Bruce McCandless II
|Bruce McCandless II|
June 8, 1937 |
|Other occupation||Engineer, Naval pilot|
|Time in space||13d 00h 31m|
|Selection||1966 NASA Group|
Bruce McCandless II (born June 8, 1937) is a former naval aviator with the United States Navy and former NASA astronaut. During the first of his two Space Shuttle missions he made the first ever untethered free flight using the Manned Maneuvering Unit in 1984.
A third generation U.S. Navy officer, McCandless is the son of Bruce McCandless, and grandson of Willis W. Bradley, both decorated war heroes. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Long Beach, California. With his father having been awarded the Medal of Honor, McCandless was assured of being appointed to a military academy.
In 1958 he received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy, followed by a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1965. In 1987 he received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston–Clear Lake.
McCandless graduated second in a class of 899 from the Naval Academy (Class of 1958), along with John McCain and John Poindexter. Subsequently, he received flight training from the Naval Air Training Command at bases in Pensacola, Florida, and Kingsville, Texas.
Between December 1960 and February 1964 he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 102 (VF-102), flying the Skyray and the F-4B Phantom II. He saw duty aboard USS Forrestal and USS Enterprise, including the latter's participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
For three months in early 1964, he was an instrument flight instructor in Attack Squadron 43 (VA-43) at NAS Oceana, Virginia and then reported to the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit at Stanford University for graduate studies in electrical engineering.
During Naval service he gained flying proficiency in the T-33B Shooting Star, T-38A Talon, F-4B Phantom II, F-6A Skyray, F-11 Tiger, F-9 Cougar, T-1 Seastar, and T-34B Mentor airplane, and the Bell 47G helicopter. He logged more than 5,200 hours flying time—5,000 hours in jet aircraft.
McCandless was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 14 mission, served as CAPCOM during the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstrong first set his foot on the Moon (during the EVA), and was backup pilot for the first manned Skylab mission (SL-1/SL-2). He was a co-investigator on the M-509 astronaut maneuvering unit experiment which was flown in the Skylab Program, and collaborated on the development of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) used during Shuttle extra-vehicular activities (EVAs).
Challenger launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on February 3, 1984. The flight deployed two communications satellites, and flight-tested rendezvous sensors and computer programs for the first time.
This mission marked the first checkout of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) and Manipulator Foot Restraint (MFR). McCandless made the first untethered free flight on each of the two MMUs carried on board, thereby becoming the first person ever to make an untethered spacewalk.
After eight days in orbit, Challenger made the first landing on the runway at Kennedy Space Center on February 11, 1984.
On this five-day Discovery flight, launched on April 24, 1990 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the crew deployed the Hubble Space Telescope from their record-setting altitude of 380 miles (612 km).
Awards and honors
- Defense Distinguished Service Medal (1985)
- Legion of Merit (1988)
- National Defense Service Medal
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1974)
- NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (1985)
- NASA Space Flight Medal (1984 and 1990)
- American Astronautical Society Victor A. Prather Award (1975 and 1985)
- National Aeronautic Association Collier Trophy (1985)
- Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum Trophy (1985)
- U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame (2005)
- U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association (Class of 1958)
- U.S. Naval Institute
- Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
- Association for Computing Machinery
- National Audubon Society
McCandless was married to Bernice Doyle McCandless for 53 years, and the couple had two grown children. His recreational interests include electronics, photography, scuba diving, and flying. He also enjoys cross country skiing.
On September 30, 2010, McCandless launched a lawsuit against British singer Dido for unauthorized use of a photo of his 1984 space flight for the album art of her 2008 album Safe Trip Home, which showed McCandless “free flying” about 320 feet away from the Space Shuttle Challenger. The lawsuit - which also named Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment and Getty Images Inc. as defendants - does not allege copyright infringement, only infringement of his persona. This action was settled amicably on January 14, 2011.
Ironically, an August 2005 Smithsonian magazine article about the photo quoted McCandless saying that the subject's anonymity is its best feature. "I have the sun visor down, so you can't see my face, and that means it could be anybody in there. It's sort of a representation not of Bruce McCandless, but mankind."
McCandless wrote the foreword to the Apogee Books publication, Live TV From Orbit (ISBN 978-1926837-28-4), by Dwight Steven-Boniecki, released in 2014.
- "Dido sued by astronaut", MSN News, accessed 04/10/2010
- "Astronaut McCandless sues singer Dido over free flying photo", Business Week, accessed 04/10/2010
- McCandless v. Sony Music Entertainment et al., Case No. CV10-7323-RGK (C.D. Cal.) (Docket No. 4 [Notice Of Settlement And Dismissal With Prejudice], filed Jan. 14, 2011)
- Footloose, Smithsonian magazine, August 2005; accessed 09/10/2010
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