He travelled 320ft from the space shuttle Challenger during the spacewalk
Bruce McCandless, an astronaut who was the first to fly untethered from his spacecraft in a gripping scene watched around the world, has died at the age of 80.
The NASA astronaut was famously photographed in 1984 flying 150 miles above the earth without a tether. He travelled 320ft from the space shuttle Challenger during the spacewalk.
The United States space agency did not give the cause of death for the longtime resident of the western state of Colorado, McCandless had helped develop the technology.
During that flight, McCandless and fellow astronaut Robert L. Stewart pioneered the use of NASA’s backpack device that allowed astronauts walking in space to propel themselves from the shuttle. Stewart became the second person to fly untethered two hours after McCandless.
His one of the voices that kept the first moon-landing crew in touch with mission control in 1969, telling Neil Armstrong, “There are a lot of us down here that would be willing to come along.
McCandless, a retired U. S. Navy captain, was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966 and was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 14 mission and was the backup pilot for the first crewed Skylab mission.
He was responsible for crew inputs to the development of hardware and procedures for the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), the Hubble Space Telescope, the Solar Maximum Repair Mission, and the Space Station Program.
McCandless logged more than 312 hours in space, including four hours of flight time using the MMU and was a co-investigator on the M-509 astronaut manoeuvring unit experiment flown in the Skylab Program.