RELEASE: 94-029 April 5, 1994
SHUTTLE ASTRONAUT GRABE MOVES TO ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP.
Veteran Space Shuttle Astronaut Ronald J. Grabe will leave NASA and the Air Force to join Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, Va., effective April 11.
Grabe, a four-time Shuttle flyer -- twice as pilot and twice as commander -- will retire from the Air Force with the rank of Colonel and become Vice President, Business Development for Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Launch Systems Group. At OSC, Grabe will assist in the development of launch vehicles and marketing strategy. He also will serve as the link with customers on future projects.
"We certainly will miss Ron. Not only is he a superb Shuttle commander, but he is a great technical manager as well," Flight Crew Operations Director David C. Leestma said. "It's a credit to the space industry that Ron's wealth of experience and knowledge will not be lost."
Grabe's first Shuttle flight in October 1985, STS 51-J, was a dedicated Department of Defense mission on the maiden voyage of Shuttle Atlantis. His second flight in May 1989 was on the STS-30 mission of Atlantis to deploy the Magellan probe, which has mapped more than 95 percent of the surface of Venus since arriving at the planet in 1990. The spacecraft continues to gather data on atmospheric conditions, as well as the planet's magnetic field.
Grabe's third mission in January 1992 was aboard Discovery on the STS-42 flight. The first International Microgravity Laboratory Mission (IML-1) was his first as commander. The crew worked in two shifts in the Spacelab module investigating the effects of microgravity on materials processing and life sciences in the course of more than
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In June 1993, Grabe served as Commander of the STS-57 mission aboard Endeavour. The multi-faceted mission included the first flight of the pressurized Spacehab module carrying 22 flight experiments in materials processing and life sciences. In addition, Grabe's crew retrieved the free-flying European Retrievable Carrier previously deployed during the
STS-46 mission in August 1992. A spacewalk was conducted during the flight to evaluate various techniques for use on future missions.
Most recently, Grabe has served as a member of the Vehicle Review Board for the International Space Station.
"Ron has been a talented and insightful team member from the early days of Space Shuttle through four highly successful space flights as a crew member," said Robert L. "Hoot" Gibson, Chief of the Astronaut Office. "He has contributed greatly to our nation's space efforts and we wish him every possible success in his future endeavors."
Grabe was selected to be an astronaut in 1980. Prior to joining NASA, Grabe was an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Since
graduation from the Air Force Academy in 1966, he has logged more than 5,500 hours flying time in the F-100, F-111 and A-7 aircraft . Grabe flew 200 combat missions while assigned to the third Tactical Fighter Wing at Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam. He also served as a Royal Air Force Exchange Test Pilot at Boscombe Down, England.
In addition to his bachelor of science degree in engineering science from the Air Force Academy, Grabe studied aeronautics as a Fullbright Scholar at Technische Hochschule,
Darmstadt, Germany. He was born in New York City in 1945.- end -
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