TheJournal.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 24 January, 2018
Advertisement

Bruce McCandless, the first astronaut to fly untethered in space, has died

He was famously photographed in 1984 flying with a hefty spacewalker’s jetpack.

Obit Space Bruce McCandless Bruce McCandless' iconic spacewalker image from 1984 Source: NASA via AP

NASA ASTRONAUT BRUCE McCandless, the first person to fly freely and untethered in space, has died. He was 80.

McCandless died yesterday in California, NASA’s Johnson Space Center announced this evening. No cause of death was given.

He was famously photographed in 1984 flying with a hefty spacewalker’s jetpack, alone in the cosmic blackness above a blue Earth. He traveled more than 300 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger during the spacewalk.

McCandless said he wasn’t nervous about the historic spacewalk.

“I was grossly over-trained. I was just anxious to get out there and fly. I felt very comfortable … It got so cold my teeth were chattering and I was shivering, but that was a very minor thing,” he told the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, in 2006.

Obit Space Bruce McCandless McCandless' official Space Shuttle portrait Source: NASA via AP

McCandless helped develop the jetpack and was later part of the shuttle crew that delivered the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit.

McCandless also served as the Mission Control capsule communicator in Houston as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969.

Born in Boston, McCandless graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Long Beach, California.

He graduated from the Naval Academy, earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Houston at Clear Lake in 1987.

Obit Space Bruce McCandless McCandless ventured further away from the confines and safety of his ship than any previous astronaut had ever been. Source: NASA via AP

McCandless was a naval aviator who participated in the Cuban blockade in the 1962 missile crisis. McCandless was selected for astronaut training during the Gemini program, and he was a backup pilot for the first manned Skylab mission in 1973.

Survivors include his wife, Ellen Shields McCandless of Conifer, Colorado, two children and two grandchildren.

Read: ‘They’ve two Christmasses. One with us and another with their birth family’

More: ‘You should be proud’: Taoiseach visits Irish troops serving in Lebanon this Christmas

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (21)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

Leave a commentcancel

Trending Tags