NAME: John E. Blaha (Colonel, USAF, Ret.) NASA Astronaut
PERSONAL DATA: Born August 26, 1942, in San Antonio, Texas.
Married to the former Brenda I. Walters of St. Louis, Missouri. They
have three grown children and two grandchildren.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia,
in 1960; received a bachelor of science in engineering science from
the United States Air Force Academy in 1965 and a master of science
in astronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1966.
ORGANIZATIONS: Association of Space Explorers; Purdue Alumni
Association; Society of Experimental Test Pilots; Air Force Academy
Association of Graduates; Chairman, Board of Directors Brooks Aerospace
Foundation; Member, Committee on Engineering Challenges to the Long
Term Operation of the International Space Station, National Research
Council Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
SPECIAL HONORS: Russian Order of Friendship Medal, 2 NASA Distinguished
Service Medals, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Exceptional
Service Medal, 5 NASA Space Flight Medals, Countdown Magazine Outstanding
Astronaut of 1991, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit,
2 Air Force Distinguished Flying Crosses, Defense Meritorious Service
Medal, 3 Meritorious Service Medals, 18 Air Medals, Air Force Commendation
Medal, the British Royal Air Force Cross, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry,
Purdue Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award, and the Purdue Engineering
Alumnus Award. Outstanding Pilot, F-4 Combat Crew Training. Outstanding
Junior Officer of the Year, 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing. Distinguished
Graduate Air Force Test Pilot School. Distinguished Graduate Air Command
and Staff College. University Roundtable Annual Best and Brightest Award.
Grand Marshall Fiesta Flambeau Parade. Grand Marshall Battle of Flowers
Parade. Granby High School Hall of Fame.
EXPERIENCE: Blaha received his pilot wings at Williams Air Force
Base, Arizona, in 1967. He was subsequently assigned as an operational
pilot flying F-4, F-102, F-106, and A-37 aircraft (completing 361 combat
missions in Vietnam). He attended the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot
School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1971, and piloted the
NF-104 research aircraft to 104,400 feet. Following graduation, he served
as an F-104 instructor pilot at the test pilot school, teaching low
lift-to-drag approach, zoom, performance, stability/control, and spin
flight test techniques.
In 1973, he was assigned as a test pilot working with the Royal Air
Force at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe
Down, United Kingdom. During a 3-year tour, he flew stability/control,
performance, spin, and weapons delivery flight tests in the Jaguar,
Buccaneer, Hawk, and Jet Provost aircraft. In 1976 he attended the USAF
Air Command and Staff College. After graduation, he was assigned to
work for the Assistant Chief of Staff, Studies and Analyses, at Headquarters
USAF in the Pentagon. During this tour, he presented F-15 and F-16 study
results to Department of Defense, State Department, and congressional
NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected as an astronaut in May 1980, Blaha
has logged 161 days in space on 5 space missions. He served as pilot
on STS-33 and STS 29, was Spacecraft Commander on STS-58 and STS-43,
served on Mir-22 as Board Engineer 2, and was a Mission Specialist on
STS-79 and STS-81.
In addition to flying 5 space missions, Blaha has served as the Chairman,
NASA Space Flight Safety Panel; Weather Manager, Mission Management
Team; lead spacecraft communicator; member, NASA Space Shuttle Improvement
Panel. Blaha also led the design, development, and integration of the
Orbiter Head Up Display system. Additionally, he led the development
of contingency abort procedures which significantly improve crew survivability
in the event of multiple main engine failures during ascent.
He has logged more than 7,000 hours of flying time in 34 different
aircraft, and has written numerous technical articles on spacecraft
performance and control.
John Blaha retired from NASA in September 1997 to return to his hometown
of San Antonio, Texas, where he joined the Executive Management Group
of the United Services Automobile Organization.
STS-29 Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on March
13, 1989, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on March 18, 1989. During
this very successful mission the five-man crew aboard Shuttle Discovery
deployed the East Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, and performed eight
STS-33 Discovery (November 22-27, 1989). Launched at night, this five-day
mission carried Department of Defense payloads and other secondary payloads.
After 79 orbits of the Earth, this highly successful mission concluded
with a hard surface landing on Runway 4 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
STS-43 Atlantis (August 2-11, 1991) launched from the Kennedy Space
Center carrying a five person crew. During the nine-day mission the
crew deployed the West Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, and conducted
32 physical, material, and life science experiments that supported the
development of the Extended Duration Orbiter and Space Station. After
142 orbits of the Earth, this very significant mission concluded with
a landing on Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
STS-58 Columbia (October 18 to November 1, 1993) launched from the
Kennedy Space Center carrying a seven-person crew. This record duration
fourteen-day life science research mission has been recognized by NASA
management as the most successful and efficient Spacelab flight that
NASA has flown. The crew performed neurovestibular, cardiovascular,
cardiopulmonary, metabolic, and musculoskeletal medical experiments
on themselves and 48 rats, expanding our knowledge of human and animal
physiology both on Earth and in space flight. In addition, the crew
performed 16 engineering tests aboard the Orbiter Columbia and 20 Extended
Duration Orbiter Medical Project experiments. Landing was at Edwards
Air Force Base on Runway 22.
Blaha began Russian language training in August 1994 at the Defense
Language Institute in Monterey, California, and commenced an intensive
training program at the Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Russia
in January 1995. He launched on STS-79 on September 16, 1996. After
docking he transferred to the Mir Space Station. Assigned as a Board
Engineer 2, he spent the following 4 months with the Mir-22 Cosmonaut
crew conducting material science, fluid science, and life science research.
Blaha returned to Earth aboard STS-81 on January 22, 1997.