Captain Bruce McCandless II (born June 8, 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a former naval aviator with the United States Navy and NASA astronaut. In the first of his two space shuttle missions he made the first untethered, free flight using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (pictured below).
McCandless is the son of Bruce McCandless
, a decorated United States Navy
hero from World War II. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School
, Long Beach, California
. In 1958 he received a bachelor of science
degree from the United States Naval Academy
, followed by a master of science
degree in Electrical Engineering
from Stanford University
in 1965. In 1987 he received a Master of Business Administration
degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake
United States Navy
McCandless graduated second in a class of 899 from the Naval Academy (Class of 1958), along with John McCain
and John Poindexter
. Subsequently, he received flight training from the Naval Aviation Training Command
at bases in Pensacola, Florida
, and Kingsville, Texas
In March 1960 he was designated a naval aviator and proceeded to NAS Key West, for weapons system and carrier landing training in the F-6A Skyray.
Between December 1960 and February 1964 he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 102 (VF-102), flying the Skyray and the F-4B Phantom II. He saw duty aboard USS Forrestal and USS Enterprise, including the latter's participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
For three months in early 1964, he was an instrument flight instructor in Attack Squadron 43 (VA-43) at NAS Oceana, and then reported to the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit at Stanford University for graduate studies in electrical engineering.
During naval service he gained flying proficiency in the T-33B Shootingstar, T-38A Talon, F-4B Phantom II, F-6A Skyray, F-11 Tiger, TF-9J Cougar, T-1 Seastar, and T-34B Mentor airplane, and the Bell 47G helicopter. He logged more than 5,200 hours flying time—5,000 hours in jet aircraft.
McCandless was 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, served as CAPCOM
when Neil Armstrong first set his foot on the moon 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 EVAs.
He was 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 logged over 312 hours in space, including 4 hours of MMU flight time. He flew as a mission specialist on STS-41-B and STS-31.
launched from Kennedy Space Center
, on February 3
. The flight deployed two communications satellites
, and flight-tested rendezvous sensors and computer programs 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 MMUs carried on board.
After eight days in orbit, Challenger made the first landing on the runway at Kennedy Space Center on February 11, 1984.
On this five-day Discovery
flight, launched on April 24
from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the crew deployed the Hubble Space Telescope
from their record-setting altitude of 380 miles (612 km).
Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 29, 1990.
He was awarded one patent for the design of a tool tethering system that is currently used during Shuttle spacewalks.
He is a fellow of the American Astronautical Society and former president of the Houston Audubon Society.
McCandless married Bernice Doyle, and the couple have two grown children. His recreational interests include electronics
, scuba diving
, and flying. He also enjoys cross country skiing