Bryan O’Connor

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.

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.

At NASA O'Connor served in a variety of research development test and evaluation roles in three tours, covering a total of 24 years between 1980 and his retirement as NASA's Chief of Safety and Mission Assurance in August 2011. On Shuttle flight STS-61B Atlantis (November 26 to December 3, 1985), O'Connor served as pilot. After completing 108 orbits of the Earth, Atlantis returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base. On Shuttle flight STS-40 Columbia (June 5 to June 14, 1991), O'Connor served as commander. After 145 orbits of the Earth, Columbia returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base.

Bryan O’Connor was Naval Safety School Top Graduate. He received the Naval Test Pilot School Distinguished Graduate Award, the Defense Superior Service Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross. He  received also the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.

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