National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
Stephen D. Thorne (Lieutenant Commander, USN)
NASA Astronaut (Deceased)
BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born February 11, 1953, in Frankfurt-on-Main, West Germany. Died May 24, 1986. He is survived by his wife, Sue. He enjoyed baseball, running, reading, and general aviation.
EDUCATION: Graduated from T.L. Hanna High School, Anderson, South Carolina, in 1971; received a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975.
ORGANIZATIONS: Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Life member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.
SPECIAL HONORS: Received Navy Commendation Medal in January 1986.
EXPERIENCE: Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, Thorne entered flight training and received his wings in December 1976. Following training in the F-4 Phantom, he joined Fighter Squadron 21 (VF-21) and deployed to the Western Pacific aboard the USS Ranger. After training at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1981, Thorne spent the next two years at Strike Aircraft Test at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, flying mostly ordnance and weapons systems tests in the F-4 and A-7 Corsair II. He completed F-18 Hornet transition training in October 1984 and joined Strike Fighter Squadron 132 (VFA-132) aboard USS Coral Sea until departing for NASA.
He accumulated over 2,500 hours and 200 carrier landings in approximately 30 different types of aircraft.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Thorne was selected as an astronaut by NASA in June 1985 and, in August, commenced a one-year training and evaluation program to qualify him for subsequent assignment as a pilot on future Space Shuttle flightcrews.
Lieutenant Commander Thorne was killed in an aircraft accident, in which he was a passenger, on May 24, 1986.