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Donald Ray McMonagle

three-time Space Shuttle astronaut

NASA photo of Donald McMonagle

Biographical Data

Born May 14, 1952, in Flint, Michigan

Married Janyce Morton
Children two


Graduated from Hamady High School in 1970

Bachelor of Science in Astronautical Engineering United States Air Force Academy, 1974
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering California State University-Fresno, 1985

Military Experience

Completed pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, in 1975.
F-4 training at Homestead AFB, Florida, followed by a one-year tour of duty at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.

Assigned to Luke AFB, Arizona, as an F-15 instructor pilot in 1979.

Entered USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, in 1981.

Operations officer and project test pilot for the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration F-16 aircraft, 1982-1985.

Attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 1985-1986.
Assigned as operations officer of the 6513th Test Squadron at Edwards AFB.

NASA Career

Selected as an astronaut in June 1987.

Mission specialist aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on Department of Defense mission STS-39 in April 1991. Crew deployed, operated, and retrieved a remotely-controlled spacecraft and conducted several science experiments including research on both natural and induced phenomena in the Earth's atmosphere.

Pilot on STS-54 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor in January 1993. Deployed a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, and collected information about celestial x-rays using a Diffuse X-Ray Spectrometer.

Commander of STS-66 Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 (ATLAS-3) aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in November 1994.

In January 1996, assigned to establish a new Extra-Vehicular Activity Project Office responsible for managing all NASA resources associated with space suits and tools used to conduct space walks in support of Space Shuttle and International Space Station operations.

On August 15, 1997, became Manager of Launch Integration at the Kennedy Space Center, in which capacity he is responsible for final Shuttle preparation, launch execution, and return of the orbiter to Kennedy following landings at any other location. As chair of the Mission Management Team he was the final authority for launch decision.

After retiring as a Colonel from the Air Force in June of 1998, he completed his government service with NASA in January of 2000 and went on to work for Pratt & Whitney's Space Propulsion business unit.


Association of Graduates, U.S. Air Force Academy
Association of Space Explorers
Society of Experimental Test Pilots

Honors and Awards

Air Force Commendation Medal (3)
Air Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross
Liethen-Tittle Award as Top Graduate from USAF Test Pilot School
Meritorious Service Medal
NASA Exceptional Service Medal
NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal
NASA Space Flight Medal (3)

Astronaut Biographies

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This page was last updated on 05/13/2018.