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Biographical Data

Bryan O'Connor (NASA Photo S90-41751)


PERSONAL DATA: Born September 6, 1946, in Orange, California, but considers Twentynine Palms, California, to be his hometown. Bryan and his wife, Susan, have two married sons, Thomas and Kevin, and three granddaughters, Ella, Riley and Colby. The O'Connor family enjoys hiking, photography, artisan bread baking, music and gardening.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Twentynine Palms High School, Twentynine Palms, California, in 1964; received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering (minor in Aeronautical Engineering) from the United States Naval Academy in 1968 and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Systems from the University of West Florida in 1970. He graduated from the Naval Safety School at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, in 1972 and from the Naval Test Pilot School, Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, in 1976.

SPECIAL HONORS: Naval Safety School Top Graduate; Naval Test Pilot School Distinguished Graduate Award; Defense Superior Service Medal; Distinguished Flying Cross; NASA Distinguished Service Medal; NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal; NASA Exceptional Service Medal; NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.

EXPERIENCE: O'Connor began active duty with the United States Marine Corps in June 1968 following graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He received his Naval Aviator's wings in June 1970, and served as an attack pilot, flying the A-4 Skyhawk and the AV-8A Harrier on land and sea assignments in the United States, Europe and the Western Pacific. O'Connor served as a test pilot with the Naval Air Test Center from 1976 to 1979. He participated in flying qualities, performance, carrier suitability, weapons and systems testing evaluations of various conventional and VSTOL aircraft, including the A-4, OV-10, AV-8 and X-22 VSTOL research aircraft. When informed of his selection to NASA's Astronaut Program in 1980, he was serving as the Deputy Program Manager (Acquisition) for the AV-8 program at the Naval Air Systems Command in Washington, D.C.

NASA EXPERIENCE: O'Connor served in a variety of research development test and evaluation roles in three tours at NASA, covering 24 years between 1980 and his retirement as NASA's Chief of Safety and Mission Assurance in August 2011.

As of this writing, O'Connor has flown more than 5,000 hours in over 40 types of aircraft and is a veteran of two space shuttle flights.

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-61B Atlantis (November 26 to December 3, 1985). O'Connor served as pilot on this satellite deploy and flight control test and evaluation flight. After completing 108 orbits of the Earth, Atlantis returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base.

STS-40 Columbia (June 5 to June 14, 1991). O'Connor served as commander of the first space shuttle mission dedicated fully to life science studies. After 145 orbits of the Earth, Columbia returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base.