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Francis R. (Dick) Scobee (Mr.)

NASA Astronaut (Deceased)

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Pictures of the Dick Scobee - Official portrait of Astronaut Francis R. (Dick) Scobee - Biography Francis R. (Dick) Scobee (Mr.)

Pictures of the Dick Scobee - Official portrait of Astronaut Francis R. (Dick) Scobee

NASA Johnson Space Center (NASA-JSC)
Dick Scobee came into the world, as Francis Richard Scobee, on May 19, 1939. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis W. Scobee, Dick was born in Cle Elum, Washington. As a youth he was fascinated by airplanes, so after graduating from Auburn High School (Auburn, WA) in 1957, he joined the Air Force and became a reciprocating engine mechanic.

During his posting at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas, he attended night school and acquired 2 years of college credit which led to his selection for the Airman's Education and Commissioning Program. He received his bachelor of science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1965. Continuing his Air Force career, he received his wings in 1966 and went on to several assignments, including a combat your in Vietnam, where he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

Flying Higher

Returning to the United States, he attended the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. During his career, he logged more than 6000 hours in 45 types of aircraft, including the Boeing 747, the X-24B, the transonic aircraft technology (TACT) F-111 and the C-5.

Dick has been quoted by the Challenger Center as saying, "When you find something you really like to do, and you're willing to risk the consequences of that, you really probably out to go do it." So, when he had the opportunity to apply for a position with NASA's astronauy corp, he jumped at it. He was selected in January of 1978, and completed his training and evaluation peroid in August of 1979. Besides his duties as an astronaut, Mr. Scobee was an Instructor Pilot on the NASA/Boeing 747 shuttle carrier airplane.

Beyond the Sky

He first flew into space as pilot of the Space Shuttle Challenger during STS-41C which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 6, 1984. Crewmembers included spacecraft commander, Captain Robert L. Crippen, and three mission specialists, Mr. Terry J. Hart, Dr. G. D. "Pinky" Nelson, and Dr. J. D. A. "Ox" van Hoften. During this mission the crew successfully deployed the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF): retrieved the ailing Solar Maximum Satellite, repaired the orbiting Challenger on board, and replaced it in orbit using the robot arm called the Remote Manipulator System (RMS). The mission also included flight testing of Manned Maneuvering Units (MMUs) in two extravehicular activities (EVAs): operation of the Cinema 360 and IMAX Camera Systems, and a Bee Hive Honeycomb Structures student experiment. Mission duration was 7 days before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 13, 1984.

That year, NASA honored him with the Space Flight medal and two Distinguished Service awards.

A Final Flight

His next mission was as spacecraft commander of STS-51L, also aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. That mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 11:38:00 EST on January 28, 1986. The crew on board the Orbiter Challenger included the pilot, Commander M. J. Smith (USN) (pilot), three mission specialists, Dr. R. E. McNair, Lieutenant Colonel E. S. Onizuka (USAF),and Dr. J. A. Resnik, as well as two civilian payload specialists, Mr. G. B. Jarvis and Mrs. S. C. McAuliffe. One thing made this mission unique. It was scheduled to be the first flight of a new program called TISP, the Teacher In Space Program. The Challenger was scheduled to carry Sharon Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher to fly in space.

Mr. Dick Scobee died along with his crew when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded seventy three seconds into the mission. He is survived by his wife, the former June Kent, and their children, Kathie Scobee Fulgham and Richard Scobee.

In May of 2004, Dick Scobee was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

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