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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 13 June 1945New York, New York, USA
Birth NameRonald John Grabe
Nickname Ron

Mini Bio (1)

Ronald J. Grabe was born on June 13, 1945 in New York, New York, USA as Ronald John Grabe. He is married to Lynn O'Keefe. They have three children.

Spouse (1)

Lynn O'Keefe (? - present) (3 children)

Trivia (10)

Grabe became a NASA astronaut in August 1981. He served as a chief verification pilot for (Space Transportation System) STS-3 and STS-4 entry guidance, navigation and control simulation testing; as the Deputy Manager for Operations Integration, Space Shuttle Program Office; and subsequently as the Chief of Training within the Astronaut Office. A veteran of four space flights, Grabe served as pilot on STS 51-J (October 3-7, 1985) and STS-30 (May 4-8, 1989), and was the mission commander on STS-42 (January 22-30, 1992) and STS-57 (June 21 to July 1, 1993).
As a test pilot, Grabe logged more than 5,500 hours flying time, and as an astronaut logged over 627 hours in space.
His educational experience included graduation from Stuyvesant High School, New York, in 1962; a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering science from the United States Air Force Academy in 1966; and studied aeronautics as a Fulbright Scholar at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, West Germany, in 1967.
His special honors include The Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Liethen-Tittle Award (for Outstanding Student at the USAF Test Pilot School), the Royal Air Force Cross, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and NASA Space Flight Medals.
He served as an exchange test pilot with the Royal Air Force at Boscombe Down, United Kingdom, from 1976 to 1979. During this tour of duty, he served as the chief project pilot for the Royal Air Force Harrier and the Royal Navy Sea Harrier.
His service on STS-51J, the second Space Shuttle Department of Defense mission, began with a launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in 1985. This was the maiden voyage of the Atlantis, the final Orbiter in the Shuttle fleet, and clocked 98 hours of orbital operations.
Grabe participated in the STS-30 Atlantis launched from Kennedy in 1989. During the four-day mission, the crew successfully deployed the Magellan Venus-exploration spacecraft, the first U.S. planetary science mission launched since 1978, and the first planetary probe to be deployed from the Shuttle. Magellan arrived at Venus in mid-1990, and mapped over 95 percent of the surface of Venus. Magellan has been one of NASA's most successful scientific missions and continues to operate, gaining information about the Venetian atmosphere and magnetic field. Following 64 orbits of the Earth, this exciting and important mission clocked almost 97 hours.
Grabe further participated in the STS-42 Discovery shuttle launched from Kennedy in 1992. 55 major experiments conducted in the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 module were provided by investigators from eleven countries, and represented a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. During 128 orbits of the Earth, the seven-person crew accomplished the mission's primary objective of investigating the effects of microgravity on materials processing and life sciences. In this unique laboratory in space, the crew worked around-the-clock in two shifts. Experiments investigated the microgravity effects on the growth of protein and semiconductor crystals. Biological experiments on the effects of zero gravity on plants, tissues, bacteria, insects and human vestibular response were also conducted. This eight-day mission clocked over 193 hours.
Grabe's fourth and final mission was on the shuttle Endeavour; its primary mission was to retrieve the European Retrievable Carrier satellite. Also, STS-57 featured the first flight of the Spacehab, a commercially provided mid-deck augmentation module for the conduct of microgravity experiments. Spacehab carried 22 individual flight experiments in materials processing and human factors. A spacewalk was conducted on this flight as part of an ongoing program to evaluate extravehicular activity (EVA) techniques for future missions. The Space Shuttle Endeavour mission lasted almost 240 hours.
In 1994, Grabe left NASA and the Air Force to join Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Virginia.

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