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Bruce McCandless II

Bruce McCandless II (Space)

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Bruce McCandless II (born Jun. 8, 1937 (84 years ago) in Boston, Massachusetts) is a former naval aviator with the United States Navy and former NASA astronaut. During the first of his two Space Shuttle (8 pics) missions he made the first untethered, free flight using the Manned Maneuvering Unit.

NASA career

McCandless was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in Apr. 1966 (55 years ago). He was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 14 mission, served as CAPCOM during the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstrong first set his foot on the moon and was backup pilot for the first manned Skylab mission (SL-1/SL-2). He was a co-investigator on the M-509 astronaut maneuvering unit experiment which was flown in the Skylab Program, and collaborated on the development of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) used during Shuttle EVAs.

He was responsible for crew inputs to the development of hardware and procedures for the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), Space Telescope, the Solar Maximum Repair Mission, and the Space Station Program.

McCandless logged over 312 hours in space, including four hours of MMU flight time. He flew as a mission specialist on STS-41-B and STS-31.


Challenger launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on Feb. 3, 1984 (37 years ago). The flight deployed two communications satellites, and flight-tested rendezvous sensors and computer programs for the first time.

This mission marked the first checkout of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) and Manipulator Foot Restraint (MFR). McCandless made the first, untethered, free flight on each of the two MMUs carried on board.

After eight days in orbit, Challenger made the first landing on the runway at Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 11, 1984 (37 years ago).

British singer Dido used the picture (wallpaper) of McCandless flying the MMU as a cover for her latest album Safe Trip Home.


On this five-day Discovery flight, launched on Apr. 24, 1990 (31 years ago) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the crew deployed the Hubble Space Telescope from their record-setting altitude of 380 miles (612 km).

Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on Apr. 29, 1990 (31 years ago).

Awards and honors

Legion of Merit (1988, 33 years ago)
Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (1985, 36 years ago)
National Defense Service Medal
American Expeditionary Service Medal
NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1974, 47 years ago)
American Astronautical Society Victor A. Prather Award (1975,1985)
NASA Space Flight Medal (1984, 37 years ago)
NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (1985, 36 years ago)
National Aeronautic Association Collier Trophy (1985, 36 years ago)
Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum Trophy (1985, 36 years ago).




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