Dr. Ronald E. McNair
Our school is named after the late Dr. Ronald E. McNair, who was a mission specialist with NASA.
Dr. McNair received his doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 and completed astronaut training with NASA in 1979. In addition to receiving numerous academic honors and being active in several professional organizations, Dr. McNair was also a fifth-degree black belt karate instructor and a performing jazz saxophonist.
He first flew as mission specialist on STS 41-B (a Challenger mission) in 1984, during which he oversaw several experiments and satellite operations; he also operated the Canadian arm, used for positioning crewmen around the shuttle's payload bay. In all, Dr. McNair logged a total of 191 hours in space.
Dr. McNair died on Jan. 28, 1986, as a mission specialist for STS 51-L, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.