceflights and offered as Commander on two others. He wedded Lynn O’Keefe plus they had a boy; he provides two daughters from a prior romantic relationship. He was a check pilot like Chuck Yeager.

Quick Facts

Full Name Ronald J. Garan Jr.
Date Of Birth June 13, 1945
Place Of Birth New York
Profession Astronaut
Education University of Florida, Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, State University of New York at Oneonta, Roosevelt High School, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, United States Air Force Academy, Stuyvesant High School
Nationality American, American
Spouse Carmel Courtney
Star Sign Gemini

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1 In 1994, Grabe left NASA and the Air Force to join Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Virginia.
2 Grabe's fourth and final mission was on the shuttle Endeavour; its primary mission was to retrieve the European Retrievable Carrier satellite. Also, STS-57 featured the first flight of the Spacehab, a commercially provided mid-deck augmentation module for the conduct of microgravity experiments. Spacehab carried 22 individual flight experiments in materials processing and human factors. A spacewalk was conducted on this flight as part of an ongoing program to evaluate extravehicular activity (EVA) techniques for future missions. The Space Shuttle Endeavour mission lasted almost 240 hours.
3 Grabe further participated in the STS-42 Discovery shuttle launched from Kennedy in 1992. 55 major experiments conducted in the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 module were provided by investigators from eleven countries, and represented a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. During 128 orbits of the Earth, the seven-person crew accomplished the mission's primary objective of investigating the effects of microgravity on materials processing and life sciences. In this unique laboratory in space, the crew worked around-the-clock in two shifts. Experiments investigated the microgravity effects on the growth of protein and semiconductor crystals. Biological experiments on the effects of zero gravity on plants, tissues, bacteria, insects and human vestibular response were also conducted. This eight-day mission clocked over 193 hours.
4 Grabe participated in the STS-30 Atlantis launched from Kennedy in 1989. During the four-day mission, the crew successfully deployed the Magellan Venus-exploration spacecraft, the first U.S. planetary science mission launched since 1978, and the first planetary probe to be deployed from the Shuttle. Magellan arrived at Venus in mid-1990, and mapped over 95 percent of the surface of Venus. Magellan has been one of NASA's most successful scientific missions and continues to operate, gaining information about the Venetian atmosphere and magnetic field. Following 64 orbits of the Earth, this exciting and important mission clocked almost 97 hours.
5 His service on STS-51J, the second Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission, began with a launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in 1985. This was the maiden voyage of the Atlantis, the final Orbiter in the Shuttle fleet, and clocked 98 hours of orbital operations.
6 He served as an exchange test pilot with the Royal Air Force at Boscombe Down, United Kingdom, from 1976 to 1979. During this tour of duty, he served as the chief project pilot for the Royal Air Force Harrier and the Royal Navy Sea Harrier.
7 His special honors include The Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Liethen-Tittle Award (for Outstanding Student at the USAF Test Pilot School), the Royal Air Force Cross, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and NASA Space Flight Medals.
8 His educational experience included graduation from Stuyvesant High School, New York, in 1962; a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering science from the United States Air Force Academy in 1966; and studied aeronautics as a Fulbright Scholar at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, West Germany, in 1967.
9 As a test pilot, Grabe logged more than 5,500 hours flying time, and as an astronaut logged over 627 hours in space.
10 Grabe became a NASA astronaut in August 1981. He served as a chief verification pilot for (Space Transportation System) STS-3 and STS-4 entry guidance, navigation and control simulation testing; as the Deputy Manager for Operations Integration, Space Shuttle Program Office; and subsequently as the Chief of Training within the Astronaut Office. A veteran of four space flights, Grabe served as pilot on STS 51-J (October 3-7, 1985) and STS-30 (May 4-8, 1989), and was the mission commander on STS-42 (January 22-30, 1992) and STS-57 (June 21 to July 1, 1993).



Destiny in Space 1994 Documentary short Himself- Commander STS-42

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