Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Francis Richard "Dick" Scobee (May 19, 1939 - January 28, 1986) was an American astronaut who died commanding the Space Shuttle Challenger, which suffered catastrophic booster failure during launch of the STS-51-L mission.
Born in Cle Elum, Washington, Scobee enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1957, where he served as a reciprocating engine mechanic at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas. While off duty, he attended college, and eventually received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona in 1965; the same year, he was awarded an officer's commission. Afterward, he attended flight school and earned his wings in 1966, serving as a combat aviator in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and other decorations.
After his tour of duty, Scobee attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, just outside Los Angeles, California. Upon graduation in 1972, he became an Air Force test pilot, logging thousands of hours of flight time in dozens of aircraft, including the Boeing 747, the experimental X-24B lifting body, the F-111 Aardvark, and the gigantic C-5 Galaxy. Scobee retired a Lieutenant colonel.
Selected for NASA's astronaut program in January 1978, Scobee completed his training in August 1979. While awaiting his first orbital spaceflight mission, he served as an instructor pilot for the shuttle's 747 carrier aircraft. In April 1984, Scobee piloted Challenger mission STS-41-C, which successfully deployed one satellite and repaired another.
Scobee was elevated to the role of spacecraft commander for the ill-fated 51-L mission. The mission, designed to deploy a satellite to study the approaching Halley's Comet and to inaugurate the Teacher in Space Project, was delayed numerous times due to bad weather and technical glitches. When the mission finally did lift off the pad, an O-ring seal failure caused a massive explosion 73 seconds into the flight, killing Scobee and the other six members of the crew; the tragedy, viewed live on national television, prompted several days of national mourning, as well as a major shakeup at NASA.
Laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, Scobee was survived by his wife June (nee Kent) and two children, Kathie and Richard. In his spare time, he loved all forms of outdoor activity, as well as flying, oil painting, woodworking, riding motorcycles, playing racquetball, and running. In 2004, Scobee was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details