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Acton, Loren Wilber
Credit: www.spacefacts.de
American solar physicist payload specialist astronaut 1978-1985.

Status: Inactive; Active 1978-1985. Born: 1936-03-07. Spaceflights: 1 . Total time in space: 7.95 days. Birth Place: Lewistown, Montana.

Educated Montana State; Colorado.

Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:Loren W. Acton (Ph.D.)
Payload Specialist

PERSONAL DATA: Born March 7, 1936, in Lewiston, Montana. Married. Two children.

EDUCATION: Received a bachelor of science degree from Montana State University in 1959, and a doctor of philosophy from the University of Colorado in 1965.

ORGANIZATIONS: American Astronomical Society, International Astronomical Union, Sigma Chi, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Tau Beta Pi.

EXPERIENCE: Dr. Acton is the senior staff scientist with the Space Sciences Laboratory, Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory, California. As a research scientist, his principle duties included conducting scientific studies of the Sun and other celestial objects using advanced space instruments and serving as a co-investigator on one of the Spacelab 2 solar experiments, the Solar Optical Universal Polarimeter. In 1985, he was a payload specialist on STS-51F/ Spacelab-2. At mission conclusion, Dr. Acton had traveled over 2.8 million miles in 126 Earth orbits, logging over 190 hours in space.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-51F/Spacelab-2 Challenger (July 29 to August 6, 1985) was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California. STS-51F was the first pallet-only Spacelab mission, and the first mission to operate the Spacelab Instrument Pointing System (IPS). It carried 13 major experiments in astronomy, astrophysics, and life sciences. Mission duration was 7 days, 22 hours, 45 minutes and 26.


This is the only version available from NASA. Updates must be sought direct from the above named individual.

Official Biography

EDUCATION: B.S., Engineering Physics, 1959, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Ph.D., Astro-Geophysics, 1965, University of Colorado. Thesis: X-Radiation of the Sun.

EXPERIENCE: Dr. Acton was a Payload Specialist on STS-51-F in 1985. He thereafter oversaw the solar physics group at Montana State University, which carried on an active research program under NASA support. They were actively involved in day-to-day operation and scientific utilization of the Japan/US/UK Yohkoh mission for studies of high-energy solar physics. This satellite carried a solar x-ray telescope, prepared under the leadership of Dr. Acton, for the study of high-energy processes, such as solar flares, on the sun. The primary emission of the extremely hot outer atmosphere of the sun, the solar corona, is at x-ray wavelengths and the extended duration, high resolution x-ray imagery from Yohkoh were analyzed in an effort to learn why the sun has a corona at all and why it varies in intensity so strongly in response to the 11 year sunspot cycle.

Dr. Acton was also a co-investigator on the NASA Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) mission which was launched in 1998. This battery of 4 ultraviolet telescopes provided new and detailed observations of the thin and dynamic interface region at the base of the corona. This region is also the source of much of the ionizing radiation that determines the properties of the upper atmosphere of the earth such as the ionosphere and ozone layer.

AWARDS AND HONORS: Full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, 1993. 100 Centennial Alumni, Montana State University, 1993. NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, 1993. Fellow of Am. Assoc. for the Advancement of Science, 1989. Honorary Doctor of Science from Montana State University, 1988. Robert E. Gross Award for Technical Excellence, Lockheed Corp, 1988. National Advisory Board, Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT, 1987. Spaceflight Achievement award of American Astronautical Society, 1986.

More at: Acton.

Family: Payload Specialist Astronaut. Country: USA. Flights: STS-51-F. Projects: STS. Agency: Montana State. Bibliography: 5086.

1936 March 7 - .
  • Birth of Dr Loren Wilber Acton - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Acton. American geophysicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-F..

1985 July 29 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. Launch Platform: MLP2. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle.
  • STS-51-F - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Acton, Bartoe, Bridges, England, Fullerton, Henize, Musgrave. Payload: Challenger F08 / PDP / Spacelab 2 PLT. Mass: 15,603 kg (34,398 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Acton, Bartoe, Bridges, England, Fullerton, Henize, Musgrave. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-51-F. Spacecraft Bus: Shuttle. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.95 days. Decay Date: 1985-08-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 15925 . COSPAR: 1985-063A. Apogee: 337 km (209 mi). Perigee: 203 km (126 mi). Inclination: 49.5000 deg. Period: 89.90 min.

    Manned seven crew. At 5 minutes, 45 seconds into ascent the number one engine shut down prematurely due to a a sensor problem and an abort to orbit was declared. Despite the anomaly the mission continued. Launched PDP; carried Spacelab 2. Payloads: Spacelab-2 with 13 experiments, Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), Protein Crystal Growth (PCG). The flight crew was divided into a red and blue team. Each team worked 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation.

1985 August 6 - .

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