[Karol Bobko] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Karol J. Bobko (Colonel, USAF)
NASA Astronaut

Born in New York, New York, on December 23, 1937. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Bobko, reside in Gulf Harbors, Florida.

Blond hair; blue eyes; height: 5 feet 11 inches; weight: 195 pounds.

Graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, New York; received a bachelor of science degree from the Air Force Academy in 1959 and a master of science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1970.

Married to the former F. Dianne Welsh of Denver, Colorado. Her mother, Mrs. Ann Frances Welsh, resides in Denver.

Michelle A., February 8, 1963; Paul J., December 1, 1965.

Awarded three NASA Space Flight Medals, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals and six JSC Group Achievement Awards; presented the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross and two Meritorious Service Medals (1970 and 1979). He also received the Air Force Academy Jabara Award for 1983.

Bobko, an Air Force Colonel, was a member of the first graduating class of the 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 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 Seymore Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. He attended the Aerospace Research Pilots School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was assigned as an astronaut to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program in 1966.

He has logged over 6,600 hours flight time in the F-100, F-104, F-105, T-33, T-38, and other aircraft.

Colonel Bobko became a NASA astronaut in September 1969. He was a crew member on the highly successful Skylab Medical Experiments 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, California. He served alternately as CAPCOM and prime chase pilot during these Approach and Landing Test (ALT) flights.

In preparation for the first flight of Columbia (STS-1), Colonel Bobko served as the lead astronaut in the test and checkout group at Kennedy Space Center.

Colonel Bobko was pilot for STS-6, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 4, 1983. During this maiden voyage of the spacecraft Challenger, the crew deployed a large communications satellite (TDRS) and the rocket stage (IUS) 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 STS-6 landed on the concrete runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 9, 1983.

On his second mission Colonel Bobko was the commander of STS 51-D which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, 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 the Kennedy Space Center on April 19, 1985.

Colonel Bobko was next commander of STS 51-J, the second Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 3, 1985. This was the maiden voyage of the Atlantis, the final Orbiter in the Shuttle fleet. After 98 hours of orbital operations, Atlantis landed on Edwards Air Force Base Lakebed Runway 23 on October 7, 1985.

With the completion of this flight Colonel Bobko has logged a total of 386 hours in space.

Currently with Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Houston, Texas.


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