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Vance DeVoe Brand

Command Module Pilot on the Apollo-Soyuz mission and Commander of the first operational space shuttle flight

Vance Brand

Biographical Data

Born May 9, 1931, in Longmont, Colorado

Married To Beverly Ann Whitnel
Children two daughters, four sons


Longmont (Colorado) High School

Bachelor of Science in Business University of Colorado (1953)
Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering University of Colorado (1960)
Master's in Business Administration UCLA (1964)

Military Career

Commissioned officer and naval aviator with the U.S. Marine Corps, 1953-1957.
Military assignments included a 15-month tour in Japan as a jet fighter pilot.

Following release from active duty, Brand continued in Marine Corps Reserve and Air National Guard jet fighter squadrons until 1964.

Interim Career

Flight test engineer for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, 1960-1966.

NASA Career

Selected as a pilot astronaut in April 1966 (while a civilian).

Crew member in the thermal vacuum chamber testing of the prototype Command Module.
Support crewman on Apollo 8 and 13.
Backup Command Module pilot for Apollo 15.
Backup Commander for Skylabs 3 and 4.

Launched on his first space flight on July 15, 1975, as Apollo Command Module pilot on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission.
This was the first ever meeting in space of American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts.
Other crewmen on this 9-day mission were: astronauts Thomas Stafford and Donald Slayton; cosmonauts Alexey Leonov and Valeriy Kubasov.
Six records for docked and group flight were set on the mission.
Apollo splashed down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii on July 25. Mission duration was 2l7 hours.

Commander of Columbia for STS-5, which launched on November 11, 1982.
The first fully operational flight of the Shuttle Transportation System, and the first NASA mission with a 4-man crew.
His crew comprised Colonel Robert Overmyer, pilot, and two mission specialists, Dr. Joseph Allen and Dr. William Lenoir.
Successfully deployed two commercial communications satellites -- for Satellite Business Systems Corporation and TELESAT -- from the Orbiter's payload bay.
Two records for mass to altitude were set on the mission.
The crew concluded the 5-day orbital flight of Columbia by landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California on November 16, 1982. Mission duration was 122 hours.

Commander of Challenger for STS 41-B, which launched on February 3, 1984.
His crew included Commander Robert Gibson, pilot, and 3 mission specialists, Captain Bruce McCandless, II, Dr. Ronald McNair, and Lt. Col. Robert Stewart.
This mission marked the first flight checkout of the Manned Maneuvering Unit and the Manipulator Foot Restraint.
The 8-day flight ended with the first Shuttle landing at the Kennedy Space Center on February 11, 1984. Mission duration was 191 hours.

Commander of Columbia for STS 35, which launched on the night of December 2, 1990.
Crewmen included the pilot, Colonel Guy Gardner; three mission specialists, Mike Lounge, Dr. Robert Parker, and Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman; and two payload specialists, Dr. Samuel Durrance and Dr. Ronald Parise.
The first shuttle flight dedicated to astronomy.
A night landing was made at Edwards Air Force Base on December 10, 1990. Mission duration was 215 hours.

Logged over 746 hours, more than 31 days and two hours, in space during his four missions.

Became Chief of Plans at the National Aerospace Plane Joint Program Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, in 1992.
Moved to California in 1994 to become Assistant Chief of Flight Operations at the Dryden Flight Research Center, then Acting Chief Engineer, Deputy Director for Aerospace Projects and finally Acting Associate Center Director for Programs.

Retired from NASA in January 2008.


American Astronautical Society
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Society of Experimental Test Pilots

Awards and Honors

JSC Certificate of Commendation (1970)
NASA Exceptional Service Medals (1974 & 1988)
NASA Distinguished Service Medals (1975 & 1992)
Zeta Beta Tau's Richard Gottheil Medal (1975)
Wright Brothers International Manned Space Flight Award (1975)
VFW National Space Award (1976 & 1984)
Sigma Nu Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award (1976)
Federation Aeronautique Internationale Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal (1976)
University of Colorado Alumnus of the Century (1976)
AIAA Special Presidential Citation (1977)
American Astronautical Society's Flight Achievement Award for 1976 (1977)
AIAA Haley Astronautics Award (1978)
JSC Special Achievement Award (1978)
FAI De La Vaulx Medal (1983)
NASA Space Flight Medals (1983, 1984, 1992)
Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at University of Colorado (1984)
De Molay Hall of Honor (1989)
FAI Komarov Awards (1983 & 1991)
University of Colorado George Norlin Award (1991)
Harmon Trophy (Astronaut) (1993)
De Molay Legion of Honor (1993)
International Space Hall of Fame (1996)
U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame (1997)
Meritorious Executive, U.S. Senior Executive Service (1997)
Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from University of Colorado (2000)
International Aerospace Hall of Fame (2001)
Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame (2005)
Russian Republic Tsiolkovski Award (2005)
ASE Crystal Helmet Award (2005)

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center


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This page was last updated on 11/02/2017.