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Karol J. Bobko (Colonel, USAF, Ret.)

NASA Astronaut (former)


Col Karol Bobko, USAF - NASA Astronaut

Colonel Karol J. Bobko, USAF, Ret. - NASA Astronaut (former)

Born in New York, New York, on December 23, ‘37. Married F. Dianne Welsh of Denver, Colorado. They have a daughter and a son.

Graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, New York; BS from Air Force Academy in ‘59 & MS in Aerospace Engineering from University of Southern California in ‘70.

Awarded 3 NASA Space Flight Medals, 2 NASA Exceptional Service Medals & 6 JSC Group Achievement Awards; presented Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross & 2 Meritorious Service Medals (‘70 & ‘79). Also received the Air Force Academy Jabara Award for ‘83.

Was a member of the first graduating class of Air Force Academy. Subsequent to receiving his commission & navigator rating, attended pilot training at Bartow Air Base, Florida, & Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Completed flight training & received wings in ‘60.

From ‘61 to ‘65, flew F-100 & F-105 aircraft while assigned with 523d Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, & 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Seymore Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Attended Aerospace Research Pilots School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, & was assigned as an astronaut to the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program in ‘66.

Became a NASA astronaut in September ‘69. He was a crewmember on the highly successful Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMETA) - a 56-day ground simulation of the Skylab mission, enabling crewmen to collect medical experiments baseline data & evaluate equipment, operations & procedures.

Was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) completed in July ‘75. Subsequently, was a member of the support crew for the Space Shuttle Approach & Landing Tests conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He served alternately as CAPCOM & prime chase pilot during these Approach & Landing Test (ALT) flights.

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

A veteran of three space flights, has logged a total of 386 hours in Space. He was the pilot on STS-6 (April 4-9, ‘83) - & was the mission commander on STS-51D (April 12-19, ‘85) & STS-51J (October 3-7, ‘85).

Was pilot for STS-6, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 4, ‘83. During this maiden voyage of the Challenger, the crew deployed a large communications satellite (TDRS) the rocket stage (IUS) required to boost it to geosynchronous orbit. The crew also conducted the first shuttle spacewalk (EVA) & additionally conducted numerous other experiments in materials processing & recording of lightning activities from space. There were also three Getaway Specials activated on the flight. After 120 hours of orbital operations landed on the concrete runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 9, ‘83.

On his second mission, was commander of STS-51D launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 12, ‘85. The mission was to deploy 2 communications satellites, perform electrophoresis & 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, & operations with the remote manipulator arm. After 168 hours of orbital operations Discovery landed on Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center on April 19, ‘85.

Was next commander of STS-51J, the second Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 3, ‘85. This was the maiden voyage of the Atlantis. After 98 hours of orbital operations, Atlantis landed on Edwards Air Force Base Lakebed Runway 23 on October 7, ‘85.

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