Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts
John Blaha served as pilot on STS-29 and STS-33, spacecraft commander on STS-43 and STS-58, a scientist on the Russian Space Station Mir, and a mission specialist on STS-79 and STS-81.
Blaha was born August 26, 1942, in San Antonio, Texas. He received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science from the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in 1965 and a master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 1966.
Blaha, also a colonel, served in many leadership positions from 1965 to 1980 including a USAF fighter pilot, test pilot, and combat pilot, completing 361 combat missions in Vietnam. He logged more than 7,000 hours of flying time in 34 different aircraft.
Blaha served as Chairman of the NASA Space Flight Safety Panel, and was a member of NASA’s Space Shuttle Improvement Panel. In addition, he led the design, development, and integration of the Orbiter Head Up Display System, and led the development of contingency abort procedures, which significantly improved crew survivability in the event of multiple main engine failures during ascent.
John Blaha was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 3, 2008. He currently serves on the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s Board of Directors.