Former NASA astronaut Steven R. Nagel, who served as a mission specialist on his first space shuttle flight, pilot on his second and commanded his final two, died last Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was 67
Steve flew F-100’s and later joined the astronaut corps in 1978 with NASA’s first group of trainees selected for the space shuttle program. Although he was chosen to pilot the orbiter, his first flight was as a mission specialist, a position generally assigned to scientists and engineers.
After his last shuttle flight, Steve became deputy director for operations development in the Reliability and Quality Assurance Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. He subsequently served as a research pilot, chief of aviation safety and deputy chief of JSC’s Aircraft Operations Division.
Steve was commissioned in 1969 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) program at the University of Illinois. He completed undergraduate pilot training at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, in February 1970 and received the Commander’s Trophy, the Flying Trophy, the Academic Trophy and the Orville Wright Achievement Award (Order of Daedalians). Afterwards he reported to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for F-100 training.
From October 1970 to July 1971, Steve was an F-100 pilot with the 68th Tactical Fighter Squadron at England Air Force Base,Louisiana. He served a 1-year tour of duty as a T-28 instructor for the Laotian Air Force at Udon RTAFB, Udon Thani, Thailand, prior to returning to the United States in October 1972 as an A-7D instructor pilot and flight examiner duties in the 23rd TFW, England Air Force Base, Louisiana.
Steve attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, from February 1975 to December 1975. In January 1976, he was assigned to the 6512th Test Squadron located at Edwards. As a test pilot, he worked on various projects which included flying the F-4 and A-7D
Steve is survived by his wife, Linda Godwin, and two daughters, Whitney (Alex) Pasquini and Lauren Nagel