Ex-NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless, first to fly untethered in space, dies

Ex-NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless, first to fly untethered in space, dies

The man who made the first untethered flight in space and then was photographed in 1984, Bruce McCandless, died Tuesday in California, as NASA's Johnson Space Center announced Friday.

THE first astronaut to free float during a shuttle space walk has passed away aged 80.

"I wanted to say something similar to Neil [Armstrong] when he landed on the moon, so I said, "It may have been a small step for Neil, but it's a heck of a big leap for me".

Read the full BBC article.

NASA chose McCandless as an astronaut in 1966. In here, he was able to travel 100 (328 ft) away from the space shuttle Challenger.

McCandless built up the jetpack and was later piece of the van group that conveyed the Hubble Space Telescope to circle.

Portrait of Bruce McCandless II, STS-41B spacewalker. In the navy, he learned to pilot at least nine different aircraft, rising to the rank of captain. During the flight he travelled more than 300 feet from the Challenger shuttle but said he was never nervous about the endeavor.

McCandless launched on board his second spaceflight on April 24, 1990, on a mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. He and Kathryn Sullivan had donned spacesuits in case an EVA was required. He served as capsule communicator, or CAPCOM, during the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface.

McCandless was born in Boston on June 8, 1937, and graduated high school in Long Beach, California.

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Later, after becoming an astronaut, he earned a masters in business administration at the University of Houston, Clear Lake, in 1987.

At the missile crisis, in 1962, he worked as a naval aviator.

"The iconic photo of Bruce soaring effortlessly in space has inspired generations of Americans to believe that there is no limit to the human potential", McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement.

Said McCandless during our interviews: "It became a point of contention between Neil and me".

The astronaut had received honours including the Legion of Merit, National Defense Service Medal and Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum Trophy during his life time.

McCandless, who trained as an electrical engineer at Stanford University, won a patent for designing a system to tether tools during spacewalks.

The Bruce McCandless Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home, a retirement and assisted living facility, still operates in Florence.

Survivors incorporate his significant other, Ellen Shields McCandless of Conifer, Colorado, two youngsters and two grandchildren.

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