R.I.P. Steven Nagel

Steven Nagel's NASA official photo
Steven Nagel’s NASA official photo

On Thursday August 21, 2014 the former astronaut Steven Nagel passed away due to cancer. He’s survived by his wife Linda M. Godwin, also a former astronaut, and their two daughters.

Steven Ray Nagel was born on October 27, 1946 in Canton, Illinois, USA. He received a bachelor of science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1969 and a master of science in mechanical engineering at California State University, Fresno in 1978.

In 1969, Steven Nagel joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) program and began training as a pilot of military aircraft. In subsequent years, he accumulated a total of 9,400 flight hours, also as an instructor and test pilot.

In 1979, Steven Nagel became a NASA astronaut. After being part of the backup crew or the support crew in the first Space Shuttle missions, he flew in four different missions. In 1985, he was part of the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery in the STS-51-G mission. In 1985, he was part of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger in its last completed mission, the STS-61-A commanded by Hank Hartsfield. In 1991, he was the commander of the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in the STS-37 mission. In 1993, he was the commander of the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia in the STS-55 mission.

Steven Nagel retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1995 with the rank of colonel. In the following years, he worked as a manager at the Johnson Space Center and as a researcher pilot for the Aircraft Operations Division. In 2011 he moved with his wife to Columbia, Missouri, where they both became teachers at the University of Missouri.

Throughout his life, Steven Nagel has received many honors. Among them, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Meritorious Service Medal from the U.S. Air Force, NASA’s Space Flight Medal, Exceptional Service Medals and Outstanding Leadership Medal, and others. They show only in part his professionalism and his skills.

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