Karol J. Bobko
|Karol J. Bobko|
|USAF / NASA Astronaut|
December 23, 1937 |
New York City, U.S.
|Karol Joseph Bobko|
|USAFA, B.S. 1959
USC, M.S. 1970
Time in space
|16d 02h 03m|
|Selection||1966 USAF MOL Group 2
1969 NASA Group 7
|Missions||STS-6, STS-51-D, STS-51-J|
|Retirement||January 1, 1989|
Early life and education
Bobko was born on December 23, 1937, in New York City, New York to a family with Polish and Lithuanian roots. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, New York, in 1955, then received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Air Force Academy in 1959, and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1970.
Bobko was a member of the first graduating class of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Subsequent to receiving his commission and navigator rating, he attended pilot training at Bartow Air Base, Florida, and Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. He completed his flight training and received his pilot wings in 1960.
From 1961 to 1965, he flew F-100 and F-105 aircraft while assigned as a pilot with the 523d Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, and the 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. He attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was assigned as an astronaut to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program in 1966.
Bobko became a NASA astronaut in September 1969 after the cancellation of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program. He was a crewmember on the highly successful Skylab Medical Experiment Altitude Test (SMEAT) -- a 56-day ground simulation of the Skylab mission, enabling crewmen to collect medical experiments baseline data and evaluate equipment, operations and procedures.
Bobko was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project (ASTP). This historic first international manned space flight was completed in July 1975. Subsequently, he was a member of the support crew for the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests conducted at Edwards Air Force Base. He served alternately as CAPCOM and prime chase pilot during these Approach and Landing Test (ALT) flights.
A veteran of three space flights, Bobko logged a total of 386 hours in space. He was the pilot on STS-6 (April 4–9, 1983); and was the mission commander on STS-51-D (April 12–19, 1985) and STS-51-J (October 3–7, 1985).
Bobko was pilot for STS-6, which launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on April 4, 1983. During the maiden voyage of Challenger, the crew deployed a large communications satellite (TDRS-1) and the rocket stage (Inertial Upper Stage) required to boost it to geosynchronous orbit. The STS-6 crew also conducted the first Shuttle spacewalk (EVA) and additionally conducted numerous other experiments in materials processing and the recording of lightning activities from space. There were also three Getaway Specials activated on the flight. After 120 hours of orbital operations, Challenger landed on the concrete runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California, on April 9, 1983.
On his second mission, Bobko was the commander of STS-51-D which launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 12, 1985. The mission was to deploy two communications satellites, perform electrophoresis and echocardiograph operations in space, in addition to accomplishing other experiments. When one of the communications satellites malfunctioned, a daring attempt was made to activate the satellite which required an additional EVA, rendezvous, and operations with the remote manipulator arm. After 168 hours of orbital operations, Discovery landed on Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center on April 19, 1985.
Bobko's final flight was as commander of STS-51-J, the second Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center on October 3, 1985. This was the maiden voyage of Atlantis. After 98 hours of orbital operations, Atlantis landed on Edwards Air Force Base Lakebed Runway 23 on October 7, 1985. Bobko became the first person to fly on three different Space Shuttles.
In 1988, Bobko retired from NASA and the Air Force to join the firm of Booz Allen Hamilton, in Houston, Texas. At Booz Allen he was a principal and managed efforts dealing with human space flight. His areas of emphasis were: high performance training simulation, hardware and software systems engineering, spacecraft checkout and testing, space station development and program integration.
In 2000, Bobko joined SPACEHAB, Inc. in Houston, Texas where he was Vice President for Strategic Programs. He led an organization which develops concepts, processes and hardware for future spaceflight applications.
In 2005, Bobko joined Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as Program Manager for the NASA Ames Research Center Simulation Laboratories (SimLabs) contract. The organization that he leads is responsible for developing and integrating hardware and software for a wide variety of simulations, including control system and inceptor design, air traffic management concept research, human factors research, and cockpit display evaluations. SAIC staff are also responsible for operational support of simulations, including the large amplitude Vertical Motion Simulator and several high fidelity flight simulators.
He is married to F. Dianne Welsh, with two grown children: Michelle A. and Paul J.
Awards and honors
- Defense Superior Service Medal
- Legion of Merit
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Defense Meritorious Service Medal
- Meritorious Service Medals (2; 1970 and 1979)
- NASA Exceptional Service Medals (2)
- NASA Space Flight Medals (3)
- Johnson Space Center Group Achievement Awards (6)
- Air Force Academy Jabara Award (1983)
- Cradle of Aviation Museum Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame
- U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame (May 7, 2011).
- Karol J. Bobko (Colonel, USAF, Ret.) - NASA Astronaut
- Lecture of NASA Astronaut Karol J. Bobko
- Visit of Dr. Simon P. Worden, Director of the NASA Ames Research Center, and COL Karol J. Bobko, Former NASA Astronaut
- Blakeslee, Sandra. "Astronauts return from secret" (sic) The New York Times, 8 October 1985.
- Todd Halvorson (2011-01-11). "2 head for U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame". Florida Today. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
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