Encyclopedia Astronautica

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Close-up view of Astronaut McCandless during his EVA
Credit: NASA
View of Astronaut Bruce McCandless during EVA
Credit: NASA
View of Astronaut Bruce McCandless during EVA
Credit: NASA
McCandless, Bruce II (1937-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-41-B, STS-31. Made first untethered space walk.

US Navy aviator, including service during Cuban Missile Crisis. Total EVA Time: 0.48 days. Number of EVAs: 2.

Official NASA Biography

NAME: Bruce McCandless II (Captain, USN)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born June 8, 1937, in Boston, Massachusetts.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Brown hair; blue eyes; height: 5 feet 10 inches; weight: 155 pounds.

EDUCATION: Graduate of Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Long Beach, California; received a bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1958, a master of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1965, and a masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston at Clear Lake in 1987.

MARITAL STATUS: Married to the former Bernice Doyle of Rahway, New Jersey. Her mother, Mrs. Charles Doyle, resides in Milton, Florida.

CHILDREN: Bruce III, August 15, 1961; Tracy, July 13, 1963.

RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: His hobbies are electronics, photography, scuba diving, and flying. He also enjoys swimming and cross country skiing.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association (Class of 1958), the U.S. Naval Institute, the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers, the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the National Audubon Society; fellow of the American Astronautical Society, and former president of the Houston Audubon Society.

SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded the Legion of Merit (1988), the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (1985), and holder of the National Defense Service Medal and the American Expeditionary Service Medal; presented the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1974), the American Astronautical Society Victor A. Prather Award (1975 & 1985), the NASA Space Flight Medal (1984), NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (1985), the National Aeronautic Association Collier Trophy (1985), and the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum Trophy (1985). Awarded one patent for the design of a tool tethering system that is currently used during Shuttle "spacewalks".

EXPERIENCE: McCandless was graduated second in a class of 899 from Annapolis and subsequently received flight training from the Naval Aviation Training Command at bases in Pensacola, Florida, and Kingsville, Texas. He was designated a naval aviator in March of 1960 and proceeded to Key West, Florida, for weapons system and carrier landing training in the F-6A Skyray. He was assigned to Fighter Squadron 102 (VF-102) from December 1960 to February 1964, flying the Skyray and the F-4B Phantom II, and he saw duty aboard the USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59) and the USS ENTERPRISE (CVA(N)-65), including the latter's participation in the Cuban blockade. For three months in early 1964, he was an instrument flight instructor in Attack Squadron 43 (VA-43) at the Naval Air Station, Apollo Soucek Field, Oceana, Virginia, and then reported to the Naval Reserve Officer's Training Corps Unit at Stanford University for graduate studies in electrical engineering.

He has gained flying proficiency in the T-33B Shootingstar, T-38A Talon, F-4B Phanton II, F-6A Skyray, F-11 Tiger, TF-9J Cougar, T-1 Seastar, and T-34B Mentor airplane, and the Bell 47G helicopter. He has logged more than 5,200 hours flying time -- 5,000 hours in jet aircraft.

NASA EXPERIENCE: McCandless is one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 14 mission and was backup pilot for the first manned Skylab mission (SL-1/SL-2). He was a co-investigator on the M-509 astronaut maneuvering unit experiment which was flown in the Skylab Program, and collaborated on the development of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) used during Shuttle EVA's. He has been responsible for crew inputs to the development of hardware and procedures for the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), Space Telescope, the Solar Maximum Repair Mission, and the Space Station Program.

McCandless was a mission specialist on the tenth Space Shuttle Mission (41-B) which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on February 3, 1984. He was accompanied by Mr. Vance Brand, spacecraft commander, Commander Robert L. Gibson, pilot, and fellow mission specialists, Dr. Ronald E. McNair, and Lt. Col. Robert L. Stewart. The flight accomplished the proper shuttle deployment of two Hughes 376-series communications satellites. Rendezvous sensors and computer programs were flight tested for the first time. This mission marked the first checkout of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), and Manipulator Foot Restraint (MFR). McCandless made the first, untethered, free flight on each of the two MMU's carried on board and alternated with Stewart in the activities constituting two spectacular extravehicular activities (EVAS). The German Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), Remote Manipulator System (RMS), six Getaway Specials, and materials processing experiments were included on the mission. The 8 day orbital flight of Challenger (OV-099) culminated in the first landing on the runway at the Kennedy Space Center on February 11, 1984. With the completion of this flight McCandless logged a total of 191 hours in space (including 4 hours of MMU flight time).

More recently, McCandless was a mission specialist on the crew of STS-31, which launched on April 24, 1990, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crew members aboard Space Shuttle Discovery included Col. Loren J. Shriver, USAF, (spacecraft commander), Col. Charles F. Bolden, USMC, (pilot), and Drs. Steven A. Hawley and Kathryn D. Sullivan (mission specialists). During this 5 day mission, crew members deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, and conducted a variety of cameras, including both the IMAX in cabin and cargo bay cameras, for earth observations from their record setting altitude of 380 miles. Following 76 orbits of the earth in 121 hours, STS-31 Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 29, 1990.

With the completion of his second mission, McCandless has logged a total of 312 hours in space.

MAY 1990

Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts.
Status: Inactive.

Born: 1937.06.08.
Spaceflights: 2 .
Total time in space: 13.02 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 5 - 1966 Requirement: pilot-astronauts for the Apollo Applications Program (then planned as 10 lunar landings after Apollo 11 and 30 Apollo flights to earth-orbit space stations). Nickname: The Original Nineteen More...

Associated Flights
  • Apollo 14 Crew: Mitchell, Roosa, Shepard. Third manned lunar landing. Only Mercury astronaut to reach moon. Five attempts to dock the command module with the lunar module failed for no apparent reason - mission saved when sixth was successful. Hike to Cone Crater frustrating; rim not reached. Backup crew: Cernan, Engle, Evans.Support crew: Chapman, McCandless, Pogue. More...
  • Skylab 2 Crew: Conrad, Kerwin, Weitz. Record flight duration. Crew had to conduct major repairs to get damaged station in operation. Astronaut flung into space during release of solar wing. High temperatures in station brought down by deployment of sunshade. Backup crew: McCandless, Musgrave, Schweickart. More...
  • STS-41-B Crew: Brand, Gibson, McCandless, McNair, Stewart. First untethered space walk. First shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center. Manned five crew. Deployed Westar 6, Palapa B2; tested Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). O-ring erosion in both the right hand nozzle joint and the left SRB forward field joint. More...
  • STS-61-J Crew: Young, Bolden, McCandless, Hawley, Sullivan. Planned shuttle mission for deployment of Hubble space telescope. Cancelled after Challenger disaster. More...
  • STS-31 Crew: Bolden, Hawley, McCandless, Shriver, Sullivan. Deployed HST (Hubble Space Telescope). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Apollo The successful US project to land a man on the moon. More...
  • Skylab First and only US space station to date. Project began life as Apollo Orbital Workshop - outfitting of an S-IVB stage with docking adapter with equipment launched by several subsequent S-1B launches. Curtailment of the Apollo moon landings meant that surplus Saturn V's were available, so the pre-equipped, five times heavier, and much more capable Skylab resulted. More...
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

McCandless Chronology

1966 April 4 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 5 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brand; Bull; Carr; Duke; Engle; Evans; Givens; Haise; Irwin; Lind; Lousma; Mattingly; McCandless; Mitchell; Pogue; Roosa; Swigert; Weitz; Worden. The group was selected to provide pilot-astronauts for the Apollo Applications Program (then planned as 10 lunar landings after Apollo 11 and 30 Apollo flights to earth-orbit space stations).. Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,000 flight-hours, bachleor's degree in engineering or physical or biological sciences, under 35 years old, under 183 cm height, excellent health. US citizen.. 351 applications (including six women and a legless US Navy pilot). All 19, except X-15 astronaut Engle, would fly into space on Apollo or Skylab missions. Engle and six others would fly shuttle missions.

1971 January 31 - . 21:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V. LV Configuration: Saturn V SA-509.
  • Apollo 14 - . Call Sign: Kitty Hawk. Crew: Mitchell; Roosa; Shepard. Backup Crew: Cernan; Engle; Evans. Support Crew: Chapman; McCandless; Pogue. Payload: Apollo CSM 110 / Apollo LM 8 / ALSEP / S-IVB-509. Mass: 29,230 kg (64,440 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Mitchell; Roosa; Shepard; Cernan; Engle; Evans; Chapman; McCandless; Pogue. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Flight: Apollo 14. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Duration: 9.00 days. Decay Date: 1971-02-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 4900 . COSPAR: 1971-008A. Apogee: 183 km (113 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 31.1200 deg. Period: 88.18 min. The Apollo 14 (AS-509) mission - manned by astronauts Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Stuart A. Roosa, and Edgar D. Mitchell - was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 4:03 p.m. EST January 31 on a Saturn V launch vehicle. A 40-minute hold had been ordered 8 minutes before scheduled launch time because of unsatisfactory weather conditions, the first such delay in the Apollo program. Activities during earth orbit and translunar injection were similar to those of the previous lunar landing missions. However, during transposition and docking, CSM 110 Kitty Hawk had difficulty docking with LM-8 Antares. A hard dock was achieved on the sixth attempt at 9:00 p.m. EST, 1 hour 54 minutes later than planned. Other aspects of the translunar journey were normal and proceeded according to flight plan. A crew inspection of the probe and docking mechanism was televised during the coast toward the moon. The crew and ground personnel were unable to determine why the CSM and LM had failed to dock properly, but there was no indication that the systems would not work when used later in the flight.

    Apollo 14 entered lunar orbit at 1:55 a.m. EST on February 4. At 2:41 a.m. the separated S-IVB stage and instrument unit struck the lunar surface 174 kilometers southeast of the planned impact point. The Apollo 12 seismometer, left on the moon in November 1969, registered the impact and continued to record vibrations for two hours.

    After rechecking the systems in the LM, astronauts Shepard and Mitchell separated the LM from the CSM and descended to the lunar surface. The Antares landed on Fra Mauro at 4:17 a.m. EST February 5, 9 to 18 meters short of the planned landing point. The first EVA began at 9:53 a.m., after intermittent communications problems in the portable life support system had caused a 49-minute delay. The two astronauts collected a 19.5-kilogram contingency sample; deployed the TV, S-band antenna, American flag, and Solar Wind Composition experiment; photographed the LM, lunar surface, and experiments; deployed the Apollo lunar surface experiments package 152 meters west of the LM and the laser-ranging retroreflector 30 meters west of the ALSEP; and conducted an active seismic experiment, firing 13 thumper shots into the lunar surface.

    A second EVA period began at 3:11 a.m. EST February 6. The two astronauts loaded the mobile equipment transporter (MET) - used for the first time - with photographic equipment, tools, and a lunar portable magnetometer. They made a geology traverse toward the rim of Cone Crater, collecting samples on the way. On their return, they adjusted the alignment of the ALSEP central station antenna in an effort to strengthen the signal received by the Manned Space Flight Network ground stations back on earth.

    Just before reentering the LM, astronaut Shepard dropped a golf ball onto the lunar surface and on the third swing drove the ball 366 meters. The second EVA had lasted 4 hours 35 minutes, making a total EVA time for the mission of 9 hours 24 minutes. The Antares lifted off the moon with 43 kilograms of lunar samples at 1:48 p.m. EST February 6.

    Meanwhile astronaut Roosa, orbiting the moon in the CSM, took astronomy and lunar photos, including photos of the proposed Descartes landing site for Apollo 16.

    Ascent of the LM from the lunar surface, rendezvous, and docking with the CSM in orbit were performed as planned, with docking at 3:36 p.m. EST February 6. TV coverage of the rendezvous and docking maneuver was excellent. The two astronauts transferred from the LM to the CSM with samples, equipment, and film. The LM ascent stage was then jettisoned and intentionally crashed on the moon's surface at 7:46 p.m. The impact was recorded by the Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 ALSEPs.

    The spacecraft was placed on its trajectory toward earth during the 34th lunar revolution. During transearth coast, four inflight technical demonstrations of equipment and processes in zero gravity were performed.

    The CM and SM separated, the parachutes deployed, and other reentry events went as planned, and the Kitty Hawk splashed down in mid-Pacific at 4:05 p.m. EST February 9 about 7 kilometers from the recovery ship U.S.S. New Orleans. The Apollo 14 crew returned to Houston on February 12, where they remained in quarantine until February 26.

    All primary mission objectives had been met. The mission had lasted 216 hours 40 minutes and was marked by the following achievements:

    • Third manned lunar landing mission and return.
    • Use of mobile equipment transporter (MET).
    • Payload of 32,500 kilograms placed in lunar orbit.
    • Distance of 3.3 kilometers traversed on lunar surface.
    • Payload of 43.5 kilograms returned from the lunar surface.
    • Lunar surface stay time of 33 hours.
    • Lunar surface EVA of 9 hours 47 minutes.
    • Use of shortened rendezvous technique.
    • Service propulsion system orbit insertion.
    • Active seismic experiment.
    • Inflight technical demonstrations.
    • Extensive orbital science period during CSM solo operations.

1973 May 25 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn IB. LV Configuration: Saturn IB SA-206.
  • Skylab 2 - . Call Sign: Skylab. Crew: Conrad; Kerwin; Weitz. Backup Crew: McCandless; Musgrave; Schweickart. Payload: Apollo CSM 116. Mass: 19,979 kg (44,046 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Conrad; Kerwin; Weitz; McCandless; Musgrave; Schweickart. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Skylab. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Flight: Skylab 2. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. Duration: 28.03 days. Decay Date: 1973-06-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 6655 . COSPAR: 1973-032A. Apogee: 440 km (270 mi). Perigee: 425 km (264 mi). Inclination: 50.0000 deg. Period: 93.20 min. Epic repair mission which brought Skylab into working order. Included such great moments as Conrad being flung through space by the whiplash after heaving on the solar wing just as the debris constraining it gave way; deployment of a lightweight solar shield, developed in Houston in one week, which brought the temperatures down to tolerable levels. With this flight US again took manned spaceflight duration record.

    Skylab 2 , consisting of a modified Apollo CSM payload and a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into Earth orbit approximately 10 minutes after liftoff. The orbit achieved was 357 by 156 km and, during a six-hour period following insertion, four maneuvers placed the CSM into a 424 by 415 km orbit for rendezvous with the Orbital Workshop. Normal rendezvous sequencing led to stationkeeping during the fifth revolution followed by a flyaround inspection of the damage to the OWS. The crew provided a verbal description of the damage in conjunction with 15 minutes of television coverage. The solar array system wing (beam) 2 was completely missing. The solar array system wing (beam) 1 was slightly deployed and was restrained by a fragment of the meteoroid shield. Large sections of the meteoroid shield were missing. Following the flyaround inspection, the CSM soft-docked with the OWS at 5:56 p.m. EDT to plan the next activities. At 6:45 p.m. EDT the CSM undocked and extravehicular activity was initiated to deploy the beam 1 solar array. The attempt failed. Frustration of the crew was compounded when eight attempts were required to achieve hard docking with the OWS. The hard dock was made at 11:50 p.m. EDT, terminating a Skylab 2 first-day crew work period of 22 hours.

1984 February 3 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-11/41-B.
  • STS-41-B - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Brand; Gibson; McCandless; McNair; Stewart. Payload: Challenger F04 / SPAS 1A. Mass: 15,362 kg (33,867 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brand; Gibson; McCandless; McNair; Stewart. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-41-B. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.97 days. Decay Date: 1984-02-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 14681 . COSPAR: 1984-011A. Apogee: 316 km (196 mi). Perigee: 307 km (190 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.80 min. Manned five crew. Deployed Westar 6, Palapa B2; tested Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). Payloads: PALAPA-B2 (Indonesian communications satellite) with Payload Assist Module (PAM)-D and WESTAR (Western Union communications satellite)-Vl with PAM-D. Both satellites were deployed but the PAM-D in each satellite failed to ignite, leaving both satellites in earth orbit. Both satellites were retrieved and returned to earth for renovation on the STS-51-A mission. The manned maneuvering unit (MMU) was tested with extravehicular astronauts as free flyers without tethers as far as 98 m from the orbiter. Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS)-01 experiments, Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR), Isoelectric Focusing Experiment (lEF), Acoustic Containerless Experiment System (ACES), Cinema 360 cameras, five getaway specials (GAS), Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification (ACIP)/High Resolution Accelerom-eter Package (HIRAP).

1984 February 7 - .
1984 February 9 - .
1984 February 11 - .
1986 August - .
1990 April 24 - . 12:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-31R.
  • STS-31 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Bolden; Hawley; McCandless; Shriver; Sullivan. Payload: Discovery F10 / Hubble Space Telescope. Mass: 13,005 kg (28,671 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bolden; Hawley; McCandless; Shriver; Sullivan. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-31. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 5.05 days. Decay Date: 1990-04-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 20579 . COSPAR: 1990-037A. Apogee: 615 km (382 mi). Perigee: 585 km (363 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 96.70 min. Deployed HST (Hubble Space Telescope). Payloads: Deployment of Hubble Space Telescope, IMAX camera in payload bay and in crew compartment, Protein Crystal Growth III-03, Investigation Into Polymer Membrane Process-ing- 01, Air Force Maui Optical Site-05, Radiation Monitoring Equipment III-01, Student Experiment 82-16, and Ascent Particle Monitor 01.

1990 April 29 - .
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