Michael P. Anderson
Michael Phillip Anderson
December 25, 1959
Plattsburgh, New York,
|Died||February 1, 2003 (aged 43)|
|Alma mater||Washington, B.S. 1981|
Creighton, M.S. 1990
|Rank||Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force|
Time in space
|24d 18h 08min|
|Selection||1994 NASA Group 15|
Michael Phillip Anderson (December 25, 1959 – February 1, 2003) was a United States Air Force officer and NASA astronaut. Anderson and his six fellow crew members were killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the craft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Anderson served as the payload commander and lieutenant colonel in charge of science experiments on the Columbia. Anderson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Anderson was born in 1959 to Barbara Anderson and Bobbie Anderson, Michael Anderson was an only child and his father serviced jets on Plattsburgh Air Force Base near Plattsburgh, New York. Bobbie Anderson was transferred to Fairchild Air Force Base, about 12 miles away from Spokane, Washington, which Anderson spoke of as his hometown. He graduated from Cheney High School in Cheney, Washington, one of four African Americans in a class of 200 students.
In 1981, Anderson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Washington in Seattle, and in 1990 he was awarded Master of Science degree in physics from Creighton University in Omaha.
Upon Anderson's graduation from the University of Washington, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. After completing a year of technical training at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, he was assigned to Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. At Randolph he served as chief of communication maintenance for the 2015th Communication Squadron and later as director of information system maintenance for the 1920th Information System Group.
In 1986, he was selected to attend Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Upon graduation he was assigned to the 2d Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska as an EC-135 pilot, flying the Strategic Air Command's airborne command post code-named "Looking Glass." He completed his master's degree while stationed at Offutt.
Anderson reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995. He completed a year of training and evaluation, and was qualified for flight crew assignment as a mission specialist. Anderson was initially assigned technical duties in the Flight Support Branch of the Astronaut Office, but went on to log more than 593 hours in space aboard two Space Shuttle missions.
STS-89 Endeavour (January 22–31, 1998). Anderson was a mission specialist on STS-89, the eighth Shuttle-to-Mir Space Station docking mission, during which the crew delivered more than 9,000 pounds of scientific equipment, logistical hardware, and water.
In the fifth and last exchange of a U.S. astronaut, STS-89 delivered Andy Thomas to Mir and returned with David Wolf. The mission's duration was 8 days, 19 hours, and 47 seconds, traveling 3.6 million miles in 138 orbits of the Earth.
STS-107 Space Shuttle Columbia (January 16-February 1, 2003). Anderson served as payload commander and lieutenant colonel in charge of science experiments on the Columbia, NASA's oldest shuttle. On February 1, 2003, the shuttle was returning to Earth after a successful 16-day trip to orbit, where the crew had conducted more than 80 scientific experiments.
Unbeknownst to her crew, the orbiter had suffered critical damage during its launch on January 16, when foam from the fuel tank's insulation fell off and tore a hole in Columbia's left wing. During re-entry, the hole allowed super-hot atmospheric gases to penetrate the orbiter's wing, leading to its destruction. The mission's duration was 15 days, 22 hours, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the final launch of the Columbia, Anderson told reporters: "There's always that unknown."
Anderson was survived by his wife, Sandra Hawkins, and two daughters, Kaycee and Sydney. He was also survived by his parents and three sisters.
|Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut badge|
|Defense Distinguished Service Medal †||Defense Superior Service Medal||Meritorious Service Medal||Air Force Achievement Medal with cluster|
|National Defense Service Medal||Congressional Space Medal of Honor †||NASA Distinguished Service Medal †||NASA Space Flight Medal †|
|The † symbol indicates a posthumous award.|
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