Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
Bryan D. O’Connor was pilot on STS-61B Atlantis in 1985 and was crew commander on STS-40 Columbia in 1991.
He was born September 6, 1946, in Orange, California. He received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and a minor in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1968. O’Connor also completed a master’s degree in Aeronautical Systems from the University of West Florida in 1970. He graduated in 1972 from the Naval Safety School at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and in 1976 from the Naval Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland.
O’Connor began active duty with the United States Marine Corps in June 1968 following graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. When informed of his selection to NASA’s Astronaut Program in 1980, he was serving as the Deputy Program Manager for the AV-8 program at the Naval Air Systems Command in Washington, D.C.
A veteran of two space flights, O’Connor has over 386 hours in space, covering five and three quarter million miles in 253 orbits of the earth.
His first flight, STS-61B Atlantis, was the 22nd shuttle flight and was the second-ever night shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It was the heaviest payload weight carried to orbit by the space shuttle to date, and the first flight to deploy four satellites.
STS-40 Columbia was the first Space Shuttle mission dedicated to life science studies. During the nine-day mission, the crew performed an extensive series of biomedical experiments, safely and successfully completing their mission objectives.
O’Connor left NASA in August 1991 to become commanding officer of the Marine Aviation Detachment at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River. After this 10-month assignment, he returned to NASA Headquarters in Washington, retiring from the Marine Corps to become the Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Flight. In September of 1993, he was named Acting Space Station Program Director. He left NASA again in February 1996 to become an aerospace consultant and in 1999, he joined Futron Corporation. In June 2002, O’Connor returned to NASA for a third time, this time to serve as Chief of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Bryan O’Connor was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 3, 2008.