National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Deploy 2 comm. satellites in orbit
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.