Organization

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

STS-41-B Destination:
Deploy 2 comm. satellites in orbit

STS-51-L Destination:
Deploy Tracking and Data Relay satellite, Teacher in Space Project

Born in South Carolina in 1950, Ronald became an MIT-trained physicist who specialized in laser research before joining NASA in the late 1970s.

In February 1984, he became just the second African American to reach space, serving as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.

On January 28, 1986, he was one of the seven crew members killed when the Challenger shockingly exploded 73 seconds after liftoff.

– Biography.com