Grew up in Eustis, Florida. Educated Annapolis; Patuxent. US Navy test pilot. Died of cancer.
He has logged more than 7000 hours flying time--over 6500 hours in jet aircraft.
On his first flight, Walker was the pilot on STS 51-A which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 8, 1984. This was the second flight of the Orbiter Discovery. During the mission the crew deployed two satellites, Canada's Anik D-2 (Telesat H), and Hughes' LEASAT-1 (Syncom IV-1). In the first space salvage mission in history the crew also retrieved for return to Earth the Palapa B-2 and Westar VI satellites. STS 51-A completed 127 orbits of the Earth before landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 16, 1984.
As mission commander of STS-30, Walker and his crew launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on May 4, 1989, aboard the Orbiter Atlantis. During the four-day mission, crew members successfully deployed the Magellan Venus-exploration spacecraft, the first U.S. planetary science mission launched since 1978, and the first planetary probe to be deployed from the Shuttle. Magellan arrived at Venus in August 1990, and mapped over 95% of the surface of Venus. In addition, crew members also worked on secondary payloads involving fluid research in general, chemistry, and electrical storm studies. Following 64 orbits of the Earth, the STS-30 mission concluded with the first cross-wind landing test of the Shuttle Orbiter at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on May 8, 1989.
Walker next commanded a five-man crew on STS-53 which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on December 2, 1992. The crew of five deployed the classified Department of Defense payload DOD-1 and then performed several Military-Man-in-Space and NASA experiments. After completing 115 orbits of the Earth in 175 hours, Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on December 9, 1992.
Most recently, Walker again commanded a five-man crew on STS-69 which launched on September 7, 1995. The crew successfully deployed and retrieved a SPARTAN satellite and the Wake Shield Facility. Also on board was the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker payload, and numerous secondary payloads and medical experiments. Endeavour landed at the Kennedy Space Center on September 18, 1995 after 171 orbits of the Earth in 260 hours, 29 minutes, 8 seconds.
Walker left NASA in April 1996 to become Vice President, Sales & Marketing, for NDC Voice Corporation in Southern California.
Birth Place: Columbus, Georgia.
Spaceflights: 4 .
Total time in space: 30.19 days.
Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm.. 8,079 applicants, of which half met the basic qualifications. 208 invited for physical tests and interviews. Of the 35 selected, six were women, three were male African-Americans, and one was a male Asian-American.