[Bryan D. O'Connor] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Bryan D. O'Connor (Colonel, USMC)
NASA Astronaut

Born September 6, 1946, in Orange, California, but considers Twentynine Palms, California, to be his hometown. His parents, Colonel (USMC, Retired) and Mrs. Thomas J. O'Connor, reside in Twentynine Palms, California.

Brown hair; hazel eyes; 6 feet; 172 pounds.

Graduated from Twentynine Palms High School, Twentynine Palms, California, in 1964; received a bachelor of science degree in Engineering (minor in Aeronautical Engineering) from the United States Naval Academy in 1968 and a master of science in Aeronautical Systems from the University of West Florida in 1970.

Married to the former Susan A. Reid of Vienna, Virginia. Her mother, Mrs. Emily Reid, resides in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Thomas R., September 10, 1970; and Kevin D., May 14, 1973.

He enjoys model ship/airplane building, scuba diving, rowing, racquetball, squash, swimming, and music.

Marine Basic School Platoon Honor Man; Test Pilot School Distinguished Graduate Award; Defense Superior Service Medal. Recipient of NASA Space Flight Medal (1985), and two NASA Exceptional Service Medals (1988, 1989).


O'Connor began active duty with the United States Marine Corps in June 1968 following graduation from the Naval Academy at Annapolis. He completed Marine Infantry Officer's Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, in December 1968, and then reported to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training, receiving his wings in June 1970. He served as a squadron pilot with VMA-214 at El Toro, California, where he flew the A-4E and A-4F Skyhawk light-attack aircraft. In July 1971, he returned to Kingsville, Texas as an advanced flight training instructor in the TA-4J trainer and was subsequently assigned to VMA-513, the first Harrier squadron home-based at Beaufort, South Carolina. As a squadron pilot, he deployed with VMA-513 to Iwakuni, Japan, and Kwangju, Korea, and completed a 6-month cruise aboard USS GUAM in the Mediterranean. O'Connor is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School and served as a test pilot with the Naval Air Test Center's Strike Test Directorate at Patuxent River, Maryland. During this 3-1/2 year assignment, he participated in evaluations of various conventional and VSTOL aircraft. From June 1977 to June 1979, he was the Naval Air Test Center project pilot for all AV-8 Harrier projects, including the first Navy preliminary evaluation of the YAV-8B advanced Harrier prototype. When informed of his selection by NASA, he was serving as the Harrier class desk officer at the Naval Air Systems Command.

He has logged more than 5,000 hours flying time -- including 4,300 hours in jet aircraft.

O'Connor was selected as an astronaut in May 1980. He was a T-38 chase pilot for STS-3, and was CAPCOM for STS-5 through STS-9.

O'Connor was assigned as pilot on STS 61-M. When that mission was canceled after the Challenger accident, he served as Assistant to the Shuttle Program Manager from March 1986 until February 1988, and as Chairman of NASA's Space Flight Safety Panel from September 1986 to February 1989. From August 1989 to April 1990 he was Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations. He is a veteran of two space missions and has logged over 383 hours in space. In 1985 he served as pilot on the crew of STS 61-B, and in 1991 commanded a seven person crew on STS-40.

On his first mission O'Connor was pilot on the crew of STS 61-B. The Orbiter Atlantis was launched at night from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 26, 1985. During the mission the crew deployed the MORELOS-B, AUSSAT II, and SATCOM K-2 communications satellites, conducted two six-hour space walks to demonstrate Space Station construction techniques with the EASE/ACCESS experiments, operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis (CFES) experiment for McDonnell Douglas and a Getaway Special (GAS) container for Telesat, Canada, conducted several Mexican Payload Specialist Experiments for the Mexican Government, and tested the Orbiter Experiments Digital Autopilot (OEX DAP). This was the heaviest payload weight carried to orbit by the Space Shuttle to date. After completing 108 orbits of the earth in 165 hours, STS 61-B Atlantis landed on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on December 3, 1985.

More recently, O'Connor commanded the crew of STS-40 Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-1), a dedicated space and life sciences mission, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 5, 1991. SLS-1 was a nine day mission during which crew members performed experiments which explored how humans, animals and cells respond to microgravity and readapt to earth's gravity on return. Other payloads included experiments designed to investigate materials science, cosmic radiation, and the accelerations on the vehicle resulting from various maneuvers on orbit. Following 146 orbits of the earth, Columbia and her crew landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on June 14, 1991, to perform the first high speed nosewheel steering test on a concrete runway. Completion of this flight logged him an additional 218 hours in space.


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